- Bark extracts are used to treat upset stomachs
- Smoke made from burning roots is inhaled and used to treat pneumonia
- Leaves, dried and crushed were used by the San people as a perfume
- The charred and powdered bark is used to treat bleeding gums
- Cold leaf infusions are used to treat eye ailments in animals
- In Namibia the trees are used as stock feed for cattle where areas are very dry
- The flexible branches are used for basket weaving and construction of roof trusses for grass and other huts
- Personal observations on Welgevonden Game Reserve and other Southern African Reserves
- Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa, Braam van Wyk, Piet van Wyk, Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 1997
- Keith Coates Palgrave Trees of Southern Africa, revised and update by Meg Coates Palgrave, Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 2002
- Photographic Guide to Trees of Southern Africa, Braam van Wyk, Piet van Wyk, Ben-Erik van Wyk, Briza Publishers, Pretoria, 2000
- 3 tablespoons / 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tsp Thai (or similarly hot) curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- 3 large potatoes
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 6 poached king prawns (to be poached in curry sauce)
- 1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 – 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- Zest of two limes
- 6 small skewers
- Grate the potatoes into a sieve and set over a bowl
- Leave to rest for 10 minutes and season potatoes well
- Heat a little butter in a large frying pan over medium heat
- Drop teaspoons full of potato into the pan, flatten slightly with spoon to form a flat round
- Cook two or three minutes on each side until golden brown
- Remove and drain on paper towel until ready to use
- Remove prawn shells and de-vein the prawns
- Leave the tails intact
- On a low heat, place the curry paste and coconut milk on the pan until it comes to boil. Poach the prawns until just cooked
- Cut the mango into squares small enough to fit onto the rosti
- Using a skewer, thread the pieces, starting with the poached prawns, then mango and finish with a potato rosti
- Sprinkle with lime zest, fresh mint, sea salt and serve
- Garnish with cut limes for colour
The early summer rains have left the reserve looking spectacular this year. The rivers are in full flow, the floodplain areas in the central parts of the reserve are filling, and the flora has responded to this with great enthusiasm. The Makweti camp hasn’t been this lush or in such glorious splendour since February 2017, and the healthy diversity of plant life is amazing.
We are fortunate to stay in a camp that boasts a wonderful diversity of the trees found in the Waterberg region. Within the small footprint of Makweti, some healthy specimens are revelling in the Summer rain.
Kudu Berry (Pseudolachnostylis maprouneifolia)
The Kudu Berry is well known on the reserve. Usually about 4 – 6m in height, it can grow to 12m in areas with favourable conditions. It is recognised by light grey bark, which is fissured into segments of squares or rectangles. The leaves are ovate, sometimes curling inwards. Yellow petioles are clear at the base of the leaves. The flowers are small, greenish-white with a faint musky smell. It is best recognised by its fruit, particularly this time of year, but usually from May onwards. The small spherical fruit is green with faint white spots, falling off the tree whilst still green and ripening on the ground to a yellow-brown colour with a wrinkled exterior. These trees are monoecious representing male or female flowers on a single tree.
Just outside the reception area is a magnificent specimen of the Kudu Berry tree. It creates a green archway as you approach the Indaba Lounge from the main lodge area and provides valuable shade. This deciduous tree is a welcome relief for the Summer heat, but allows warming sunlight into the office during the Winter months.
It is browsed on by kudu and elephant and the Vervet Monkeys are often seen playing in it, raiding the tree of its abundant fruit. There are many specimens of the species in the camp, particularly around chalets 4 and 5.
Traditional uses of these trees include the following:
The tree’s name is derived from the fruit being popular with kudu. The Vhavenda people used to use an infusion of the bark and leaves to wash traps they set to catch kudu and other antelope for their meat and pelts.
This tree is a also favoured host for the larvae of the butterfly species Abantis paradisea better known as the Paradise Skipper.
It is an attractive tree all year round. In Summer it is lush and green and in full foliage, but it will change into a fiery wonder in Autumn or Winter, displaying a multitude of earthy colours.
Lavender Fever Berry (Croton gratissimus)
These trees are synonymous with rocky ridges and are in abundance within Makweti. They are a small shrub or tree with discoloured green and white leaves, although sometimes a bright orange leaf emerges too. The leaves themselves are striking features with silvery undersides and an aromatic scent when crushed. The flowers are small cream, golden-yellow in colour and occur in long spikes up to 15cm long. The flower buds develop in the rainy season, remaining closed and conspicuous during the dry season as rusty brown spikes. The flowers open at the first rains of the following rain season.
The tree provides browsing material for antelope and livestock. Elephant wondering into camp will often stop past chalet 4 and feed on the Lavender Fever Berries growing alongside the boma perimeter. There is a magnificent Lavender Fever Berry growing outside the kitchen on the pathway to chalet 3, with numerous specimens growing tall around the deck of the main lodge.
Traditional uses of these trees include the following:
The trees are beautiful and with their striking leaves and general pleasing shape and aroma, they are used more and more in gardens. The scientific name of this tree means “most pleasant” as a result of its overall character and scent.
This tree is a favoured host for the larvae of the butterfly species Charaxis candiope candiope. better known as Emperor Butterflies or Leafwing Butterflies, of which there are many varieties.
Pride of the Cape (Bauhinia galpinii)
This striking shrub is prevalent all over the camp, and Makweti boasts many beautiful specimens.
You cannot miss them when walking to the main lodge from the Indaba, as they flank the pathway all the way down. Chalet 1 and 2 have an abundance of them growing along their pathways too.
This species is a low-growing tree or shrub that is a vigorous climber, favouring hot areas of the country, mostly in the north and north-eastern parts of South Africa. It has become a popular garden species, and specimens are now seen all over the country. They are drought-resistant and able to tolerate poor soils.
Easily recognised by its leaf that is divided about ¼ of the length of the leaf and its almost heart shape appearance. The flowers are a bright salmon to brick-red colour, with paddle-shaped petals that are clustered at the ends of the branches.
Traditional uses of these trees include the following:
This shrub is a favourite host for the larvae of another butterfly species from the Charaxis Genus, Charaxis jasius saturnus, commonly known as Emperor Butterflies or Leafwing Butterflies. They are also known to breed on these shrubs too, laying eggs on the leaves.
Words and photographs: Neil Davison
We love introducing you to the people of Makweti, so that you can get a feel for who is standing behind the scenes, making all the magic come together! If you’ve visited us before then you will know these people, and will hopefully enjoy finding out more about them.
May we introduce Colin Smit; this is his story.
I was born in Zimbabwe, Harare (then still Rhodesia, Salisbury) in 1973. My mother was a tennis coach while my father was a school teacher. He had the dream of becoming a yacht skipper and actually built a thirty two foot ferro-cement sloop in our back garden. It was shipped to Durban, from where my father sailed it to Mauritius. It was here that my mother, brother and I joined him. We sailed to the Seychelles together, no mean feat for a mother with two children younger than two years old!
We lived in the Seychelles until I was six years old, at which time my parents separated. My mother met and married a farmer in the Eastern Cape and so the path towards my lifestyle became paved. My brother and I visited The Seychelles every so often, and then Mauritius once my father had moved there, probably paving the way to my brother’s lifestyle – that of a yacht skipper, just like our dad.
I went to boarding school, which was a big shock initially, but I came to enjoy it more once I’d made friends with the other farm kids. We’d regularly leave the school (illegally!) to explore the undeveloped land behind it. There we collected snakes and chameleons, and found as many birds’ nests as we could. I can’t remember wildlife actually being a passion then, but I do remember enjoying being “out there” immensely.
I wanted to be a veterinarian after school but failed my final maths exam and so ended up in the army in 1991. The discipline I learned there stood me in good stead. After working for two years (as a builder with my father who had returned to South Africa in 1989) I studied construction. Immediately after I qualified, however, I returned to the farm to work with my step-father. Having a direct influence on the wellbeing of the farm animals developed the love for the outdoors I had begun to feel when I was younger. After qualifying as a professional hunter I was almost happy.
My parents had to sell the farm and in 1999 I had to leave. Thanks to my experience gained while hunting I managed to get a job as a guide, something I thought I’d do until I could find a proper job. Twenty years later (I’ll never forget starting at Shamwari Game Reserve on 1 September 1999) I still haven’t left the industry!
I started as a low order jeep jockey, qualified to conduct walking safaris, became a deputy head guide and also trained my junior peers during the years I spent at Shamwari. I became part of the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve conservation team in 2008 where I met my Kenyan wife. We moved to Kenya in 2009 where I managed lodges and undertook walking safaris for Governors Camp. In total I spent six years in Kenya, working in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The people, many illiterate but mostly of an incredibly accommodating disposition, made the stay most memorable and in fact almost spiritual. It was clear to me I’d made the right choice choosing a career in the outdoors.
I returned to South Africa in August 2017 to work at Makweti, which is where I am still today. I have also developed a love for interacting with the guests who visit us, which is a huge part of the Makweti spirit of doing things. After all, we rub shoulders with people, literally, from all four corners of the globe. What a great way to gain a broad, informed perspective on life!
If you want to make something that is as exotic as it is delicious, this is your best bet. Plus it will offer a fond reminder of the cuisine that Chef Phillip and his team so lovingly create in the Makweti kitchen. Get the recipe here and make it at home. We’d love to hear how it turns out.
Get The Ingredients
Curry Poaching Sauce Ingredients
Prawns And Mango
Doesn’t that sound absolutely delicious? We know you’ll love eating these prawns as much as you enjoy preparing them. Enjoy!
Wishing all our friends and followers a magical festive season and happy New Year.
We look forward to seeing you again in 2019!
Unfortunately not everyone could be present for our end-of-year family photo. Zelly, Colin, Phillip and Zenzi were on leave at the time, but they were with us in spirit.
Until next year… be safe!
It is not often these days that you will head out on a game drive or outing in the bush without coming across the unique birds that are associated with several of the larger herbivores. Hopping around on the backs of buffalo, rhino or giraffe, these little brown birds with their distinct red bills and yellow ring around the eyes are an incredibly important species in the ecosystem. These are the red-billed oxpeckers.Read More
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree…
We don’t have a partridge or a pear tree, but we can give you the recipe for the most delicious Pear And Almond Tart! Whip this up for the festive season and you’ll have family and friends singing your praises!
Ingredients For Filling
50g caster sugar
1 fresh egg
1 tin pear halves (410g) drained
2 tbsp milk
50g plain flour
50g ground almonds
Ingredients For The Pastry
1 fresh egg
250g plain flour
50g ground almonds
25g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Grease a 24cm round tin, preferably loose bottomed.
Make pastry by sieving the flour and icing sugar into a bowl, mix in the ground almonds.
Rub in the margarine and bind together with the egg and a little cold water to make the pastry.
Lightly knead, cover and allow to chill.
Next make the filling by creaming the margarine and sugar together.
Beat in the egg.
Stir in the flour, ground almonds, milk and essence.
Roll out the pastry and line the tin.
Spread filling evenly over the pastry.
Arrange the pear halves, with the rounded side facing up, on top of the filling.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until risen and golden brown.
Leave in the tin to cool for about 10 minutes.
Remove from tin and serve luke warm with cream or ice cream.
Let us know how yours turns out and who you choose to share it with!
We’ve said it so many times and will continue to do so… life at Makweti is never dull and no two days are the same. There’s always something to see or do and we are frequently blessed with the most incredible sightings that any wildlife lover would wish for.
There’s nothing quite like fresh bread after a morning game drive. But even if you’re not climbing out of a game vehicle before heading to the breakfast table, you can still enjoy a taste of Makweti Safari Lodge by making Chef Phillip‘s delicious Makweti Zebra Bread at home.
Meet Zelda Mashada, better known to us as Zelly. She is a kitchen assistant at Makweti Safari Lodge and a beacon of positivity who has been with us for 15 years. She was born in Louis Trichardt, which is a good 320km away from Makweti. She is one of three siblings – the only sister in between two brothers.
Walking around Makweti Safari Lodge during the day, one cannot miss the activity of the resident colony of little creatures living amongst and around the rocks, rooms and main lodge. This small ‘rodent-like’ animal is the Rock Dassie or Rock Hyrax.
These little mammals are nowhere close to rodents, other than in general appearance and their distant relatives’ evolutionary paths are linked to elephants and dugongs. They are unique little mammals and form the order HYRACOIDEAE within the mammal group. They have complex social structures, unique appearances, efficient daily feeding habits and digestive systems and live in well organised colonies with segregated areas for different daily activities.