Manager’s Report

November 2017
Wild photo of the month - Salayexe and cub by Paul, Sue and Mark Johnstone

Wild photo of the month - Salayexe and cub by Paul, Sue and Mark Johnstone

The final countdown has arrived… just one more month until we welcome the new year. With the bush now once again wearing its bright summer colours, we are looking forward to an eventful summer! Game viewing has been amazing and with all the new babies that were born during this month, there was never a dull moment. We also ended the month with a few very welcome cool days and rain. The forecast going into December shows some very hot days. If you are visiting us during the next few weeks, please be sure to pack your hat and sunscreen. Each year November, we have a “birding day” at the lodge where our staff members form a team to compete against our next-door neighbours, Arathusa Private Lodge. This has become a yearly tradition, with the winning team being awarded a birding trophy. This is always great fun! The competition does not have a lot of rules and the main goal is to identify as many different bird species as possible, between 05:00am and 07:00pm. So, between these hours, if you see or hear it, you can claim it! Last year, Elephant Plains won the competition. This year, we were unfortunately defeated by 4 species, but we accepted our second place with great pride. With the birding trophy displayed in our reception area, we are already looking forward to next year, when we can hopefully once again engrave our own name on the plaque, as the 2018 winners.
Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

This month we started a big maintenance project at the lodge, behind the scenes and a few feet above the ground… We are giving our thatched roofs a little makeover. What does this all include, one would ask. Well, think of it as going to the hair salon for a cut, colour and blow-dry. As thatch roofs age over the years, the top layers of grass start to rot and they take on a pale, black appearance. Sometimes a roof can also develop a small leak, due to our resident vervet monkeys sometimes pulling out blades of grass, while playing on their self-discovered jungle gyms. Firstly, a special brush is used to remove all the rotten pieces and straighten the grass back into place. Just like brushing your hair. On some of the places, bundles of grass are also replaced where needed, to cover the thinning spots. Lastly, the edges are neatly pushed back into place, leaving the roof looking brand new. It is quite amazing to see the contractors in action. What a big difference a good brush can make! We are done with the main lodge area and the majority of the rooms. Just a few more strokes and all the roofs will be good as new again.
Trapcam photo

Trapcam photo

With the active hyena den on our property, it is hard to resist the temptation to spy on them. The trapcam was placed at the den and in a very short period of just 4 days, the memory card was completely filled up with 2700 pictures. We now have a very good idea of what their daily activities are: eat, play, sleep, repeat. This month we had only one birthday at the lodge. Helen celebrated her special day on the 29th. Helen is part of our lovely team of housekeepers, keeping our lodge in tip top condition. Happy birthday Helen, I am sure there will be many more to come! To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during November, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter! This month, sous chef Yolandi, shares a mouth-watering recipe. Red Velvet Cupcakes are perfect for that special afternoon tea with family and friends.
Red Velvet Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients

160 ml Cake flour 100 ml Castor sugar 1.25 ml Salt 5 ml Cocoa 1.25 ml Bicarbonate of Soda 100 ml Sunflower oil 60 ml Buttermilk 1 Egg 15 ml Red food colouring 1.25 ml White vinegar 1.25 ml Vanilla 

Icing

50 g Soft butter 60 g Cream cheese 250 ml Icing sugar 2.25 ml Lemon juice/ a little squeeze of a lemon to taste and/or 2.5ml vanilla

Method

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Prepare your muffin tin by lining each hollow with a paper case. In a bowl, sieve together the dry ingredients (flour, castor sugar, salt, cocoa and bicarb) and set aside. In another larger bowl, mix all the wet ingredients (oil, buttermilk, eggs, food colouring, vinegar and vanilla). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine. Spoon into your cupcake cases, filling each to 3/4 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. In the meantime, prepare your icing by beating the butter and cream cheese together with a wooden spoon until well combined (about 3 minutes).   Gradually add the icing sugar, beating all the while, until it forms a smooth icing.  Adjust the consistency by adding a little more icing sugar if required. Then add the lemon juice and/or the vanilla to taste. Makes 6 Large Cupcakes. Serve and enjoy! As our next report will only be sent out in early January, I would like to wish each and every one of our readers a joyful Christmas and only the best for 2018. Whether you have a holiday planned, or are just relaxing at home with the family, do make the best of every second and travel safe! All the best till next month Tersia Fouché

Manager’s Report September 2018

  Wild photo of the month - by Paul, Sue, and Mark Johnstone Spring is in the air and the landscape is slowly changing. Some of the trees around camp are showing off new small, green leaves and before we know, we will be surrounded with a fresh burst of green. Now...

Manager’s Report May 2018

  We are at that time of the year again, winter has arrived! The bush is wearing its winter coat once again! We have the blankets and hot water bottles back on the game drive vehicles and game viewing has been spectacular! The trees and grass are not as lush anymore,...

Manager’s Report February 2018

The shortest month of the year came and went in the blink of an eye. We had loads of wonderful game drive sightings, had some maintenance projects and also celebrated many staff birthdays. We experienced some strange weather patterns as well. We had very hot, humid...

Manager’s Report January 2018

Like I always say: “Time flies, when you’re having fun!”   It feels like just a few days ago that we had our new year's dinner and we are already going into the second month of 2018. By now, I am sure that most people are back home after the festive season. Some might...

Manager’s Report December 2017

December was a great month to end the year. We had lovely animal sightings, shared happiness and laughter over the festivities of Christmas and New Year and just before we said our last goodbyes to 2017, we received a heavy downpour of rain and hail.  Our New Year's...

Manager’s Report November 2017

The final countdown has arrived… just one more month until we welcome the new year. With the bush now once again wearing its bright summer colours, we are looking forward to an eventful summer! Game viewing has been amazing and with all the new babies that were born...

Rangers Report September 2018

  It’s spring time! What an awesome time to be out on safari. Migratory birds are returning and the trees are all in bloom with fresh, green leaves. Our temperatures jumped from the one extreme to the next. One day we were sweating in 43°C and the next day we had our...

Rangers Report May 2018

This month was one for the record books. We had a great time with awesome weather and spectacular sightings. The day temperature was very pleasant, with only a few days where the temperature went as high as 33-34°C. The average maximum temperature for the month was...

Rangers Report February 2018

This month was very exciting, with incredible game viewing opportunities. The average maximum temperature for the month was 32°C, with a wonderful 86mm of rain. We had several wild dog sightings again this month. With our resident hyena clan, we are always guaranteed...

Rangers Report January 2018

We could not ask for a better way to kick off 2018. It was an absolute pleasure to be out in the bush this month. The sightings were phenomenal and there was never a dull moment. The weather was up and down, but the rain was a huge, welcome relieve. The average...

Rangers Report December 2017

And so all good things have to come to an end. It is hard to imagine that we’ve reached the end of 2017. Looking back on this year, one realizes once again just how fantastic the sightings were. December is normally a really hot and wet month. It was a little...

Rangers Report November 2017

  Finally, the long wait is over and the first babies of the season started arriving during November. The first impalas arrived between 10 and 13 November. November is the start of the rainy season and that directly translates into baby season. The majority of the...

Big 5 Sightings 26 November to 2 December

 The highlight of the week was one male lion of the Avoka coalition visiting, and three cheetah’s moving through the area. Monday,26 November 2018 (40ºC) Hukumuri, the male leopard resting on Airport Link Four members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions resting on Sawmill...

Big 5 Sightings 19 to 25 November

Monday,19 November 2018 (31ºC) Four members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions resting at Serengeti Dam Young Ingrid Dam female leopard resting on Star chestnut Road Ingrid Dam female leopard walking on Rocky Road A breeding herd of about 30 elephants feeding on Chestnut...

Big 5 Sightings 12 to 18 November

The highlight of the week was to see Young Ingrid Dam female leopard Monday,12 November 2018 (34ºC) A breeding herd of about 20 elephants feeding at Five Way Junction Tiyani the female leopard resting in a tree at Simbambili Firebreak Two Ximungwe lionesses and one...

Big 5 sightings 05 to 11 November

The highlight of the week, was to see a young pangolin foraging for ants just before sunset   Monday, 05 November 2018 (36ºC) Xidulu, the female leopard, resting on Xihumbane Road. Two elephant bulls feeding on Simbambili Fire break. A pack of four wild dogs and four...

Big 5 Sightings 29 October to 04 November

Monday 29 October, 2018 (37ºC) Xidulu the female leopard, feeding on a duiker kill on MMM North The Nkuhuma pride, three young Mhangene pride and one of the young Talamati males resting on Gowrie Main Road A breeding herd of elephants feeding on EP open area   Tuesday...

Big 5 Sightings 22 to 27 October

The highlight of the week was the female cheetah and her two subadult cubs hunting and killing an impala female on Bushcamp East Monday, 22 October 2018 (24ºC) Moya, the female leopard eating her duiker kill at Londoz Drift Six members of the Nkuhuma pride of lions,...