The Lion Queen – African Lion Panthera leo

By / 16th August, 2019 / Uncategorized / Off

The old phrase “lightning never strikes twice” is born in myth and truth depending on how this phrase is used. Most storm chasers will have you know that this is false and given enough time it is certainly quite inevitable. Lightning can and will strike the same place twice at any time.

There are many things to be learned from nature, and certainly the lesson that stands out the most is that nature cannot be ‘forced’, and its predictability is totally unpredictable. 

It was with much surprise (and yet none at all) that we were witness to one of natures repeats right on our doorstop almost two years after the first, to the very day. July 2017, we were to witness the behavioural changes in the Western Pride Lionesses, who were preparing to be mothers for the very first time. The larger of the two sisters was showing signs of carrying cubs first, and her behaviour was evident that it was nearly time for her to give birth. Early on the morning of the 27th July 2017, her tracks were found in camp after the morning drive had departed. She had walked up the valley gorge to the camp and headed past the kitchen, continuing to the Indaba.  Her clear sand pug marks were found walking over the deck past the drums right through reception. Approximately two weeks later she gave birth to two healthy boys.

9th July 2019, it’s a cool winter’s morning and the recent refurbishment in camp is coming to an end. The lodge team has been back for four days, fervently putting things in place for our first group of guests arriving on the 11th. Having just completed the morning briefing, the team drifted to prepare for the day and there we found clear evidence of the same lioness in camp.

There were the distinct sand pug marks over the deck again, but this time it was different.  She was not alone. The Thembe male had been with her. His tracks are clear in the image with the red arrows, complete with his need to mark territory on the deck with a short urine spray. 

Although he was not bold enough to tread where she had before, he had been within 2 metres of the reception door. The lioness had proceeded across the deck past the drums as is evident in the photographs. She continued on the path down towards the kitchen, again where her tracks are clear. We lose them close to the boma deck but can ascertain that she did not continue past the kitchen to room 3. Having looked around we assumed she headed back to the waterhole and met up with the Thembe male before they headed down to Fig Tree Plains.

It’s always exciting having game come close to camp, and we are fortunate enough with the waterhole attracting a variety of mammals and birds on a regular basis. Our trip cameras have caught many exciting “behind the scenes” images of animals using the area while we all sleep away the nights.

Although on this occasion she was not alone, nor suspected to be pregnant, she felt the need to revisit her original route when searching for a suitable den to give birth two years prior. We felt this was her stamp of approval on the recent build and refurbishment work we had completed in camp and this was her signing off on our new kitchen.

Text and photographs: Neil Davison

References:

  1. Personal observations on Welgevonden Game Reserve and other Reserves in Southern Africa
Lioness-Makweti

Celebrating Our Wonderful Women

By / 9th August, 2019 / Uncategorized / Off

South Africa celebrates the women of our country on the 9th of August every year with a public holiday that is unique to our country. We see it as as opportunity to celebrate the bravery and strength of South African women, a day which was first acknowledged in 1995.

The History Of Women’s Day

Women’s Day stands to commemorate the fearlessness of South African women in very desperate times. In 1956, 20,000 women of all races marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to stage a peaceful protest against legislation that required African people to carry a pass.

The pass was an identification document that allowed black people to enter and move freely around white areas. It restricted movement for black people, segregating them and separating them from white people under the Apartheid rule. This first instance of women coming together in solidarity was a massive feat that required courage and determination, definitely something that South African women are not short of.

While we are long past that day, it’s important to always remember why we celebrate it. Not only to honour the women who marched on that day, but also to remember how when women come together in a united cause, incredible things can happen.

We look at the women of Makweti, and we know this to be true, because without these strong, caring and compassionate women, we would not be the lodge we are today.

To each and every woman here at Makweti, in South Africa, and beyond… we salute you this Women’s Day.

Two-Tone Roasted Yellow Pepper And Tomato Soup

By / 5th August, 2019 / Uncategorized / Off

This two-tone soup is made from a roasted yellow pepper soup and a separate tomato soup; both rich in flavour and colour. It is a real treat for the senses and so easy to make.

Roasted Yellow Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 yellow peppers
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp thyme, chopped
  • 250 ml vegetable stock, plus extra to thin soup if required
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / Fan 160 degrees C / Gas 4
  • Place the peppers on a roasting tray, rub with olive oil and roast them until the skin has browned ever so lightly
  • Remove from the oven straight away, place in a plastic bag and seal
  • After 30 minutes, remove the peppers from the bag and gently peel away the browned skin
  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until soft
  • Deseed the peppers and roughly chop them
  • Add to the onion
  • Add thyme, vegetable stock and heat through
  • Remove from heat and puree the soup using a hand blender

Tomato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • 300ml vegetable stock, plus extra to think the soup if required
  • 2 tsp basil leaves, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Method

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat
  • Add the garlic and sundried tomatoes and saute for a minute
  • Stir in the tinned tomatoes, potato and stock and bring to the boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is cooked through
  • Add the chopped basil and remove from the heat
  • Puree the soup and add seasoning, if required
  • To serve, you will need two ladles
  • Fill one ladle with pepper soup and the other with tomato soup
  • Pour the ladles into a bowl at the same time, slowly so as not to mix them
  • Garnish with fresh cream and chopped chives

We’d love to hear if you try one of our recipes. They are all straight from the Makweti kitchen, and if you’ve stayed with us before, some of them might be familiar. Enjoy and happy cooking!