One of our guests had this breakfast at Makweti Safari Lodge last month, and made a special request for the recipe. Since we are in the habit of sharing Chef Phillip’s culinary secrets, we decided to make this delectable breakfast our focus this month for the benefit of everyone!
Get your own taste of the Makweti magic by making this at home. We’d love to hear how it turns out so connect with us on our Instagram page for more recipes and interesting bushveld anecdotes.
1 perfectly ripe avocado (you’ll need half one avocado for two people)
2 eggs, soft poached
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
Cut the avocado in half, remove the pip
Expand the fleshy nest of the avocado scooping out a little bit of fruit to make space for the egg
Place the soft poached egg into the avocado nest and bake for 4 minutes
Serve hot with sun-dried tomato salsa
Tomato And Chive Salsa
150g sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
2 tbs chopped chives
Salt and pepper
Mix tomatoes and chives together
Serve separately to avocado and egg
It’s so simple, but possibly the most delicious breakfast you’ll ever make! If you want to savour this dish first-hand at Makweti Safari Lodge, then isn’t it time you made your booking?
Many guests are tempted to skip the morning drive and have the proverbial ‘lie in’, but few are willing to forego it in fear of missing out on whatever may be seen. Two days ago, one of our guests decided to skip the morning drive, but in doing so was fortunate enough to witness a cheetah kill, a mere three meters below the deck of their pool!
It was around 8am on Wednesday morning. Jessica was busy in the office when the alarm calls from our resident Vervet Monkeys rang out from close to the kitchen area. As always, these calls pique the interest of everyone in the camp and soon the investigation began. Speculations ran high and it was decided it must have been the leopard that has been seen and heard around the camp in the last eight months.
It wasn’t until breakfast that we discovered the truth behind all the commotion. A sub-adult cheetah had come up the valley and killed a reedbuck right below the deck of room 3. Marius Botha, our guest in number 3, had missed the morning drive to enjoy some time in the room and on his deck. He was well-rewarded with this sighting. At breakfast he nonchalantly walked into the dining area and informed everyone about what had happened whilst we were out on drive. Needless to say, we didn’t believe it at first, but on closer inspection the details slowly emerged. Later during breakfast, the cheetah moved up the ridge in clear view of the breakfast deck and was then enjoyed by all.
After some time, it started location calling, a high-pitched bird-like yelp. Shortly after, two similarly aged cheetah came down the ridge and joined it. This reunion of these three cheetah was quickly realised as the sub-adult offspring of the mother cheetah we featured in our cheetah write up from April 2018. Having left their mother on the 27th June this year, they have been doing their rounds across the Northern and Western parts of the Welgevonden Reserve. This was the first time since then that we have seen them in the Makweti area again.
The three cheetah spent the day in the shade on the ridge above the camp and were seen on and off throughout the day. A great show enjoyed by everyone. The images for this blog were taken by Malcolm and Monique Ritchie, who are currently enjoying their honeymoon with us at Makweti. Thank you!
Words: Neil Davison
Photos: Malcolm and Monique Ritchie
Very few (if any) of our guests are aware of the “behind the scenes” activity that takes place as we while away the day or night in camp. There is so much activity that we miss and are unaware of.
Ever since I started guiding and conducting trails, I have been fascinated with the precision, commitment and consistency that the shy and seldom seen Brown Hyena goes about during its daily routine. Brown Hyena lead very secretive lives, which we hardly ever get to witness. Often, we will happen upon signs of their activity all over the Welgevonden Reserve, indicating just how active they are.
Tracks! Left clear on the sandy roads whilst they patrol their territories and forage for food. An easy way to know they have been around, their tracks are often seen early morning after a nightly prowl, and especially following the rains. Brown Hyena tracks differ from their Spotted Hyena relatives, in that the long shaggy hair of the Brown Hyena leaves its own mark. The hair on the Brown Hyena covers the foot like a sock and is noticeable as fine brush marks around the track (above right).
Some Interesting Facts About Brown Hyena
Brown Hyena, long believed to be solitary animals, have one of the most advanced carnivore social systems. They will forage alone and are known to ‘cache’ food from other predators, close to carcasses. They sometimes return to their dens with a stash of food in their jaws, usually a hindleg or something similar. They seldom predate on large game and, according to a few records, kills form only 6% of their total diet. They are still regarded as a large aggressive predator and rank fourth in the carnivore hierarchy in Southern Africa. They have little respect for Leopard and Cheetah, but will keep well out of the way of Lion.
With their advanced social system, comes an equally elaborate system of olfactory communication. Scent marking with a greasy, smelly anal-sac secretion as well as dung middens, indicate ownership of an area. Foraging individuals will stop every 300-400m to paste grass stems or bushes with this secretion.
Two secretions are noted, with different effects. First, the white pasting and then a dark brown or black pasting. The white pasting is longer lasting, whereas the dark pasting loses its odour quicker. The pastings not only denote territory for the clan, but are believed to be chemical messages to other clan members, indicating individuals and giving a timeline of territorial and foraging patrols. This helps clan members avoid foraging in areas that have been recently covered or checked.
Brown Hyena are seldom seen or heard. Unlike their vociferous Spotted Hyena cousins, Brown Hyena will seldom vocalise, giving small squeaks, grunts or growls that can be heard over short distances. These sounds are usually given to related clan members, or rival clan members who have ventured into their territory.
When next on a trip to Makweti Safari Lodge, take some time to notice the small signs of activity that indicate what animals have been up to whilst you lie blissfully unaware in our luxurious rooms or at the pool.
There is more than meets the eye!
Thanks to Neil Davison for this brilliant post and photographs.
- Personal observations on Welgevonden Game Reserve and other Southern African Reserves
- The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals, Richard Despard Estes, Russel Friedman Books CC, 1995.
Richard Moyo was born in Salima, a small town in Malawi close to Lake Malawi. It’s a good 1730km’s from Makweti, so he is far from his birthplace, but fortunately Makweti is now his home away from home and we are so lucky to have him as part of our family! Richard is used to being part of a big family, coming from eight siblings consisting of him, his three brothers and four sisters. It was with them that he found his love for the bush.
As youngsters, family tradition had them venturing out into the bush, which has now become a huge part of his life that he really enjoys. He has since come to realise that this was always his calling and something he was born to do. In fact, two of his brothers are also employed by lodges as chefs, and his father is a supervisor at another private lodge on the reserve. Working in the bush is definitely in their blood!
For Richard, the highlights of life at Makweti are being able to live within this natural paradise. He is honoured to experience real nature and loves listening to the sounds of the different animals. He is also fascinated by different cultures and thoroughly enjoys meeting and hosting our guests from all over the world. When he’s not working, Richard can be found playing football with his friends, keeping fit, healthy and happy.
In 2016, Richard was sponsored by Makweti to start a football team. In his words, “I always wanted to start a football team, and Makweti came as a blessing by sponsoring our team with a full football team kit.” We are thrilled to have him represent Makweti Safari Lodge on the field and they are doing so well in local competitions.
Richard is the proud father of Oratile, his daughter who lives only 25kms away in Vaalwater. When he’s not playing football or spreading smiles at Makweti, he is spending quality time with her. Next time you are at Makweti, make sure to take a moment to chat with Richard. One of our best!
Once again, Chef Phillip has outdone himself in the kitchen with a delectable tart that will change the way you see dessert forever. Chocolate and orange have always paired well together, but the combination in these tartlets is sheer perfection. Make them at home and experience a sample of the Makweti magic in your own kitchen.
250g cake flour
65g icing sugar
150g butter or margarine
1 jumbo egg white, for brushing
The Chocolate Orange Filling
250ml freshly squeezed orange juice, strained
30ml orange jelly powder
Grated rind of 1 orange
400g good quality dark chocolate
3 jumbo eggs
50g caster sugar
15ml orange liqueur
Icing sugar for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Coat six 23cm, loose based tart tins with Spray & Cook and set aside.
To Make The Pastry
Sift the flour, salt and icing sugar into a chilled mixing bowl.
Rub in the butter or margarine with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Knead the dough until smooth.
Shape pastry into a ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate until ready to use.
Line the base and the sides of the prepared tins with the pastry and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Prick the bases and bake blind for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and brush with egg white and set aside to cool.
To Make The Filling
Heat the orange juice and jelly powder in a small heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Stir in the orange rind.
Place the tart tins on a baking sheet and pour in the cooled jelly.
Refrigerate until set.
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and stir in the butter. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Whisk the eggs and caster sugar in a food mixer until light and creamy in colour.
Stir in the liqueur.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and spoon the mixture onto the jelly.
Refrigerate until ready to serve (+- 4 hours)
Candied Orange Peel
1 3/4 cups white sugar
Using a small, sharp knife or vegetable peeler, cut the peel off the oranges in long strips.
Cut off any white pith on the peel then cut the peel into thin strips.
Combine 3/4 cup of the sugar and 3/4 cup of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
Add the orange peel and cook until the peel is tender and the syrup thickens, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the peel and syrup to a small bowl and refrigerate until cold.
The orange peel can be served with some of the syrup or without the syrup or it can be drained and sugared.
Bobotie is a traditional South African dish that takes you on a colourful taste adventure through our country’s history. The first instance of the recipe was brought to our shores by the Dutch in the early 1600s.The spices used in bobotie were introduced by the Indonesian slaves in the 17th century.
We are proud to introduce you to Johanna, a member of the Makweti family who was born in Vaalwater, 45km away from the lodge. Johanna is one of four children and is also a mom to her own beautiful daughter, Letta, and wife to Solomon Mongane, a mechanic from Vaalwater. She is also a proud grandmother and loves spending quality time with her entire family.
Johanna is a part of the Makweti kitchen team and takes extreme pride in her work. Her table settings are creative and imaginative and it’s these small details that surprise and intrigue guests, as they change with every meal.
Johanna’s fascination with the bush is what brought her to Makweti. One of the highlights of her work with us at the lodge is being in such close proximity to the monkeys. She loves their cheeky nature and sees them as the children of the lodge. She adores them so much that she feels a little sad when they’re not around. We have to admit that they do add an exciting and fun element to every day.
If you’ve ever had the honour of meeting Johanna, you would know that her smile lights up the room. Make a point to meet her in person on your next visit to the lodge.
Photograph: Ross Wilson
One of the most frequently asked questions by most (if not all) our guests is: “What does Makweti mean?” Well, the answer is as simple as it is not. The camp is built in an area of the Welgevonden Game Reserve that is referred to as the “Makweti Gorge.” This gorge lies north of the camp and is the area we look onto from our breakfast deck down towards the Taaibos River Valley.
It’s June, the middle of winter here in South Africa, and the perfect time to turn to comfort food. This month we’ve got something positively delectable for you to bake in your own kitchens. A South African staple and traditional dessert in many households: the milk tart. In true Chef Phillip style, his milk tart recipe has a little bit of a twist added to it in the form of the warming, significant taste of ginger. We hope you enjoy baking this as much as you enjoy savouring every morsel!
As the prime species of the big 5, lions are always high on the ‘must see’ list during any safari or game reserve visit. Fortunately for all Makweti visitors, the Welgevonden Game Reserve is home to a bustling lion population.