December 2017 News Blog
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM TSHUKUDU!
"Many of our guests at Tshukudu come from places around the world where Christmas means bundling up with scarfs and sweaters and embracing the wonderful, white snow. Colourful lights and jingle bells and fireplaces crackling away – you get the picture! This is always an enigmatic image for us sizzling away in South Africa where Christmas is around the warmest time of year, and the smell of sunscreen and boerewors blend with the fragrance of summer rain.
This year, just like the years before, we are excited to host both our international and local visitors for a Christmas celebration full of feasting and sunshine (followed by afternoon showers!), and share a part of our South African festivities. Whatever this time of year means to you, we wish it to be filled with merriment and triumph, and hope that 2018 is full of promise and success. We can’t see ourselves to the end of another year without looking back with thanks and appreciation for our team at Tshukudu – all of whom work to make our home what it is – and feeling entirely grateful and fulfilled when we remember of all the support our guests of 2017 have shown us.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, from Chris and Vicky Sussens."
IT'S YOUR (UN)LUCKY DAY: NTOMBI VS. WARTHOG, ELEPHANT, AND CROCODILE!
It's not an easy life in the wild, even when you're at the top of the food chain! Cheetahs might be predators who hunt and kill their own prey, but they are not considered threatening when it comes to much larger and stronger animals. The cheetahs on Tshukudu - siblings Ntombi, Hunter, and Floppy - live wild among the rest of the animals in the reserve, and they are certainly not exempt from the natural order of things. On this particular day, Ntombi seemed to have exceptionally bad luck when it came to bad-tempered animals, as she encountered a warthog, an elephant, and a crocodile who did not want her around!
Ntombi vs. Warthog: This interesting interaction took place while we were out on morning walk with our guests, and Ntombi tagged along as she often does. During the walk we found a lone male warthog, and he took a particular disliking to Ntombi. We watched as she innocently kept to herself, and lay down in the cool road, but this warthog was not having it and he continued to intimidate her and keep her on her toes. Watch the video below - the action begins about 20 seconds in.
Ntombi vs. Crocodile: Later on we were on afternoon game drive and once again we found the lovely Ntombi, and this time we watched her approach a waterhole for a drink. We could see a Nile crocodile in the middle of the dam - and so could she - but we assumed the croc would just let her be considering she poses no threat to a beast like him. Alas, Ntombi had found the croc in a particularly bad mood and we watched as he too chased her away! Watch the video below.
Ntombi vs. Elephant: And just when we thought it was over, elephants arrived at the dam and spotted Ntombi keeping to herself on the outskirts. Sure enought, just as the warthog and the crocodile before them, the elephants were not satisfied with the presence of this predator, and one particularly dissatisfied member of the herd took it upon herself to chase Ntombi out of sight! Take a look at the action caught on camera below.
A SUNSET FIT FOR A KING
We've been stunned by some outstanding sunsets this month, and we always take a moment to drink them in (with something cold, of course!) and capture the memory of nature's most beautiful display of colour. Some of our favourite sunsets this month included a golden afternoon with elephants at a waterhole, and a perfect ball of fire that ignited the sky with a flood of magenta. Just when we thought we'd seen the best of a lion sighting on afternoon game drive, a big male sauntered onto an elevated dam wall and lay down in the spill of golden sunlight where he proceeded to bellow out his resounding call. What a sight for sore eyes!
CHEETAHS SEEK SHADE AT THE POOL
Hunter and Floppy (originally known as Hunters and Whiskey) are the Tshukudu charmers, through and through. These boys roam wild and make frequent successful kills. They join us at our coffee and sundowner stops and make themselves quite at home at the lodge too. The temperatures have been sizzling this month as summer starts to build, and our pool has been a popular spot for guests as well as these two brothers! Take a look at Hunter and Floppy occupying the shade alongside the pool, where they fast became the stars of the show.
Another featured moment with our famous duo was when our game viewers received brand new stickers, and Hunter modelled perfectly for the photos! All three cheetah siblings were beautifully photographed by our guest, Daniel Holman, who kindly shared the photos with us.
CELEBRATING IN STYLE
On Christmas Eve our kitchen elves were preparing to serve a feast, consisting of 3 courses of famous Tshukudu fare! The Lowveld heat means that we enjoy a Christmas dinner instead of lunch, which is thoroughly enjoyed in classic festive spirit by our overnighting guests, as well as those who book just for the meal. Take a look at this year's menu, which we can't wait to enjoy this evening!
Smoked salmon carpaccio with micro greens, black olives, feta, caviar, radish, and a honey and mustard dressing.
Pasta salad with three beans, cherry tomatoes, shaved radish, toasted almonds, and a sweet and sour lime vinaigrette.
Couscous salad with Calamata olives, peas, sweet corn, and sun dried tomatoes.
Chutney marinated beetroot salad with apples, celery, pecan nuts, feta, and a strawberry vinaigrette.
Soya, garlic, and thyme marinated beef rump.
Lemon and mustard stuffed whole turkey.
Rosemary and mint slow roasted lamb noisette.
Glazed carrots and minted peas.
French beans with caramelized onions and cherry tomatoes.
Capiscum scented rice.
Black forest cake.