Manager’s ReportOctober 2017
Wild photo of the month by Rogier, Melissa en Tuur Nieuwendijk, Mortsel, Antwerp, Belgium
Wow! What happened to the year!? It feels like 2017 started yesterday and now we only have two months to go before the end of the year. I guess you can say that “time flies when you’re having fun!” There is always lots of fun to be had in the bush.
We had a little bit of rain during the month and the bush has now transformed to its summer colours. Bright flowers are also starting to bloom on some of the trees. We had some very hot days during October and more rain will be very welcome, as it is almost time for baby season in the bush. During the next month, we will start seeing new born impala, wildebeest and zebra around every corner, as there are loads of expecting females, just waiting for the perfect time to introduce their precious little miracles to the African bush.
The open area in front of the lodge has transformed into an elephant sanctuary! It feels like every day, 10 minutes after we beat the drum for lunch, the herds in our area start making their way towards the waterhole in front of the lodge. Our guests have been overwhelmed with their peace and grace, as they move past. Some just stop for a quick drink, while others submerge themselves in the fresh water, in order to fight off the heat. With our resident hippo also in the water, there are some days where the two species do not get along very well, as Mr. Hippo is not very open to sharing his waterhole. I have seen him chasing zebra and impala all around the waterhole, before grumpily moving off into the bush.
Now that we had our first rains after the winter, our maintenance team has been spending some time on the roads. In order to keep them in a good condition, we have to give special attention to roads where erosion is prone to take place during the rainy season. After a few trips with the tractor and general maintenance, such as opening up mitre drains, the roads are once again in a good condition and ready for the rest of the rainy season. Those of you who have visited the lodge before, would remember the bumps in the road, leading to the lodge. These are not speed bumps, but act as barriers to prevent water flowing down the road, washing away the top soil, which in turn causes erosion. With these bumps in place the water runs up against them, redirecting it into the bush, away from the road.
This month we placed our Trapcam at Leeukuil Pan again. After the luck we struck with the leopard last month, I thought that we could give it another bash. The cam caught this lovely elephant, feeding around the water. Now, we just need a little more rain to fill up the pan and maybe next month we will have swimming elephants!
We had three staff birthdays at the lodge this month. A big happy birthday goes out to Tannie Margie, who celebrated her birthday on the 6th of this month. The 10th day of the 10th month was a very special day for Hendrik, who celebrated his birthday on this day. Hendrik is our own DIY maintenance man, keeping the lodge and surrounds in tip-top condition. Then, just before the month came to an end, one of our Trackers, Life, celebrated his birthday. Life joined our little family during March this year but it feels like he has been with us for years. With his warm, friendly personality he is a highlight on every game drive. I do hope that you all got spoiled on the day, and hope that you will celebrate many more joyful birthdays at Elephant Plains. To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during October, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter.
For the recipe of the month, head chef Mia is spoiling us with a very easy and delicious Strawberry Mousse recipe. Enjoyed by young and old, you will not disappoint anyone with this easy recipe.
15 Fresh Strawberries
260gr White chocolate, broken into pieces, or white chocolate chips
500ml Whipping cream
Melt the white chocolate and 125 ml of the cream by using the double boiler method.
Be careful not to overcook the chocolate. Melt it to a smooth consistency. Allow it to cool down to room temperature.
Whisk the remaining cream till soft peaks are formed.
Gently fold in the whisked cream to the melted chocolate, in batches.
Puree the strawberries.
Gently mix the strawberry puree into the chocolate cream with a spatula.
Pour the chocolate cream mixture into individual serving bowls.
Chill for 2-3 hours, serve and enjoy!
Makes 4 Servings
All the best till next month.