September Trumpet 2021

Photo by Joshua Venter

Spring is in the air. With it comes the promise of new life, new growth, new beginnings… As I sit here typing, contemplating what to write today, I scroll back to the previous newsletter, to read what I wrote back then and the first paragraph still holds so much value today:

Sometimes, when a crisis arises, all you can do is wait it out. To go with the flow, to tell yourself that “this too shall pass.” That “things would change”, that next year this time “the problems of your here and now, would be a distant memory.” Or you could fight it, call it injustice, shout from the rooftops: “Unfair, absurd, preposterous…”  You could also go and sit in a corner, feeling sorry for yourself, your circumstances, your career, your life choices. Each of us reacts differently. This doesn’t make one person’s reaction better, or worse than the other’s.  “Before you start to judge me, step into my shoes and walk the life I’m living and if you get as far as I am, just maybe, you will see how strong I really am.” – Unknown –

Another few months have passed and EP has, once again, withstood the test of time. The lodge is doing well under the current tourism circumstances, as we seem to be fighting wave after wave of Covid-19… We are all glad to still be healthy, despite so many people across the globe, having been negatively influenced by die aftermath of Covid-19. Our hearts go out to everyone who lost loved ones during this terrible pandemic.

Ndzutini female leopard with moon

Ndzutini female leopard with moon

Eagle owl by Ruan Momberg

Eagle owl by Ruan Momberg

The Sabi Sand Wildtuin embarked on a vaccination rollout, which took place from the 30th of August to the 1st of September. Sabi Sand staff members, the anti-poaching units, lodge employees, as well as their families, were vaccinated and I am glad to report that all the staff members at EP have been vaccinated. I am super proud to mention that Etienne came up with the idea for the initiative. I still remember the evening he phoned me to soundboard the idea and I also thought it was brilliant! Together with the support of Gabe Simaan from Simbambili Game Lodge, Dis-Chem Pharmacies and Eurolab, more than 2000 people were vaccinated in just three days. This vaccine drive aimed to achieve reserve and community-wide immunity, in order to attract visitors back to the Sabi Sand. Thus securing current livelihoods, creating new employment opportunities and saving jobs.  Thanks to everyone involved in this initiative. What a great team effort! The Sabi Sand is currently investigating the possibility of having a PCR testing facility within the reserve. Thereby ensuring quick turnaround time and a more cost-effective solution for guests, as well as staff members. More on this will follow later. 

Tiyani's two female leopard cubs by Ruan Momberg

Tiyani’s two female leopard cubs by Ruan Momberg

We are excited to welcome a new member of staff to the EP team. Dylan Peter is an outdoors person, feeling most comfortable in the bush, sharing his knowledge and expertise with guests. He has a special interest in herpetology. Welcome to the team, Dylan! 

Despite having fewer guests than EP is used to at the moment, the bush never ceases to amaze and entertain. Sightings have been awesome and guests that have had the privileged to join us on safari during the past couple of months would attest to the quality sightings that we’ve had. The Weekly Sightings updates on our Blog keeps our guests informed on animal activities. I would like to mention that Tiyani and her cubs are doing well. The female cubs are 4 months old and as per usual, one is a little bit more inquisitive than the other, although both are very relaxed with the game drive vehicles. They are mostly seen on Elephant Plains, but also sometimes venture to other properties, with mom at their side. 

Male Waterbuck by Ruan Momberg

Male Waterbuck by Ruan Momberg

Buffalo by Ruan Momberg

Buffalo by Ruan Momberg

We are continuing our efforts, which began during the start of lockdown last year, to save as many big trees as possible. Ringbarking by elephants destroys so many lovely trees and tree wrapping with chicken wire has proved to be very effective against this. Specific Sabi Sand guidelines are followed whilst wrapping tree trunks. It does not only save trees but also protects hollows for smaller creatures, thereby protecting nesting sites for birds, small mammals and reptiles alike. So next time, you’re out on game drive at EP, look around at the bigger trees, to see how many we have thus far been able to save.  

We are keeping our current special rates until the end of December and for 2022, we will honour our 2020 rates. Please contact the lodge directly for more information on the special rates at reservations@elephantplains.co.za

Tiyani, female leopard staring by Ruan Momberg

Tiyani, female leopard staring by Ruan Momberg

Blue Wildebeest by Ruan Momberg

Blue Wildebeest by Ruan Momberg

Since childhood, this was one of my favourite blessings and I would like to share it, before saying goodbye…

“May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the rains fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hands.”

As I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters during the years, my mom instilled in us a deep love of poetry and the written word. One of the most well-known writers, poets and artists in South African history has to be Breyten Breytenbach. He just has a special way with words… My favourite Breytenbach quote is “die lewe is ‘n asem lank…”, which directly translates to “life is but a breath long…” Let us all keep that in mind as we go about our daily lives.

Look after yourselves and your loved ones. Till we meet again one day. Stay safe and God bless.

Kind regards,
Marlet Swart

The Elephant Plains Family

Honey Sesame Pork Fillet

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 pork fillets
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Spice Rub:

  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp coarse ground pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Honey Sesame Sauce:

  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp sesame seed oil
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch

Method

Spice Rub:

  1. Mix together kosher salt, coarse ground pepper, garlic powder, and ground cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture over the pork fillets. Place the fillet on an oven tray, cover, and refrigerate.

Honey Sesame Sauce:

  1. Put honey, soy sauce, olive oil, crushed garlic, sesame seed oil in a saucepan, whisk together, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together cold water and cornstarch and then slowly whisk into the sauce. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Grilling:

  1. Remove the pork tenderloin from the fridge. Brush the griddle pan grates with vegetable oil and then cook the pork tenderloin over high heat for 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Brush the pork tenderloin with some of the honey sesame sauce and grill an additional minute on each side to caramelize the sauce. Remove from pan and place in an ovenproof dish. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes covered with foil.
  2. Before serving sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and cut them into nice portion sizes. Can also be cut into bite-size pieces as snacks.
Honey Sesame Pork Fillet
Honey Sesame Pork Fillet

Sundried Tomato and Cheese Bread

Serve: 8

Ingredients

  • 900g Cake Flour
  • 2 pkt yeast
  • 60g Sugar
  • 15 g Salt
  • 2 cups Warm Water
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup sundried tomato
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Mix the flour, sugar and salt together until well combined
  2. Add the yeast and mix well.
  3. Add the water and olive oil and mix until a ball is formed, kneed the bread till smooth and soft. Leave to rest for about 15 min.
  4. Make the sundried tomato paste by adding the tomato, basil, garlic salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil in a blender. Combine till a paste is formed. Set aside.
  5. When risen, on a pre-sprayed surface roll out the bread into a rectangle. In the middle start with the paste, then add the mozzarella and feta.
  6. Use a sharp knife to cut “strips” on the right and left sides of the rectangle. Leave the middle piece uncut.
  7. Take the top two strips of dough, and overlap them over the cheese mixture.
  8. Continue to “braid” the dough strips all the way down to the bottom. Wrap the last few strips underneath the loaf.
  9. Brush the top of the dough with the egg wash.
  10. Let rise for 15 min.
  11. Bake at 180C for 30-40 min.
Sundried Tomato and Cheese Bread
Sundried Tomato and Cheese Bread

Mielie Bread – Corn Bread

Serve: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 can cream-style sweet corn
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • 120g butter, melted and divided into 2 bowls of 60g each
  • 700g self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp paprika

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a bread tin and then dust with flour
  2. In a large bowl mix together the sweetcorn, eggs, salt, milk and 60g of butter
  3. Mix in the flour and paprika to form a dough
  4. Pour the dough into a prepared bread tin
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until well risen and lightly browned
  6. Brush the other 60g butter on top to keep it soft.
Mielie Bread
Mielie Bread
Mielie Bread

Tiramisu

Serve: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3 cups mascarpone cheese, room temperature
  • 140g white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tot Brandy
  • 2 cups strong coffee at room temperature
  • 1 pack Lady Fingers (Boudoir biscuits)
  • Cocoa powder for dusting the top

Method

  1. Beat whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.
  2. Add in mascarpone cheese and continue to whip to stiff peak. Add the brandy and combine well.
  3. Dip ladyfingers in coffee and place at the bottom of a 20cmx20cm bowl. Don’t let them soak as they will fall apart, just a quick dunk in the coffee is enough.
  4. Spread half of the whipped cream mixture on top of the first layer of ladyfingers. Repeat process with the second layer of ladyfingers and cream mixture.
  5. Dust the top of the dessert with cocoa powder using a sieve. Refrigerate for about 2-4 hours (it gets even better in the fridge and is a perfect make-ahead dessert).
Tiramisu
Tiramisu

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