Wild Photo of the Month
This month it rained… thunderstorms of leaves every day! We are very fortunate to have a lot of lovely trees around the lodge, providing us with loads of shade. One thing that Mother Nature takes care of is trees, shedding their leaves to ensure brand new attires for summer time. Each morning we were greeted by carpets of yellow, orange and brown as the trees were losing the last of their leaves. Keeping the grounds around the buildings and pathways clean can be a struggle, but with our trusty leaf blower nothing could stand in our way. The leaves we gather are added to our compost heap to decompose and we then give back to Mother Nature, by working the compost back into the gardens. We had lovely temperatures during the entire August, which almost made the winter chill only a dusty memory. Just as we got comfortable with the idea of pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very strong and cold winds during the last few days of the month. We were almost blown straight into September, leaves and all!
One of the most amazing things we are spoiled with at the lodge is the waterhole on the open area in front of the lodge. This little piece of magic is a source of water for many. Impala, zebra, and elephant breeding herds, buffalo and even the odd troop of baboons can be seen almost daily. It is a pleasure to sit and watch the different species interact around the water, while you are enjoying breakfast and lunch. With the Africam keeping a close eye on the open area, we rarely miss an interesting sighting of a playful baboon or baby elephant sleeping in his mothers shade. If you would also like to join the action on our open area, please like our Facebook page and be amazed by all the live wildlife alerts that let you know the moment an animal is spotted on the camera. You can also follow us on twitter to find out what the game drive highlight of each day is.
As with every other month, we had some maintenance projects at the lodge. Hendrik and his team took on the challenge to start cleaning the thatched roofs. Branches overhanging on the roofs were trimmed and roofs were cleared from all the loose grass and dead leaves. We do this quite often, especially before the rainy season, to prevent damage to the roofs. When there is a layer of dead leaves and loose grass on the roof, the roof will not dry out properly after the rain and the grass could actually start rotting underneath the layer of dead leaves. If you have a rotten area on the roof, water will eventually start seeping through during heavy rain and this is the last thing we want to happen. The boma also got a brand new coat of fresh paint, to ensure many more pleasurable dinners around the fire underneath the stars. Last month, we treated the decks and this month attention was turned to the doors and window frames. As these are also wooden fixtures, they need a new coat of varnish to keep them safe and protected from the natural elements. Thank you once again to our maintenance team for taking such good care of the lodge!
This month the trapcam was placed at Leeukuil to see if we could get some action around the water. We did capture various animals, but one picture which stood out, was a breeding herd of elephants passing by while sand bathing. Elephants throw sand over their bodies after they had a swim or mud bath, to protect the skin form sunburn. Fine sand is often loosened with the forefeet and tossed onto the body with the trunk. You can just imagine the big cloud of dust there would be after covering such a huge body.
We had only three staff birthdays at the lodge this month. On the 8th, Hildah celebrated her birthday. Hildah is part of our trusty housekeeping team and where ever she goes, no dust will stay behind. Precious, who also wears her housekeeping title with the biggest pride, celebrated her birthday on the 14th. The last lady who celebrated her birthday on the 17th was Portia. Portia cleans the main area of the lodge each morning before guests return from game drive. When she is not cleaning the lodge, she can be found in the kitchen ensuring all the dishes shine bright. Ladies, I trust you all had a very special day and will share many more birthdays as part of the Elephant Plains team. To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during August, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter.
It will not be too long before we change over to our summer menus. Before this happens, head chef Linda shares another one of her lovely muffin recipes. For a savoury muffin option, try these spinach and feta breakfast muffins. They’re to die for and healthy!
Spinach and Feta Muffins
(Makes 12 Muffins )
- 200g cooked and chopped Spinach
- 130g crumbled Feta
- 250g Flour
- 3tsp Baking Powder
- 2 Eggs
- 80ml Oil
- 300ml Milk
- ½ tsp Salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease muffin trays.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix the oil, eggs and milk together. Pour the wet mixture into the flour and add the feta and spinach. Mix well. Spoon into the muffin trays and bake for about 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Serve and enjoy!
All the best till next month!