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.
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.
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.
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 [email protected]
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.
The Elephant Plains Family