Hope you all had a good Christmas & festive month. We have had a fun & busy month of December.
Firstly I would like to introduce our new Manager at Hlosi – Roelof Schutte. When Steve & I worked in Zambia, Roelof & Helen (his wife) worked in a camp down river from us, so we got to know each other fairly well. We were delighted when we heard they were back in South Africa – and we quickly approached them to see if they were available. Lucky for us they were. Roelof took over from Chris as of the 1st of December. Chris & his family have moved back up North to be closer to family, so we wish them all the very best in their new venture.
Secondly, we are excited to share that Lion Roars has now taken over the management of Leeuwenbosch Country House. So now we have 3 Lodges on the Amakhala under the Lion Roars umbrella. Very exciting times for us. Lots to do and lots of ideas to put into place. We have employed a Management team, Lance Augustus & Helen Schutte. We believe they have the right qualities we are looking for, and we look forward to working with them in our new venture.
We had a very special occasion at Hlosi this last month, hosting a wedding. A couple from Germany came out to get married on the Amakhala, and it was such a special occasion and such a wonderful family. The ceremony took place at a spot on the Reserve that we call ‘Gods window’. The name says it all really, as it overlooks the whole reserve. After the ceremony, the staff sang Xhosa songs, and as you will see got everyone enjoying the moment! Fun, tears & enjoyment were had by all – and choosing photos to share with you was a real problem. There were so many beautiful shots. Such special times for us!
Bukela is getting ready to have a wedding this coming month, so hopefully the weather will be kind to us and it will be another special occasion on the Amakhala.
We really have had a lot of rain this past month – not heavy, but almost every day. We have also had the clouds coming right down on us, which makes for an eerie, yet beautiful atmosphere in camp. The weather has not stopped our guests at all, and it certainly has not stopped the awesome game viewing. I have been given so many fantastic shots from our team of Rangers and I have decided to show you a wide range – instead of focusing one type.
As usual Hlosi had many different visitors down at the waterhole, which provided such a lot of pleasure for the guests. Bukela hosted a very special 30th birthday lunch & game drive, with 8 ladies & 1 lucky gentleman, The group arrived mid morning ~ went on a fantastic drive and then arrived back for a gorgeous birthday lunch. What a great way to celebrate a birthday.
As it is Summer, there are bound to be a few slithery friends crossing our paths. The beautiful specimen (fully grown puff adder) you see in the gallery had us all oohing & aaahing! Our Ranger Stu is seen using his new Christmas present to handle the snake with the utmost care.
All three lodges were nice and busy over the Christmas & New Year period – good food, good wine, good conversation and such laughter had by all! On Christmas day each guest received a mini Christmas cake, handmade chocolate & a small gift under the tiny decorative trees which we placed in their rooms. This was a nice surprise for each when they returned back from a morning game drive. The rest of the day was spent relaxing, before the Christmas feast in the evening.
So before I end off, I will leave you with a few comments left by guests:
‘We had a wonderful time! Absolutely lovely – this can really be called Gods country! Heavenly! Food out of this world!! Staff absolutely wonderful – their friendliness over whelming. We are sure to be back!’ -- Stan & Joey De Aar
‘We had the most amazing time, we LOVED IT!!! Can we stay forever??!! Thank You so much! You will see us again and again and again......’ -- Marco & Rozaan
‘Management & staff at Bukela, Thank you once again for an amazing stay. I can’t wait for our next visit in the new year! You arrive as strangers and leave as friends! May you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! -- With love.’ Marco, Mel, Kendall & Kayla
‘Thank you for a wonderful experience, we have more memories than I believed possible. A favourite must be Stuart gamely pointing things out even whilst racing back through the rain. Hope to be back before too long with the rest of the family.’ -- Barry & Lorraine Danser
‘We have had a wonderful stay, we have been made to feel very special. I celebrated my 60th birthday and the staff made a great fuss of me! I felt welcomed & cared for. The ranger was superb – very knowledgeable and we saw everything we wanted to – thanks to his perseverance & shill. The food was excellent and the manager & assistant manager thought of every need. Thank You.’ -- Taylor -Moore
And with that I would like to wish you all a very Happy New year, and wish you all a fantastic year ahead.
Here’s to a busy 2011!