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Nov 2, 2011

The Leopard’s Tale – November 2011

AT LAST!!! The Rains have come… and just happens to be over one of the busiest weekends… Murphy’s Law. 33mm fallen over 3 days. One of the best sounds ever, the sound of falling rain! Soon the bushveld will be alive with the colours of spring and so the cycle begins again.

Don’t FORGET, coming up this month
DO your bit for conservation; check out these websites to see how you can help!
Big Birding Day Saturday 26 November 2011
The annual BirdLife South Africa Birding Big Day is a fun, yet competitive day for South Africa’s birdwatchers, both beginners and competitive twitchers, while at the same time raising much needed funds for the organisation’s important bird conservation and bird species monitoring work.

For more information on how to enter go to:BirdLife.org.za

Kim Steinberg Photography: – Tip of the Month
Maintaining Creativity as a Photographer
Surround yourself with creativity
Spend an hour or two browsing the web to find all sorts of photography to draw inspiration from. Don’t just look at photos, read about them and their creators
Infinite Inspiration
Music paintings and writing are just as inspiring! Again it is important to not only experience these works but to learn about them as well. Expanding your knowledge is key to increasing creativity.
Lose Yourself
Take a step back from your work schedule and responsibilities and go for a walk. If you’re the type of photographer that’s cooped up in an office all day then a day outdoors may be just what you are looking for Learn something new
Maybe that’s just what you need – a challenge. Learning a new technique will not only challenge you but it might just awaken some hidden potential!
Be a “Social” Photographer
There are tons of photo sites to display and discuss your work. Sites like PictureSocial and Flickr bring photographers from all over the world together and are the perfect places to talk about photography.
Remember why you are here
Remember that your photography is just that ‘your photography’. If you start to think of your photography as tedious work then it’s really easy to lose focus – so always try and have fun
www.kimsteinberg.com

Or email me at info@kimsteinberg.com with any specific photography questions or suggestions on what you would like to read about in my column.

Till next month keep shooting
Kim Steinberg

OUR RESERVE
The Rangers Report, our Guide, Wesley, gives us some wonderful updates as to what everything is up to:-

The coalition of three lion brothers are moving around on a constant basis, practicing very nomadic behaviour. With the three of them being so active, sightings are getting better and better. Most of the lions’ time is being spent between the lodge and our waterhole lookout point. There is also a large amount of prey species such as impala, waterbuck, Nyala and wildebeest in the same area which gives the lions plenty of opportunity to hunt.

They are literally spoilt for choice. On more than a few occasions, the guides have been able to view the lions stalking various species of animals considered to be potential food items, including giraffe and buffalo. The guides have also had the pleasure of watching them having a late afternoon drink at the waterhole lookout point.

Lions have been celebrated throughout history for their courage and strength. They once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Today they are found only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, except for one very small population of Asian lions that survives in India’s Gir Forest. So general information about Lions:-

Type:
Mammal
Diet:
Carnivore
Size:
Head and body, 4.5 to 6.5 ft (1.4 to 2 m); Tail, 26.25 to 39.5 in (67 to 100 cm)
Weight:
265 to 420 lbs (120 to 191 kg)
Group name:
Pride
Protection status:
Vulnerable
The buffalo herds are also making a strong appearance around the lodge and waterhole lookout point. This we feel is due to the luscious green grasses all around. Buffalo can eat over 120 kilograms of grass in a day, they are also ruminants, just like a cow and use the four stomachs to digest the grass they eat to gain maximum nutrients from the grass the buffalo eat.

After the food is processed and softened in the rumen, it is regurgitated. This substance is called the cud and is chewed again. The chewed cud goes directly to the other chambers of the stomach. In the buffalo, these chambers are, in order, the reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Once the cud arrives in these chambers, additional digestion occurs.

Of the estimated 400 buffalo at Leopard Mountain, at least 100 spend the majority of their time around the lodge and in the riverbed just below the lodge. There is also a handful of old buffalo bulls, otherwise known as DAGGA BOYS that are being viewed on a constant basis and seem very relaxed in our presence.
The southern masked weavers are nesting in large numbers all over the reserve. A particular sight where about 100 masked weavers have congregated and built nests over a waterhole makes for great viewing and allows us a closer look into the lives of these magnificent aves. The noise from all the chirping and chatting amongst the masked weavers is unbelievable, the males bring food to the nests for the females and possibly chicks whilst constantly repairing any damage done to their nests due to strong winds or snakes attempting to find a meal.

Sunbird nests are also going up all over the reserve. A white bellied sunbird is hard at work, building its nest right in the lodge grounds.

The southern yellow billed hornbills and the crowned hornbills are starting to find nest sites too. Hornbills are one of the bird species that practice monogamy and the female will only pair up with a strange male should her partner be preyed upon by a predator or pass away due to natural causes.

Spotted eagle owl sightings have also been plentiful. Nocturnal hunters, the spotted eagle owl spends most of the day concealed in trees, rock ledges or abandoned burrows. Spotted eagle owls are also monogamous, and quite territorial. Reproduction takes place between July and February each year. 2-4 eggs are laid in a scrape on the ground, normally sheltered by a bush, grass or rocks. Incubation lasts for around 32 days. Young leave the nest by about 5 weeks and are fledged by 7 weeks, but remain with parents for at least another 5 weeks. Click here to go directly to our blog.

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED?
Is there something that you have always wondered and never been able to answer, let us help, send us your questions and we’ll send the answers!
How many types of Giraffe are there?
Many people debate the number of different giraffe in Africa.
In fact there is actually only one species, and is divided into a number of different sub species based on colour and pattern variations. They are all, able to interbreed successfully to produce viable offspring.
At present, nine major races are generally considered and accepted – although there is no complete consensus on this and some scientists recognise more and some less.
Here is a list of the Giraffe that are recognised:
1. Southern African giraffe
2. Thornicroft’s giraffe
3. Rothschild’s giraffe
4. Angolan giraffe
5. Masai giraffe
6. Nubian giraffe
7. Kordofan giraffe
8. Reticulated giraffe
9. West African giraffe
Thornicrofts giraffe

Reticulated giraffe
Southern African giraffe

BUSH CUISINE
Babotie – serves 6-8 people
Ingredients
Oniov, diced 1
Chopped Garlic 1 tsp
Tumeric ½ tsp
Curry Powder 2 tsp
Mince 1kg
Tomato & Onion mix ½ can
Dried Apricots, chopped ½ cup
Chutney ¼ cup
White bread, crusts removed 2 slices
Milk ½ cup
Eggs 4
Method
• Fry onion and garlic until soft. Add spices. Cook for 30 seconds.
• Add mince, season with salt.
• Cook mince until crumbly.
• Add tomato & onion mix and chutney.
• Adjust seasoning and cook for 10 min.
• Soak the bread in milk. Add the bread to the mince, draining any excess milk.
• Add apricots and cook for a further 5 min.
• Place mince in a greased oven proof dish.
• Whisk the eggs with the left over milk.
• Pour over the top of the mince.
• Bake at 180° for 15 minutes or until egg is cooked and golden.
• Serve with yellow rice and sambals.

Leopard Mountain Wine of the Month

This Month I would like to introduce to you a wine of class and elegancethe “Rustenberg John X Merriman”.
“Enter the gates of Rustenberg with a sense of anticipation. The historic farm, sheltered by the Simonsberg, is a Cape gem that has welcomed visitors since 1682.”
This wine has fantastic notes of plum& cigar which are followed by a wonderful elegant tannin structure.
This wine boasts a fantastic combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec.
This wine has typical Rustenberg aromas of cellar spices, dark cherries &fynbos. The palate is richly layered with fruit tannin and well-balanced. It is said to be by far the most polished of Bordeaux blends.
Enjoy this fabulous wine with our chef Ashton’s food suggestion – Cape Malay style Babotie with Yellow Rice & Sambals

Funny Bones Flying Turtle
Deep within a forest a little turtle began to climb a tree. After hours of effort he reached the top, jumped into the air waving his front legs and crashed to the ground. After recovering, he slowly climbed the tree again, jumped, and fell to the ground. The turtle tried again and again while a couple of birds sitting on a branch watched his sad efforts.

Finally, the female bird turned to her mate. “Dear,” she chirped, “I think it’s time to tell him he’s adopted.”

THIS MONTH’S COMPETITION
You could be the lucky person to win yourself and a partner a free night including dinner, bed & breakfast and game drives at the lodge. You may email us your answer to win@leopardmountain.co.za (competition closes 30th November 2011 terms & conditions apply):
Solve this Riddle: My age today is three times what it will be three years from now minus three times what my age was three years ago. How Old am I?

Last Months Winner Was:
Thank you to everyone who responded to our competition! The winner of our LEOPARD MOUNTAIN competition for last month is Chantal Mumford. Congratulations – you have won yourself and a partner a free night .

Last Month’s Riddle was:
You use a knife to slice my head
And weep beside me when I am dead.
What am I?
An Onion

BEST GUEST COMMENTS
Date: 28th October 2011 Guest: Geoff and Jan
Thank you We had a great time and would like to come back soon! Reality is so boring! Best Wishes

Date: 26th October 2011
Guest: Rodney and Marian Currie
Hello Roxanne
We just wanted to say thanks to all your staff for allowing us to have a wonderful relaxing stay. We were in desperate need of some time out and we definitely got it! To all the staff from reception, to guides, to kitch, to room staff, we say THANK YOU!

Reviedwe 19th October 2011
Guest:
We booked to go to Leopard Mountain with one day’s notice as the place we wanted to go in Kruger was full – this was definitely no bad thing, as Leopard Mountain was stunning. A fantastic lodge, complemented by the most amazing views and extremely helpful staff meant we had an incredible two night stay. The guys that do the game drives are so passionate about what they do, and will go out of their way to make your stay as relaxing as they can. Each night we had a 4 course dinner round a log fire complemented by a wide choice of wine from the lodge’s cellar. The lodge is in Zululand Rhino Reserve, which is a Big Five reserve now 3 lions have been introduced in early 2011 (we were lucky enough to see them one night too!). If you want game drives that are informative, fun, and with no sense of rush, this is the place to go – some mornings we were out for nearly 4 hours. One of the other couples commented how different to Kruger this was, as we didn’t see anyone else on the drives, and were off the main road a lot of the time. Apparently Kruger felt quite touristy – this felt like we had our own private reserve! There may, however, be better reserves to go to if you purely want to see the Big Five quickly, for example Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, which can be a day trip from Leopard Mountain, where there are larger populations of some species. During our stay we saw plenty of game, including black and white rhino, lions, buffalo, wilderbeest, many of the antelope family, monkeys, hundreds of birds and who could forget the giraffe that greeted us every morning near the lodge! I couldn’t recommend this lodge more highly – a truly wonderful place, with beautiful rooms, great staff and a view to die for!

GOING GREEN
In the world today we all need to make an effort to help our environment recover from the damage we have caused. Some of us look at this and head for the hills as we think that only a huge project will make an impact, this of course is not the case any effort, no matter how small is a start!

THIS MONTHS TIP

As we should all know and be aware of by now is that the world is burning at an ever increasing rate through our fossil fuels. So let’s all try to contribute by GOING GREEN and helping improve the situation by trying an alternative – GAS.

Cooking with gas is ever increasing in popularity and it has become the likely most environmentally friendly cooking option and is readily available especially in your Urban or Suburban environment. In most places in and near cities there are companies who will come and install a large gas cylinder outside your house. This enables you to reduce the amount of times you will need to travel to purchase a refill for a smaller cylinder and therefore reducing carbon emissions by using your car less. Gas is said to be as green as you can get. Although gas is a fossil fuel it is not burning constantly like coal is to produce a constant supply of electricity whether being used or not. Gas creates an instant heat which makes cooking quicker, efficient and more cost effective.

So go out and purchase yourself a Gas Stove and do something for the environment, who knows there is something about the open flame that may bring out the Jamie Oliver in All of Us. Interesting Fact: Did you know that High efficiency natural gas-fired power stations can produce up to 70% lower greenhouse gas emissions than existing brown coal-fired generators, and less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of the latest technology black coal-fired power stations
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give!

…till we chat again next month…
Editor Melissa van Rooyen

Category: Blog
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