Manager’s ReportAugust 2017
Wild photo of the month - Salayexe and cub by Paul, Sue and Mark Johnstone
August is the month of leaves! At first, we thought that we welcomed the beginning of spring a bit earlier this year. But just as we got comfortable with the idea of the pleasant spring days, we were surprised by some very chilly winds during the last few days of the month. We were almost blown straight into September, leaves and all! Temperatures are, however, rising day by day and as soon as we have a little rain, the bush will start transforming too. The Jackal Berry tree in front of our dining room is just about done shedding its leaves and this cannot happen fast enough. With big trees come lovely shade, as long as the leaves stay on the trees, though! The lodge gardens are still in full colour, with all the shades of pink and purple covering the bougainvillea bushes. We have a wide variety of bird species around the lodge at the moment and they have provided keen photographers with some amazing foto opportunities the last couple of weeks.
Last month I mentioned that our games room in the original camp was getting a makeover. I am excited to announce that the project has been completed. Guests can now relax, while enjoying a book in the reading corner, or just unwind amongst the cool, fresh, green and yellow hues that were used for the project. Why not challenge someone to a game of pool, table tennis, foosball or even darts? We tried to re-use as many of the original furniture and fittings as possible, adding a few extra pieces here and there. Even the original lamps were transformed into a beautiful masterpiece by Hendrik, our maintenance manager. The building has a homely atmosphere and we are very happy with the end result. If you have a trip booked in the near future, be sure to come and have a look.
This month, our trapcam was placed on a very busy little game path on the open area in front of the lodge. Wow, what a highway of different species we got! From the smallest little genet, to a very curios elephant and everything in between. We were very surprised to even see two porcupines moving along the trail late one evening. One picture that drew my attention was a buffalo bull with a death stare. His view is almost fixed on the camera, as if he was waiting for it to move out of his way.
We celebrated only two staff birthdays at the lodge this month. Happy birthday to Precious, who celebrated her birthday on the 14th. Precious has been part of the Elephant Plains housekeeping family for many years and I am sure that she will still be, for many more to come. Gerrit, the newest addition to our ranger team, celebrated his birthday on the 24th. To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during August, I hope your day was filled with happiness and laughter.
Our recipe this month is a delicious Chocolate Fondant, shared by head chef Mia. I am sure that these will be award winners at any dinner party!
100g Dark chocolate, chopped
10g Butter, softened
3 Large eggs
85g Muscovado sugar
100g Cake flour
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.
Whip the eggs and muscovado sugar together in an electric mixer until triple in size. The mixture should be light, fluffy and thick.
Sieve the flour, cocoa and salt together. Fold the chocolate mixture and dry ingredients into the eggs alternately.
Grease and dust 6 ramekins with a little cocoa powder. Fill greased moulds with the fondant mixture and allow to rest in the fridge until ready to bake. The mixture can even be prepared the day before serving.
Bake at 180°C for 10-11 minutes. Loosen the edges of the fondant form the mould. Served turned out on a plate, with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Makes six servings
All the best till next month!