In addition to the recommendation from the WHO and the SA Government with regards to Social distancing, Sanitization, Screening and medical Support Services, another key factor that South Africa’s Kapama Private Game Reserve has focused our attention on, is our valued and dedicated staff.
With the expected shortage of face masks, the Kapama management team that remained at Kapama during the Nationwide lockdown have thrown their hearts and souls into a wonderful initiative.
An idea came about to manufacture our masks for the 500+ staff members and their families that Kapama employs every month. The majority of these employees come from local communities. The material used was from the high-quality linen from the 4 Kapama Lodges that has been replaced over the past couple of years. (not sure if that makes sense.)
Each mask consists of 3 layers of fabric and in between each layer is a special membrane filter that’s waterproof as well as breathable, preventing droplets from getting through. Whenever our management team has a few moments they each take turns cutting, sewing, threading elastic to complete as many masks as they can. Each mask will be sanitized through steaming and vacuum packed in bundles of 10 to eliminate any other form of contamination.
We are going to continue with the masks and help as many people as possible. We have enough linen to make thousands and if we can extend the capacity, we aim to distribute to the larger community around Kapama.
Currently, the management team has been able to make over 500 masks. We have already kitted out our anti-poaching unit and all members of our security team and staff that remained on Kapama. Within the next week or two, Kapama will be in a position to produce an additional 200 masks.
Once South Africa moves into level three on 1st June, our team will be in a better position to begin distributing a small number to local Communities.
In addition to the manufacturing of mask for staff, Kapama has also sponsored a significant amount of old linen to Hlokomela – an NGO that Kapama has been involved with for a long time. Hlokomela is an award-winning HIV and AIDS educational and treatment programme targeting workers, including foreign migrants, in the agriculture, nature conservation and tourism sectors in The Greater Kruger.
Hlokomela has needed to produce a large number of masks for the plantation and Orchard workers who are picking oranges in and around the community. Part of their income development projects initiatives is the sewing project. The donated linen has gone a long way to assist them in their sewing project and ensuring the workers are appropriately equipped and remain safe following the SA Government and WHO regulations. To learn more about Hlokomela and the incredible work they do
As our World and South Africa slowly begins to adjust to what has been coined the “new normal”, if we all stand together and do our part, we will come through this stronger than ever. Kapama Private Game Reserve eagerly awaits your visit when you are ready to travel once more.
What is it you love about being in the African bush? Is it the wildlife? The wide open spaces? The feeling that you are back in the place you belong? The glittering night sky? The sunrises and sunsets that seem unmatched anywhere else in the world?
For me, it’s all of those things – but the magic I find most difficult to describe or capture is the way an African safari awakens your senses.
Louise Monsey – Wilderness Safaris Botswana Guide Trainer
As guides, we learn to tune back in to our senses, especially that sixth sense that most of us have learned to ignore, in a world where your senses are often assaulted by too much information, or should I say, information of the unnatural kind.
When you sleep under the stars, there is no hum from the refrigerator or the TV on standby, no artificial lights to impact your sleep… and I even breathe more easily in the fresh air, not cooped up by walls or windows.
My morning safari often begins to take shape in the middle of the night, as I am stirred from sleep by that most evocative of African sounds… the call of the lion. I will never forget hearing my first lion in the wild. I sat bolt upright in bed, every hair on my body standing on end and a tense excitement surging through my veins. It doesn’t matter how long I have been guiding or how many lions I have heard since, I still feel that same nervous excitement. Every. Single. Time. I think it awakens a primal fear in us all. You may never have heard that sound in your life before but your primal self knows. Your ancestors feared that sound and I believe it has been passed down in your genes. Your instincts are still strong.
I try to establish in my sleepy slumber the direction the lions are calling from, and my subconscious seems to track how close the calls get and where they are headed. The wolf-like wails of the black-backed jackals also throng the African night.
As I walk to meet my guests, I’m already checking for tracks. As my guests arrive for morning coffee we hear the lions call again and we grab some of those freshly baked muffins and brewed coffee as takeaways. As I hurry my guests onto the car, the excitement and anticipation grows as we try to beat the sunrise, knowing this is the best time to catch predators on the move. The eerie, low, whooping call of the spotted hyena adds to our excitement.
I breathe in the fresh, crisp air and smell the aromatic wild sage as we drive out of camp; I feel the cool morning wind on my face and count my lucky stars that I get to do this every day.
As we watch the sun appear from the horizon, I stop and switch off the car so that we can just watch. It always amazes me how quickly the sun rises and that no one sunrise is the same.
Tracks are easiest to see in the early morning light and I read the freshness of each track by the morning dew, any disturbance in the track and the presence or absence of other tracks on top.
If we’re lucky, we find those lion tracks and our search continues…
The early morning call of the francolin or spurfowl encourages a contented smile and I may later rely on their alarm calls to alert me to the presence of that lion.
I ask the guests to open their ears to the sounds of the bush; often it is difficult for people from busy cities to single out the sounds and calls when they are used to zoning out to so many noises, and I explain that we use alarm calls to inform us of where predators might be.
Then suddenly a baboon barks loudly and I scan around; a large male is sitting at the top of a sycamore fig tree, which looks bright yellow in the early morning light, and on further inspection I see he is looking east into the river. Then a francolin alarm calls and vervet monkeys start going crazy further east. I tell the guests to keep their eyes peeled in the direction of the calls and suddenly there she is – the exquisite beauty of a leopardess padding silently through the sandy riverbed. We would never have seen her if it had not been for other animals alerting us to her presence. Her rosette spots blend beautifully into the riverine vegetation to camouflage her perfectly from all but the most vigilant eyes, and she makes our morning, vocalizing with the classic ‘see-saw’ cough. This leopard is not hunting but advertising her territorial boundaries to other females.
We set off for a closer look and photo opportunities of the leopard, and even though we lose visual for a while, we find her again through the alarm calls of impala and a tree squirrel this time – and the distinct smell of ‘popcorn’. Yes, you read that right, a leopard’s scent-marking smells (to some noses at least) quite a lot like popcorn. It takes a while to pay attention to the smells too… to open your nose along with your ears.
Now a smell you can never forget is if your guide mistakenly drives through the scat of a lion: it is something no guide ever does on purpose, as the smell is really quite repulsive.
As my guests and I are laughing about my rookie error I stop to show them some scratch marks on a tree; as we piece the puzzle together we decide that due to the height of the marks, their size and distance between claws they were likely made by a leopard like the one we had seen earlier; but both leopard and lion will mark their territories in this way, and leopards will leave scratch marks when climbing into and out of trees.
We drive in silence once again, appreciating the beauty of the dawn chorus and feeling grateful that we woke so early to be a part of a morning that we could have missed if we were lying in bed. I consider identifying some of the birds for the guests but we have such a human tendency to have to name and classify everything, that I let them just listen in wonder to the African morning. I do this with stars at night too and whilst sitting watching elephants. Some moments are too magnificent for words and would be spoiled by them. I even encourage my guests to sometimes put their cameras and binoculars down and just see through their eyes rather than through a lens. To be mindfully in the present moment is as important, if not more so, than that perfect photograph – and those are the memories that will last forever.
We’re back on the tracks of the lions now, two large males, when we hear a kudu bark. ‘Kudu never lie’ so we drive in the direction of the alarm call, and as we gaze in the same direction as the stunningly beautiful kudu bull, there they are in the golden, relentless African sun. Two huge, black-maned Kalahari lions, and we wonder if this morning could have been any more perfect.
Before travel halted, we were fortunate to receive a very special gift of camera traps from Barbara Kingsolver and Steven Hopp, who both love the Congo Basin and visited our camps in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. Barbara is the author of The Poisonwood Bible, the best-selling novel which was set in the Belgian Congo in the 1960s. We are so grateful to them for this brilliant gift.
We have set the camera traps up along rivers and forest pathways deep in Odzala-Kokoua National Park. We are thrilled with the incredible footage! From chimpanzees, civets and fruit bats, to duikers and hyena, our camera traps reveal the inner magic of the forest that often remains unseen. Watch a snippet below.
The rhino poaching crisis in southern Africa has required fearless retaliation efforts by dedicated teams to counteract poachers driving the species to the brink of extinction.
The Malilangwe Scouts are at the forefront of the fight and these brave men play a key role in the efforts of the Malilangwe Trust – Singita’s non-profit conservation partner in Zimbabwe – to combat illegal poaching. The Scouts’ impact is a testimony to their caliber and commitment, and not only does the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve have one of the highest rhino densities on the continent, but there’s also been no snaring on the property for the past 8 years.
Becoming a Malilangwe Scout is a formidable journey and each of the men goes through a strenuous six-month selection course that pushes them physically and mentally. They are courageous, determined and tough, and their achievements as a team keep them focused on their dangerous task.
Undaunted in their resolve to protect these majestic animals, the bond between these men is unbreakable…
Set on 130,000 acres of breathtaking wilderness, the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve is home to one of the world’s biggest black rhino reintroduction success stories. The reserve now donates some of these critically endangered animals to other areas in Africa.
While we are all cooped up in our homes, enjoying online armchair safaris and dreaming of our next holidays, I’ve been creating my bucket list of new adventures. With my recent trips to Kwandwe and Sabi Sabi still fresh in my mind, I’m so keen to get back on safari and I am really looking forward to checking out some of the newly opened and soon to be opened camps in the Kruger – the following are definitely at the top of my list for South Africa:
Kruger Shalati will be an incredibly unique destination in the heart of the Kruger National Park. Billed as one of the most anticipated hotel openings for 2020 this ‘Train on the Bridge’ is permanently stationed on the historical Selati Bridge which runs high above the Sabie River. This new property aims to celebrate the first visits to the Kruger National Park (during the 1920’s) where the train would park overnight in the same spot that Kruger Shalati is now positioned. Kruger Shalati will offer 24 Carriage rooms and 7 Bridge House rooms together with a swimming pool suspended over the Sabie River and endless views.
The Carriage rooms are glass walled, large train rooms and allow stunning views along the length of the Sabie River, while the style of the train is a celebration of African design in collaboration with local art and crafting skills. The Bridge House rooms are adjacent to the bridge and will be elegantly decorated with remarkable views of both the Sabie River and the surrounding bushveld. Rates will include return transfers between Skukuza Airport and Kruger Shalati, accommodation, all meals, selected beverages and two game drives daily.
Simbavati’s Camp George is the newest addition to the Simbavati lodges and is located in the unspoilt Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. With only eight suites Camp George will offer an intimate, luxury safari experience while keen birders will be able to tick off new species due to the variety of indigenous trees in and around the camp. At night, various owls can be heard, contributing to the unique atmosphere of the camp. The riverbed borders the camp on two sides and a waterhole, with a game viewing hide, draws a variety of wildlife which can be seen from the camp. It is worth noting that rates at Camp George include complimentary transfers (scheduled) between Hoedspruit’s Eastgate Airport and the camp.
Also due to open later this year is the brand new Tanda Tula Rishilé Camp. Inspired by, and built for, families this wonderful new camp is also located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. With the name Rishilé meaning ‘sunrise’ this low impact camp will celebrate the vivacious colours and rhythms of modern Africa. Nine tents will accommodate up to 17 guests and kids over 6 years are welcome. Each tent is elegantly designed and will offer a private deck and an en-suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoors showers. Activities at the camp include morning and afternoon game drives, nature and wildlife walks while between safaris, and guests can relax and enjoy a refreshing dip in the swimming pool overlooking the river bed or catch up with a great book in the main lounge area.
Like many, we foresee that a demand for less crowded, more remote destinations and experiences may well become priorities for travellers in the future and South Africa has so many amazing experiences and remote places to explore. Just two of these which immediately spring to mind are our Amphitheatre Hike in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg and our Mini Break Hotel Hopper along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. Both of these escapes offer an active element (although the Hotel Hopper is less strenuous) and include walking in the fresh air with dramatically beautiful scenery in little explored regions of South Africa. The Amphitheatre Hike is a three-night hike with daily distances of between 11km and 18km and includes highlights such as seeing San Rock Art, enjoying sweeping views from the ‘Roof of Africa’ and seeing the Tugela Falls from above the falls. Our Wild Coast experience is also a three-night slack packing adventure and highlights include seeing the Morgan’s Bay cliffs which jut out into the ocean, exploring small gullies and rock pools and discovering this rugged, wildly beautiful coastline.
On a lighter note, we are so often sent newsletters with recipes from various hotels and lodges but how many of us ACTUALLY get to try any of them out?
Having recently returned from an awesome trip to Sabi Sabi, armed with a beautiful recipe book as a gift, I decided to let my boys pick their favourite recipe so that we could attempt to make it together – no surprises then that they picked the chocolate brownies! Needless to say after a lot of mess and unnecessary tasting we finally got to enjoy the results – not quite Earth Lodge standards, but pretty close!
The Maasai people have the most recognizable cultural identity, both nationally and internationally, and serve as Kenya’s international cultural symbol. Angama Mara is located in the heart of Maasailand. Of our 127 lodge staff members, 78 of them are from the Rift Valley. The majority of these are, of course, Maasai but we also have Il-chamus, Kipsigis and Turkana; all of whom took part in our cultural evening earlier in the year.
The geography of East Africa is dominated by the Great Rift Valley, which extends through the middle of the region from north to south. Associated with the rift valleys are vast savannas such as the Mara plains, lakes, high mountains, as well as the highlands of Ethiopia. The main lakes in the Kenyan Rift Valley from north to south are Turkana, Logipi, Baringo, Nakuru, Elementeita, Naivasha and Magadi. Of these eight, only Lakes Baringo and Naivasha are fresh water.
The Rift Valley is home to various communities including the Maa (Maasai), Kalenjin and Turkana. The Rift Valley tribes make up about a sixth of Kenya’s total population. The Kalenjin and the Maasai are two of the best-known ethnic groups. Most of Kenya’s top runners come from the Kalenjin community.
Did you know, the Men’s world records for 800m, 1 000m, 3 000m, 5km, half-marathon, 25 000m, 30 000m and the Marathon and the Women’s 5km, 10km, half-marathon, 20 000m, 25 000m, 30 000m, marathon and 3 000m steeplechase records – are all held by Kenyans from the Rift Valley?
The day of our Maasai Night cultural evening started early for those who were in charge of the meals: procure the goats, order the milk (fresh and fermented), check if the traditional honey beer was ready, collect the herbs needed, collect firewood for roasting, all while lodge operations and our usual business of delighting our guests continued as usual. By 3pm, pots were bubbling with soup, the aroma of roast meat filled the air from somewhere in the bushes – and were those the guttural sounds of the Maasai morans we could hear in the distance?
At 7pm the unmistakable sound of morans reached us in the staff canteen and the excitement was building. Led by Nasiti, they took to the stage and the jumping contest was epic. The colours, the sounds and smells were wafting from the kitchen. Then it was time for a blessing from our very own elder, Leshuna followed by a very educative talk on Maasai history, culture and much more.
It was time to eat, drink and be merry – nyama choma (roast meat), mursik (fermented milk), enaiho (honey beer) kule (fresh milk) among many more delicacies – full bellies and back to the dance floor. Ashe (Maa), kongoi (Kalenjin), alakara (Turkana) and thank you to our brothers and sisters.
Pistachio & Orange biscotti
4 orange zests
1000ml cake flour
15ml baking powder
500ml pistachio nuts deshelled
Preheat the oven @ 160 degrees Celsius
Using an electric mixer whisk the eggs & sugar until pale, add the zest and mix for a minute
Stir in the dry ingredients until the mixture forms a dough
Transfer to a table and divide the mixture by four
Rolled the mixture on floured surface to form logs and transfer to baking sheet
Flatten the logs and bake @ 160 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes
Cool on a cooling rack for 15 minutes
Turn the oven temperature to 80 degrees Celsius
Slice the biscotti into 1 cm thickness and place them on an oven wire rack or perforated tray
Place them in the oven for 2 hours to dry
Store in air tight container
Serve with your preferred selection of herbal teas, our recommendation is a delicious and refreshing Green tea.
It goes without saying that sunrises in Kenya’s Mara are spectacular – the sky’s deep reds give way to brilliant oranges before melting away into cotton candy pinks and baby blues. So as you can imagine, it was mesmerizing to view the equally stunning super moon we had this week, just as it was setting behind the iconic escarpment early one morning before heading out on safari.
We came upon a fresh buffalo kill shortly after entering the park on our first drive of the week. Two lionesses and a very playful cub were blissfully unaware that breakfast would soon be interrupted by herd of buffalo – briefly oblivious to their presence – that grazed nearby.
They had to make a hasty retreat, disappearing into the long grass several times as the herd came thundering to the rescue of their already too far-gone friend. Eventually they moved on and the lions made a cautious return.
We watched as this enormous hippo crossed the road making its way to the river…
Only to gasp in surprise when this teeny tiny baby appeared trailing behind her. This is the youngest hippo I’ve ever seen, with its umbilical cord still attached.
A business of banded mongoose never fails to make me smile. These adorable and very skittish fellows are always on the lookout and always on the move.
So if a group of mongoose is a ‘business’ – would a group of giraffes walking down the Angama runway be a ‘catwalk’?
The stately Grant’s gazelle is a beauty to behold.
This must be the most orderly herd of elephants I’ve ever seen. Not a single one stepped out of line.
The birds of the Mara showed up in spectacular fashion too. This grey-backed fiscal being the first I saw.
A lone guineafowl surprised me by roosting up in a tree – something I didn’t know they could do.
These two male sooty chats duked it out– so immersed in their squabble that they didn’t notice us driving up to them.
The lady whose attention they were vying for was completely unimpressed.
It wasn’t just sooty chats that wouldn’t give us way, this dark chanting goshawk wouldn’t move until his morning meditation was complete.
A black coucal took a more authoritative stance as it dried its feathers in the early morning sun.
This hamerkop wasn’t about to drop his breakfast on our behalf.
Despite the sunny weather this past week, we still found ourselves firmly planted in a muddy hole for a record 5 hours and 15 minutes and in need of rescuing.
In a hilarious turn of events, our rescue team also needed rescuing after getting stuck too.
At Angama Several hours, another rescue team and lots of mud later, we were back safe and sound and already looking forward to what this coming week at Angama will bring.
Two years ago, a hamerkop enjoyed an unusual meal, pecking at the remains of a warthog kill. There are plenty of shallow pools of water currently scattered across the Mara – the perfect hunting ground for hamerkop to find part of their usual staple diet – fish.
The Mardi Gras (call it what you will) migration season is, you know, when the two million wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thomson’s gazelles arrive along with thousands of excited safari travelers and their guides. In my opinion, The Migration is nature’s greatest celebration. Yes, there are a lot of tourists and yes many of them (and their guides) behave like ill-mannered gibbons at an eat-all-you-can banana buffet, but for the most part it is just so exciting to be part of the earth’s exuberant celebration. The abundance of the herds, the hunting prides, the quiet spots away from the madness where the grass blows on the East African wind recalling and kindling the ancient memory of wild in us all.
Last year at this time, people around the world who had dreamed of coming to Africa to see the thundering herds of planet earth’s greatest spectacle, were preparing for their trips. They headed to outdoor stores to buy completely unnecessary ‘Out of Africa’ clothing in an attempt to Merylise or Robertise their outfits. Others stocked up on books and read voraciously about Africa, her people and her wildlife. Many just dreamed of what was to come – of what it would be like to sit amongst the gnuing herds, to follow the prides through the grass, to hear, smell and see the awesome spectacle of a river crossing.
This year, however, it has all changed. Travelers wait for the green light to travel to mystical Africa, their plans on hiatus – not knowing if the bucket list trip of which they’ve so long dreamed will ever come to pass. All around them, for the first time in history, Homo sapiens faces a threat to every single one of its members. All of us are looking for healing – physical for the victims, psychological and spiritual for everyone.
For me, wilderness is the best place to look for the mental and spiritual healing we need to survive this collective trauma. There is something about the unchanging way in which nature has continued despite our human catastrophe that is so grounding, so comforting. Right now, as we grapple with the global pandemic, the mighty herds of the migration are thundering their way north and west into the woodlands of the Serengeti’s western corridor where the carnival of the rut will take place. It gives me enormous comfort to imagine the bulls, testosterone levels rising, setting up their postage stamp-sized territories and herding the long-suffering cows into them – focused solely on procreation; all of the participants utterly oblivious to the struggles of those strange bipedal things that appear from time to time in diesel belching vehicles.
Further north, in the Mara Triangle, the long rains are dumping their rejuvenating load on grasslands. Seeds will sprout in the rich, black-cotton soils, perennials will offer new leaves. A verdant sheen will blanket the land – all this, albeit unconsciously, in preparation to receive the zebra, wildebeest, eland and gazelle of the migration in a few months’ time.
It should also be a time to prepare for the thousands of tourists who had planned to come and experience the excitement; tourists whose continued fascination with the crossings, gorging prides, massive crocodiles and gobsmacking abundance allow the Mara Serengeti to remain the wild place that it is.
From Angama Mara, the magisterial views of the storms rolling in are another reminder of our human insignificance to nature. Whether or not this plague will clear soon enough for people to visit the Mara this year is unclear but the wild has no intention of putting anything on hold – the rains will fall, the hooves will gallop north. I, hope that you, like me, are able to take comfort from the fact that nature will continue with or without us and while she might not be waiting for us, she will be here in all her majesty and wonder when we, humanity, finally triumph.
Kids can ask questions as SafariLive guides spot lions, giraffes and elephants.
Being in a coronavirus lockdown has not stopped adventurous kids from heading daily into the great outdoors — to escape home in a safari jeep for an unforgettable experience with boisterous baboons, majestic lions or other African animals.
There’s no plane ride needed, however, to take part in safari tours at two South African game reserves. The twice-daily safaris are shown online as they happen.
While the tours in the northeast corner of the country have been featured on the Internet since 2007, their popularity has boomed as people around the world stay home to help stop spreading the novel coronavirus.
During April, more than 1.1 million viewers went along on Safari-Live, which is broadcast by the company WildEarth. That was five times as many as in March.
When viewers join a tour, they ride “virtually” with rangers on dusty roads. They visit locations that wild animals frequent, such as watering holes where elephants, rhinos, leopards and other animals go daily to drink. Each safari guide is paired with a camera operator, who films from the back of the vehicle.
The main goal is “game spotting,” a safari term for finding and identifying wildlife off the beaten tracks. When there is a sighting, the vehicle pulls over and the camera zooms in as the ranger explains what is happening.
Last week, viewers witnessed “ellies,” as rangers refer to local elephant herds, playing in a river, and viewers saw wild dogs running swiftly through grassland areas.
A giraffe is spotted during in Djuma Private Game Reserve. Safari team members share their knowledge about the animals on the reserves and answer questions from viewers, including kids from all over the world. (WildEarth)
Children, as well as parents and others, can ask questions by email. These are sent to the broadcast center, which sifts through them and sends them to the rangers to answer live.
Each person on the team of about 30 specialists knows a lot about South African wildlife and the ways of the wild. Among questions in the past month: Is the elephant related to the dinosaur? (No. Dinosaurs were reptiles, and elephants are mammals.) How big is the lion’s brain? (The lion has a brain that would fit into a cup.) Are rangers ever scared of the animals as they ride in vehicles without tops or backs? (They prefer the word “cautious.”)
The animals that live on the private game reserves — special places where they are protected from hunters — are obviously not in lockdown and are free to roam. In March, viewers met two white lions from a pride in the Ngala reserve. Last month, they saw hyena cubs in the Djuma reserve.
Elephants remain children’s favorite, says WildEarth’s leader, Graham Wallington, “because they are so big and powerful and yet seem so gentle and kind.”
An extremely rare white lion cub is spotted at the Ngala reserve. One pride on the reserve has two young white lions. There is only one other known wild white lion in the world. (Sean Messham)
He and his wife, Emily, started WildEarth so that many others, inside and outside their country, could see South Africa’s natural beauty. The initiative started with just webcams set up at watering holes before the organizers decided to arrange virtual safaris. Over the years, WildEarth has continued to run webcam projects and has worked with groups far beyond Kruger National Park. In the United States, it has helped set up webcams to watch black bear cubs in Minnesota and peregrine falcons in Pennsylvania.
The live safaris have mostly attracted U.S. viewers, but many more South Africans have started watching during their lockdown.
Wallington is with his family in Johannesburg. But because many rangers call the reserves their home, they can continue the online tours as long as they take the required precautions not to spread the novel coronavirus.
“Our mission remains to connect people with nature,” Wallington says.
As Mother’s Day is just around the corner, why not treat your Mom to a few safari inspired home-made goodies to spoil her on the special day.
Kapama Karula’s Executive Chef, Mhaki Maki shares another great recipe with us, this time using the ever popular South African liqueur – Amarula Cream.
Amarula is made from the fruit of the African marula tree which is also locally called the Elephant tree, as elephants just love the sweet fruit it produces, or the Marriage Tree. In the Zulu culture, it is referred to as the marriage tree as it is believed that those who marry beneath its branches will enjoy vigor and fertility all their days. Another interesting fact, is that only the female marula tree bears fruit.
Our Chef loves using Amarula Cream in recipes as this deliciously decadent liqueur is loved by guests from all around the world and is so versatile.
We hope you enjoy the dessert and we certainly hope mom does too!
Mango & Amarula parfait, with meringue
110g egg whites (+- 4 egg whites)
10g dried egg whites
120g castor sugar
120g icing sugar sifted
250ml mango juice
80ml mango puree
10g gelatin leaves
90g egg whites (+- 3 egg whites)
Whisk the fresh and dried egg whites using an electric mixer until a soft peak stage
Gradually add the castor sugar until dissolved, fold the icing sugar using a spatula until incorporated.
Spread over a silicone baking tray and bake @ 90 degrees Celsius for 90 minutes
Bring to the boil mango juice, Amarula and sugar, take it off the heat and add bloomed gelatin, stir until gelatin dissolves
Add mango puree and allow to cool down
Heat the sugar and water, whisk the egg whites to soft peak and when the sugar solution reaches 115 degrees pour into the egg whites while whisking and high speed (Italian meringue), allow to cool down
Whisk the cream to soft peak
Fold the Italian meringue into the gelatine mixture, and then fold the cream until incorporated.
Transfer the mixture to your preferred container and set in the freezer.
Serve a slice of this delicious parfait with the meringue and garnish with a few roasted nuts or seeds.
Scary things nightmares are made of…Or just very misunderstood?
Ever since we were young (for some of us that’s a far more recent memory than for others), there have been certain creatures which have topped the charts in competing for “The stuff nightmares are made of!” title.
One of these critters which always seems to strike fear into us, has eight independent legs, a hard exoskeleton, formidable-looking pincers, and venom-filled stinger poised and at the ready. If you haven’t guessed it already, I’m talking about the Scorpion. While you aren’t likely to see too many on safari, when they do pop up there’s a lot more to know about them!
Even looking at Greek mythology regarding astronomy, we find stories about scorpions. Orion (our main summer constellation) who was a great and fearless hunter declared he would kill every animal on the planet! This angered the elders greatly, and they summoned the formidable Scorpio (our main winter constellation) to go into battle with Orion, to prevent him from killing all the animals. And that’s why to this day you will never see them in the same sky. Orion is constantly on the run from the dangerous Scorpio who has been sent to stop him.
With summertime in full swing at South Africa’s Kapama, now is the time you would most likely see a scorpion. But don’t panic, they are not nearly as bad as they are made out to be. In my opinion, they are just misunderstood creatures. Hopefully, after reading a bit more about them you will feel the same.
There is a general rule we use in helping us to identify how dangerous a scorpion is. (This rule is valid for all scorpion species, except for one in the Middle-East and one in North Africa). If a scorpion has thick/strong pincers and a thin dainty tail, it’s generally not considered dangerous. The big pincers have the power to catch prey, so the scorpion has no need for hugely potent venom. If a scorpion has thin, dainty pincers, and a thick powerful tail, beware!! Its tail is its weapon of choice to subdue prey and protect itself and as we know the tail has the sting and the venom duct.
All scorpions are considered venomous, but some just aren’t as potent as others. Those with thin tails, cause a burning reaction, with itching and swelling, but no medical intervention is required. Whereas those with thick tails are considered very dangerous and medical attention will be required.
Scorpion venom is made up of a cocktail of neurotoxins. The chemicals found in scorpion venom has the potential to be used in the treatment of brain cancer, and the illumination of cancer cells.
We have 13 Genus of scorpion in South Africa, but only 6 of these are commonly seen
• Thick tails (Parabuthus sp)
• Lesser thick tails (Uroplectes sp)
• Pygmy thick tails (Pseudolychas sp)
• Burrowing scorpion (Opistophthalmus sp)
• Creeping scorpion (Opisthacanthus sp)
• Rock scorpion (Hadogenes sp)
Of these, only the Thick tails (Parabuthus) are considered dangerous, especially amongst children, the elderly, or people with a poor immune system. If stung by one of these, medical intervention will be required. Get the patent to a hospital, keep them calm, and the affected area still.