Big 5 Sightings 18 to 24 August 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see Lamula, the male leopard, feeding on a warthog kill at Serengeti/Manyeleti Crossing.

 

Lamula, the male leopard - Dawie Jacobs

Lamula, the male leopard – Dawie Jacobs

Monday, 18 August 2014

(28ºC)

  • Kwatile, the female leopard, resting with her cub on our Southern Boundary
  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on his impala kill on Seepline Road
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP open area
  • Four buffalo bulls resting at 2nd Windmill Pan

 

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

(31ºC)

  • Nsele, the female leopard, moving east from Ekiso
  • A breeding herd of about fifty elephants feeding on Our Southern Boundary
  • Two buffalo bulls feeding on Madash
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Big Dam Link South
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on Sixes
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, moving east from Our Western Boundary
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding at Boundary Pan
  • Five buffalo bulls drinking water at Rhino Pan
  • Another breeding herd of about fifteen elephants drinking water at Rhino Pan

 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

(31ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on EP Delivery Road
  • About ten buffalo bulls feeding on Rhino Pan
  • Kurula, the female leopard, resting on Chitwa Chitwa driveway
  • Another breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on EP open area
  • Another breeding herd of about fifteen elephants feeding on Our Southern Boundary
  • Four buffalo bulls resting at Serengeti Pan

 

Baby elephant - Louis Liversage

Baby elephant – Louis Liversage

Thursday, 21 August 2014

(27ºC)

  • Ten buffalo bulls moving west from Big Dam
  • A breeding herd of about forty elephants feeding on EP open area
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Madash Road
  • Salayexe, the female leopard, resting on Bushcamp East
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on EP open area

 

Friday, 22 August 2014

(22ºC)

  • Two buffalo bulls feeding on A-main
  • Twenty buffalo bulls feeding on Mamba Road
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding at Eagle Owl Crossing
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Milkberry Road
  • Moya, the female leopard, moving south from Big Dam Link South
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding at EP/Manyeleti Crossing
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on Rhino Ring South

 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

(28ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on Marula Bult South
  • Two buffalo bulls resting on Rhino Ring South
  • Kurula, the female leopard, moving north from Baboon Pan
  • Thandi, the female leopard, moving north from Gowrie Main

 

Buffalo bull - Louis Liversage

Buffalo bull – Louis Liversage

Sunday, 24 August 2014

(23ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on  Mamba Road
  • Another breeding herd of about fifteen elephants feeding on our Southern Boundary
  • Lamula, the male leopard, feeding on a warthog kill at Serengeti/Manyeleti Crossing
  • Moya, the female leopard, moving east from Kuala Bear Road
  • Kurula, the female leopard, resting up a tree on Gowrie Main
  • One elephant bull feeding on Serengeti open area
  • Six buffalo bulls feeding on Kudu Drift

 

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Big 5 Sightings 11 to 17 August 2014

The Big 5 highlight of the week was to see Tingana, the male leopard, hunting and killing an aardvark on EP/Simbambili cutline

 

Tingana with an aardvark kill - Dawie Jacobs

Tingana with an aardvark kill – Dawie Jacobs

Monday, 11 August 2014

(23ºC)

  • Salayexe, the female leopard, feeding on an impala kill on Simbambili Firebreak
  • The Styx lion pride moving south from Ingwe Pan
  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving north from Kudu Drift
  • Tingana, the male leopard, hunting and killing an aardvark south of EP/Simbambili cutline
  • A breeding herd of about three elephants feeding at Rampan open area
  • One buffalo bull feeding on Kudu Drift
  • Eight buffalo bulls feeding on Little Gowrie driveway

 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

(23ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on Horseshoe West
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Our Southern Boundary
  • Three cheetahs resting on Nkorho driveway
  • Tingana, the male leopard, still feeding on his aardvark kill south of EP/Manyeleti cutline
  • Bahuti, the male leopard, moving south from Styx Short cut
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Safari cutline
  • A breeding herd of about 300 buffalos feeding on Kaalkol open area

 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

(24ºC)

  • Lamula, the male leopard, moving east from Serengeti Crossing
  • A breeding herd of about thirty elephants drinking water at Big Dam
  • One buffalo bull resting at Red Dam
  • A breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding at Guarri Central

 

Zebras fighting - Dawie Jacobs

Zebras fighting – Dawie Jacobs

Thursday, 14 August 2014

(27ºC)

  • A breeding herd of about forty elephants feeding at Horseshoe open area
  • About twenty buffalo bulls moving east on A-main
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Shirley’s open area
  • Another breeding herd of about fifty elephants feeding at Grissly Bear Crossing

 

Friday, 15 August 2014

(20ºC, 1mm)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, on an impala kill on Seepline
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding at Serengeti Crossing
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Mfesi open area
  • About twenty buffalo bulls moving east on A-main
  • Another breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding on Shirley’s open area

 

Saturday, 16 August 2014

(20ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, feeding on an impala kill on Seepline
  • A breeding herd of about twenty elephants feeding at Serengeti Crossing
  • Three buffalo bulls feeding on Saseka Road
  • Another breeding herd of about ten elephants feeding on Saseka Road
  • Another breeding herd of about fifteen elephants feeding at Big Dam

 

Drakensberg sunset from the reserve - Dawie Jacobs

Drakensberg sunset from the reserve – Dawie Jacobs

Sunday, 17 August 2014

(20ºC)

  • Tingana, the male leopard, still on his kill on Seepline
  • Anderson, the male leopard, mating with Salayexe, the female leopard on Puff adder Road
  • A breeding herd of about thirty elephants feeding on Our Southern Boundary
  • Kwatile, the female leopard, feeding on an impala kill with her cub on Our Southern Boundary

 

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What is beauty?

Every morning all around the world, women wake up and stare in the mirror… They think of what they would like to change about themselves; wishing they could have the body of the lady they saw in the grocery store, or even wishing they had better clothes, like a colleague in the office. We are so used to destroying our own self-image, by wondering what other people think about us, that we forget what we already have. Sometimes you don’t need the best labeled clothes, or that name-brand handbag. All you need to do is to focus on what you have that other people don’t and make those specific characteristics work for you!

Beauty can’t be found in books or movies – you have to believe in yourself. Real natural, strong and powerful beauty comes from within your heart. A confident woman is a force to be reckoned with! Nothing can stop her and nothing can get her down. I know that it’s not always easy to be that woman with confidence, or that woman who will trade in her black dress for something more colorful. So let me help you get started.

Here are a few tips that can help you boost your image:

• Let’s start with hair color

Always choose a hair color that will bring out your best features, like your eyes and most importantly, your skin tone. Ask your stylist to help you here.

• Find out what body type you are and start to dress to impress, showing off what suits your body type. Here is a list of different body types that you get and what will look best on you.

1. Pear shaped body – This shape basically tells you that your hips are wider than your shoulders. Rather avoid clothes that will draw attention to your hips and thighs and try to experiment with light-colored tops and dark colored bottoms.

Pear body shape

Pear body shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Wedge shaped body – This is also known as the inverted triangle. Your chest and shoulders are wider with narrow hips. With this body shape you definitely want to draw attention to your waist and hips.

Wedge body shape

Wedge body shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Rectangle shaped body – This means that you are on the slim side and your best assets are your arms and legs. Long jackets can be worn to create that lean look. Rather avoid overwhelming styles and have fun with bright colorful bottoms.

Rectangle body shape

Rectangle body shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Apple shaped body – This means that most of your weight accumulates above the hips. Your best asset is your legs. You can wear belts and boot cut or flared jeans, to create that even line from the shoulders down. Shorter skirts will also draw the attention away from your midsection, so go for it!

Apple body shape

Apple body shape

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Now that we have the clothes and hair out of the way, let see how make-up steps can also help you find that inner goddess.

Doing make- up is one of the easiest, most simple ways a woman can transform herself. All you need to know is not to overdo it. If you prefer your eyes dark, leave your lips a natural color and vice versa. Foundation is a girl’s best friend. If you use one shade darker than your natural foundation, you will be able to hide those unwanted features. At the same time one shade lighter can highlight your best figures. To bring out the color of blue eyes, try brown, grey and believe it or not, even purple eye shadow. It will enhance your eyes. Use brown, charcoal or dark blue eyeliner with blue eyes. People with green and hazel eyes can basically experiment with all colors and you can also use pink or plum. Those out there with brown eyes usually look best with natural shades like beige and different brown tones. Brown eyes can also use other colors, just as long as it is applied and blended correctly.

I hope that every woman reading this today will go out there and try something new, even if you just start with your make- up. One small step at a time, and soon you’ll become the woman that every other lady wishes to be. Just remember, be confident and grow into the woman you want to be. There will never be another you, so why try to be someone else? Beauty comes in different shapes and sizes for every woman. Be yourself! Be natural, wonderful, healthy, fabulous and unique. That’s what you are, and that’s what beauty is!

 

“BEAUTY IS ABOUT BEING COMFORTABLE IN YOUR OWN SKIN.

IT’S ABOUT KNOWING AND ACCEPTING WHO YOU ARE.”

 

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Manager’s Report July 2014

Wild Photo of the Month

Waterbuck ewe by Paul, Sue, Mark and Kirsty Johnstone, Brisbane, Australia

Waterbuck ewe by Paul, Sue, Mark and Kirsty Johnstone, Brisbane, Australia

With the seasons slowly changing, we greeted July with a smile, knowing that we are slowly moving towards spring. The landscape is still dry and pale brown, but there is nothing quite as beautiful as the bright colours we have around the lodge as all the aloes are decorated with bunches of yellow and orange flowers. The bougainvillea bushes are also wearing their flower coats which you can see from a distance away. Now that most firebreaks have been burnt, it will not be too long before new green grass will appear from the black blanket covering the areas, where just a few weeks ago, there was just a pale brown landscape. This was a typical bush winter month with cold early mornings and evenings, but pleasant daytime temperatures. We also had two cold fronts, which surprised us with very chilly temperatures.

Steenbok by Morné Fouché

Steenbok by Morné Fouché

The cold days did not stop the game viewing though. This month must have been one of the most exciting ones with all the breathtaking sightings we had. From wild dog puppies to a quadruple standoff on our open area late one afternoon with a leopard, elephants, wild dogs and hyena’s – all chasing each other around right in front of the lodge. Morné will tell you more about all of this though!

Those of you, who have visited the lodge before, would be familiar with all the wooden decks we have around the main area and rooms. These wooden floors cover a big area around the lodge and because they are exposed to all the natural elements, they need to be treated frequently. Our maintenance team has done a wonderful job this month, giving the decks a brand new coat of fresh varnish to protect the wood against the harsh summer sun and rains.

Lilac breasted roller by Morné Fouché

Lilac breasted roller by Morné Fouché

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Winter months are very popular for photography because the bush is not very dense, which makes viewing animals a bit easier than in the summer months. We had a great amount of photographers at the lodge this month. Some came in groups, others on their own and some of them were return guests as well. I hope you all enjoyed your stay with us and that you got that 1 in a million wildlife shot! Our rangers enjoy having photographers out on game drive, as they also share this passion and strive to give each person the best possible view of the animals to ensure that perfect shot. Thank you to all our guides for taking such special care of our guests during game drive!

Trapcam photo - honey badger

Trapcam photo – honey badger

Every month, there is a big debate on where the best place would be to place the trapcam. This month, the rangers decided that, for a change, they would place the Trapcam along our access road, hoping to see more than just vehicles arriving and departing. The pictures were downloaded and it was a big surprise when they came across something they would never have thought to catch during the day, a honey badger!

July is a very busy “staff birthday” month at the lodge. On the 24th, our head chef Linda shared her special day with one of our rangers, Dawie. Both Dawie and Linda have been well known at the lodge for the past few years and I am sure they enjoyed another special birthday at the lodge. On the 26th Eummy celebrated her special day. Eummy is part of our very hard working housekeeping team and always carries a smile on her face. The 29th was a special day for our newest ranger, Jonathan, who celebrated his 1st birthday as part of the Elephant Plains team. Jonathan joined our team in the beginning of June 2014, but it already feels as if we have known him for years! Last on the list for July was Busi, whose birthday was on the 30th. Busi is also one of our housekeepers and with her bubbly personality there is never a dull moment. To all our readers who celebrated their birthdays during July, we hope you also had a fantastic day, filled with happiness and laughter.

During the winter, there is no better comfort food than cake to fight of the winter cold. Luckily for us, our head chef, Linda, is sharing the recipe for the delicious Peppermint Crisp Cupcakes. Get those mixing bowls ready, you will not regret it!

Peppermint Crisp Cupcakes

(Makes 12 cupcakes)

Peppermint Crisp Cupcakes

Peppermint Crisp Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 150g Flour
  • 30g Cocoa Powder
  • 210g Castor Sugar
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • 60g Butter
  • 180ml Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Topping

  • 2 cups Cream
  • 1 tin Caramel Treat
  • 100g Peppermint Crisp Chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line muffin trays with cupcake cups.

Combine all the dry ingredients with the butter until it resembles a sandy consistency. Mix in the eggs, milk and vanilla. The mixture should be smooth, but make sure not to over mix the batter. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cups and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the topping.

Whip the cream until it’s stiff, then stir in the caramel treat and the finely chopped chocolate. Leave in a refrigerator for 2 hours to set completely. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate art.

Serve and enjoy!

All the best till next month!

Tersia Fouché

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Rangers Report July 2014

Hyena by Morné Fouché

Hyena by Morné Fouché

Those of you, who joined us on safari this month, will certainly agree when I say that the game viewing was phenomenal! Just having passed the halfway mark for 2014, the big question on all our minds are: what other great sightings will be waiting for us as the year moves forward? We opened the wild dog den this month for the first time and what a treat this turned out to be. The little pups started coming out of the den and explored more and more, playing with the rest of the pack members. The pack has to work extra hard at the moment to feed themselves, as well as the Alfa female and the pups, as they also started eating meat. Other great sightings included cheetah, honey badger, civets and so much more. The weather was very strange once again, as we had a few nice warm days, followed by yet another cold front. There was one morning, where we had a very light drizzle at the lodge that came out of nowhere, only to have blue skies again that afternoon. The average maximum temperature for this month was 24°C.

Leopards

Bahuti, the young male leopard by Morné Fouché

Bahuti, the young male leopard by Morné Fouché

The leopard sightings were just plain unbelievable and full of surprises. It is confirmed that Salayexe lost both her cubs yet again, so for now it is not looking great for this beautiful cat. At this stage we do not know for certain which male leopard killed the cubs, but we think it might be Tingana, as the den was in his territory. It sometimes happens that male leopards kill their own cubs when they are still very small. If the mother of the cubs goes out hunting and the male sees them for the first time without their mother being present, he won’t know that the cubs belong to him and he might kill them. On the bright side, Salayexe is looking healthy and stunning as always and she was seen mating with both Anderson and Tingana. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that she will have better luck with her next litter. Shadow was under the radar this month, but we did see her following her mother the one day. Shadow was doing her territorial calling, whilst following Kurula, making sure that she left her territory. Shadow is also looking great and feeding very well. That is one thing I can say about her – she is a really good hunter in her own right. Moya was also seen a few times this month and we got word that her two new cubs are doing well and looking healthy. Moya’s older cub was seen a lot this month and he is also doing well for himself. It is quite impressive that he started killing big male impalas. This young male has firsthand experience with walking into danger. The one afternoon he had a narrow escape from death, as he came face to face with our resident pack of wild dogs at one of the waterholes. He held his own with the first wild dog, but ran for the nearest tree when the rest of the pack came in to help. After the wild dogs left, he came down the tree and sat down on a termite mound close by, just scanning the area, trying to make sense of it all. Kurula is also doing fine and she was seen mating with Tingana around our lodge for four days. This is definitely the most south that I have ever seen her venture. She went through her daughter, Shadow’s, territory deep into the territory of Salayexe. Kurula was really like a fish out of water. She was so uncomfortable and for four days she was on extra high alert. After Kurula and Tingana went their separate ways, she met up with Mvula for another four days of mating. Lamula is also looking great and he and Tingana had yet another standoff. It looks like Lamula is not standing down to Tingana anymore. Lamula was also seen in our area, mating with an unknown female who followed him into our area from our southern boundary. Tingana was very busy this month and was really the ladies man as he mated with Salayexe and right after that with Kurula as well. Anderson was also busy as he was seen mating with an unknown female in our area and then also with Salayexe. Mvula, the big male, was also mating with Kurula. If everything goes well in the next 105 days, we might be blessed with the arrival of new leopard cubs.

Lions

Majingi male lion by Morné Fouché

Majingi male lion by Morné Fouché

The lion sightings were just unbelievable and full of excitement. The four sub adults of the Styx pride are looking fabulous and they are getting bigger and better with hunting and everything else. It appears that these four youngsters have mastered the technique of hunting their most dangerous prey, which is the buffalo. The four of them brought down a big buffalo bull the one day with no help from the two big females. After they finished their kill, they went after more buffaloes and succeeded in bringing down another buffalo bull. It shows you that the two big females have been successful in teaching them the art of hunting buffaloes. The two adult lionesses of the Styx pride are also looking good, as they killed an adult kudu female and also a wildebeest male. The three young cubs are eating well and also looking very healthy, getting bigger and prettier day by day. The Breakaway pride is definitely my favourite lion pride in the Sabi Sand. The four young ladies are looking great and very healthy and so does the “not so small anymore cubs” as well. We were very fortunate to have them in our area, making kills. The best sighting of this pride that we had this month was when we saw them the one morning, accompanied by all four of the Majingi male lions. It was so impressive to see seventeen lions walking down the road towards us. We watched them feasting on an old dagga boy, which they finished in one day! We were also very lucky to see the Fourways pride of lions that came through our area after they had a run-in with two of the Matimba male lions. The two young males of the Fourways pride are looking gorgeous and I hope that they will get the opportunity to take over their own territory one day.

Buffaloes

This month, the buffalo sightings were great. We had a large herd in our area that stayed up here for a week or two. This nice herd had a few calves and yearlings as well. There were a few of the females with older calves that seem to be pregnant again. Every time that the buffalo herds come into our area and we start tracking them, we can also see the clear tracks of lions, following the herds. With the herds moving around, they attract a lot of attention to themselves as they make a lot of noise when moving through the area. The old dagga boys were also out in their numbers again, in and around the watering holes. We saw a few male groups this month that had between six and fifteen buffalo bulls in a group. There were a few really old males that were joined by a few fairly younger males, who left the herds to fatten up again. For the old dagga boys this was a welcoming sight to add a few more companions – to them it is all about safety in numbers.

Elephants

Elephant cow and calf by Morné Fouché

Elephant cow and calf by Morné Fouché

This month the elephant sightings really started on the slow side, but then ended with an enormous bang! We were very fortunate to see the young leucism elephant calf and its mother that came into our area this month. The last time that I saw him, he was about three years old and now he is around five. His mother also has a new calf of under a year old. The age difference between one mother’s babies should be between four to six years. Leucism is the term used when a defect in pigment cells occur during development, where the entire surface, or patches over the body or hair, has a lack of cells capable of forming the correct colour pigment. This young elephant does not stand out between the others because of his body colour. Upon closer inspection, however, you clearly notice his blue eyes and white hair, where elephants normally have brown eyes and black hair. Quite an interesting sight! Once again we had some great elephant sightings at the water hole in front of the lodge. It is almost as if the elephants know when breakfast or lunch will be served as they then promptly arrive on our open area and quench their thirst. We also enjoyed seeing a few nice looking elephant bulls, but this was short lived as they moved off again. We were also welcomed by some big breeding herds, some with almost sixty individuals and it is truly amazing to sit amongst them, just soaking up the different personalities. When you go on safari and drive around the water holes and river areas, you will see the impact that the elephants have on the area. With all the destruction going on when the elephants push over trees, it can also help the smaller browsing animals to get to some of the higher leaves on the trees.

Special sighting

Wild dog looking back at the den by Morné Fouché

Wild dog looking back at the den by Morné Fouché

There were so many awesome sightings this month that it was really hard to pick one. But here’s my favourite… We followed the wild dog pack one day as they set out on an afternoon hunt. We followed them onto our open area and it looked like they wanted to go and rest in the shade of the Tamboti thickets. Little did we know there was prey close by. Two of the dogs suddenly pulled away, leaving all of us, including the other dogs, in a dust cloud as they chased after a grey duiker. We eventually caught up with them as they were busy feeding on the little grey duiker on our open area. While sitting and enjoying the sighting, we had a surprise visit from a big hyena that came to investigate. When the wild dogs saw the intruder they went all out in biting his hind quarters and sent him running for the hills. Then out of nowhere, Salayexe, the female leopard showed up on the scene. One of the dogs saw her moving around not too far from them and quickly chased her up into a tree. That couldn’t have happened at a better time, as the rest of the hyena clan suddenly stormed in and caused chaos. Suddenly a full-blown wild dog vs. hyena warfare started to unfold right there in front of us. All this noise attracted a breeding herd of angry elephants that chased the wild dogs around, and then turned on the hyenas before focusing on poor Salayexe that was stuck in the tree. These big heavyweights were extremely vocal as they tried to get rid of all the predators. The action lasted only half an hour, but those thirty minutes were definitely my best sighting at Elephant Plains up to date!

Did you know?

The giant eagle owl is the biggest owl we have.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s report, see you out on game drive soon!

Morné Fouché

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