Manager’s Report

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

Wild photo of the month - elephant mud bath by Paul, Sue and Mark Johnstone

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 dinner was almost served on ice!

The rain we received was just enough to turn the dry Manyeleti river into a little trickle. Luckily, the weather cleared up just in time and the river did not pick up. We were definitely not looking forward to entering the new year with a flood.  After the rain, we were entertained by a choir of frogs singing the most amazing songs around the ponds and fountains. The sounds they make are so powerful that some of our guests were looking around for a radio playing the sounds.   We definitely had a fresh start to the new year.

During December I also travelled down to Cape Town for a short visit to Little Rock.  The guesthouse celebrated its first birthday during December and has truly transformed into a “house away from home”. Guests have been showering us with compliments on their stay.  Although the Cape area receive more seasonal travellers, we still often get enquiries for a relaxing stay during the quiet season.  If you are ever travelling on the garden route, be sure to visit the little piece of heaven next to the sea in Jongensfontein.  You will depart relaxed and refreshed; ready to take on the world.  For enquiries, contact Little Rock at, or visit the website to make a booking online

Male giraffe by Morné Fouché

African Hawk Eagle by Morné Fouché

At the lodge things were buzzing as always.  Hendrik and the maintenance team are hard at work with a big bush clearing project.  They are spraying alien plants on our property, in order to prevent and control further spread during the wet season.  Our airstrip also received some TLC after the rain and is back in top condition, ready for the flights arriving with our guests.  After the baby boom last month, we have plenty of “oo’s” and “aa’s” and “it’s so cute” flying around camp.  The impala population has doubled and the little ones are truly super adorable when grouped together. It can almost pass as an impala day care centre around Elephant Plains.

On the 25th and 31st, our team did a wonderful job decorating the dining room for Christmas and New Year’s dinner.  The chefs once again went over the top with a wide selection of meats, salads and a heavenly dessert buffet. Thank you to each and every guest who chose our lodge to celebrate these specials days and a special thank you to each and every staff member who gave their 100% during the holiday season. We truly appreciate it!  For those of you who travelled during the festive season, near or far, I hope you had a wonderful time and a safe journey home. During December we also had a lot of children in camp.  Elephant Plains is one of only a few child friendly lodges in the Sabi Sand Wildtuin and we enjoy having the younger generation with us. If you would like to treat your family to an African bush experience in 2018, be sure to contact our reservations team for availability and rates at

Trapcam photo

Trapcam photo

Our trapcam caught a small dazzle of zebra moving along the road close to the resident hyena den.  The picture truly shows the positive effect the rain had. The bush is lush and green and the animals are in a great condition. Now who would have expected to find a zebra crossing in the middle of the bush…?!

This month we celebrated only one birthday at the lodge. Little Martin Swart celebrated his birthday on the 11th. Martin is a busy body, but can melt your heart with his friendly smile.  We trust he enjoyed his special day! To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during December, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter!

Our recipe of the month will definitely knock you off your feet! Thank you head chef Mia for sharing this amazing recipe with us.  This decadent piece of happiness was one of the items on our Christmas dinner menu. I cannot imagine a better dessert to end off a warm African day.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Christmas Meringues


150 g Egg whites
150 g Castor sugar
150 g Icing sugar
5 ml Cream of Tartar


Preheat oven to 120°C.
Cover a baking tray with foil and spray with Spray and Cook.  Draw circles on the foil to use as a piping guideline.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks.
Add the castor sugar to the egg mixture and continue to mix until the stiff peak stage. The mixture should have a glossy white colour.
Fold the icing sugar and cream of tartar into the egg mixture.
Pipe the mixture on the foil circles.
Bake in the oven for 25 min.  Switch off the oven but leave the meringues in the oven.  Do not open the door.  Leave in the closed oven for about 3 hours to gradually cool down.
Your meringues can now be filled with any topping of your choice.  We used a freshly whipped cream filling and topped with berries.
Makes 12 individual servings.

My wish for each and everyone for 2018 is a year full of peace and happiness. Let’s grab 2018 by the horns!

All the best till next month
Tersia Fouché

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