A trip down memory lane…

Last night as I was setting the table for our Christmas Eve dinner, I realize that this was my 7th consecutive year in a row and I could not help but feel a little nostalgic.

Where has the time gone? It has been an incredible journey so far! Quite a bit of blood, sweat and tears, but reflecting on it all now, I would not have it any other way. We have had some amazing guests over the years that have now become friends. We have had some fantastic Staff members that have come and gone. The lodge itself has changed dramatically (for the better of course!) All in all, it has been 7 years of life changing memories. I am sure that 2019 will bring more remarkable mile stones. May everyone taking time to read this have a magnificent festive season and a very prosperous New Year.

2018 Christmas Eve dinner
2013 Christopher & Siyabi during Christmas eve dinner setup
Christmas day 2015 Left to Right: Portia, Jacqui, Yvonne & Glanny
Rose, Christmas day lunch in 2013
Stephanie & Janus on Rhino Friday in 2015
Mpilo and John on Safari in April 2018
Togara (TJ) on Safari in January 2016
Craig and Myself fixing the pool in the early days of 2012
Shawe & Kim before afternoon Safari in 2011

Team Vuyani Does It Again….

In my 7 years at Vuyani Safari Lodge I have organized, planned and hosted quite few weddings. Having an awesome team to work with always makes it fun! Mathew & Karen contacted me more than a year ago to start the planning for their magical day! And magical it was indeed.

We were having some ‘iffy’ weather and the night before the wedding I was worried that we might have to change venues at the last minute. Mathew & Karen had opted to have the ceremony in a riverbed and then a beautiful “Boma” dinner under then stars, so you can imagine my mild panic attack!

On the Friday morning of the wedding, the skies cleared up and the sun came out, it turned out to be a spectacular day! Everything was smooth sailing from there and myself and Team Vuyani hosted another remarkable wedding ceremony.



What to pack 2.0

 

We often get asked via email what our Guests need to pack for their stay with us at Vuyani Safari Lodge. So, I thought it would be a good idea to give you a general overview of what I think is necessary to pack. I have written this blog before, but since then, we have decided to refine it a bit.

We do not have a dress code at the lodge, and it is all very casual and comfortable.

 

The first item you should bring along is sunscreen – at least a factor 30, as the African sun is rather harsh all year round.

A comfortable and well fitted hat (as it can easily get blown off on the drives) a baseball cap is ideal

If you forget we sell them at the Lodge

 

 

 

Sunglasses. 

And of course do not forget sunglasses. 


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A Camera

  • You do NOT want to miss that perfect shot!
  • Please ensure that you have plenty of space on your Memory card, or even better bring two or three with you! And if your camera does not work with rechargeable batteries, it is a good idea to stock up. We are about 30 minutes from the nearest shop.

Binoculars

  • Binoculars  are not a requirement, but it is always nice to have your own pair. We do not supply binoculars.

Clothing:

I would  suggest in the clothing department to bring at least one warm outfit with you, regardless of the time of year. A Jacket/Fleece or Jumper and some warm trousers. The weather is extremely unpredictable and can go from a toasty 30 Degrees to a chilly 20 Degrees Celsius overnight!

Some comfortable shoes, if you are planning on doing any activities that involve walking then pack those hiking boots, otherwise Trainers or Sneakers are perfect. Bring some flip flops for lounging around the Lodge and Pool area during the day.

If you are visiting us in winter (May – September) Make sure you pack some VERY warm clothes for the morning and afternoon Safari’s. A woolly hat (Beanie) Scarf and a pair of gloves come in handy on the Open vehicle Safari’s.

At Vuyani Safari Lodge we supply towels in your room, for the pool and amenities such as Shampoo, Conditioner and Hand & Body Wash. These products are Eco Friendly and all Natural. Insect Repellant is provided; however, you are welcome to pack your own. All our rooms are also equipped with Mosquito nets.

Adaptors and Electricity

  • Another handy item would be an International Adapter for your electronics. In South Africa we have the three prong round sockets. If you have any devices that require batteries – make sure you buy these before you arrive at the lodge (as mentioned before) We do however sell international adapters at the lodge (Adapters and batteries are readily available at the airport in Johannesburg)
  • South Africa standard voltage:  220V/50Hz

All rooms at Vuyani do have:

  • Hairdryers
  • Mosquito netting
  • Bug repellent spray 

At Vuyani Safari Lodge we have a well-stocked First Aid Kit and most of our staff are trained in First Aid, we also have a Medical Rescue professional on 24-hour standby. However,

Important:

We cannot by law provide our guests with any medication i.e. Headache tablets, Anti Histamine, eye drop or Malaria Medication. It is also recommended that you visit your GP before travelling to South Africa.

With all these items checked you will have an enhanced and trouble-free Safari experience.

A view from the top….

 

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Many of our guests inquire about Hot Air Balloon flights, but there is something even MORE exciting on offer at Vuyani Safari Lodge. Microlight flights!

The beauty of the Microlight flight is that the pilot can take you where you would like to go. And they have a few options to choose from, most certainly a highly recommended activity to consider during your stay with us at Vuyani Safari Lodge. We had some guests enjoy a 1-hour flight today, and Jannie took some photos of them taking off on their adventure. I wanted to share the photos here.

 

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You can select a package that suits you best:

30 Minute Flights – This flight is usually done over Big 5 areas surrounding Hoedspruit so the chances of spotting one of the famous Big 5 is rather promising, however this is entirely up to you! The pilot will discuss the flight before takeoff to ensure your best interests are at heart.

 

 

 

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1 Hour Flights – There are two most popular options on this flight, but once again, the pilot will discuss the route before the flight Blyde River Canyon option, this flight usually includes a flight over the Blyde Dam and above the Blyde River Canyon then back to Hoedspruit where wildlife can be viewed. Alternatively, a view of Bourke’s Luck potholes before returning to Hoedspruit. The second option on the 1-hour flight is the Olifants River option, this flight usually includes flying over numerous Big 5 reserves in the area towards the Olifants River then follows the Olifants River for a short period of time, where after heading back to Hoedspruit for more possible Wildlife sightings.

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The best part of this activity is that you can discuss your specifics with the Pilot before taking off from Hoedspruit Civil Airfield. Please feel free to speak to your host upon Check in at Vuyani Safari Lodge.

What to do, What to do….

 

 

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If you are due to stay with us, please make sure that you chat to your host about all the activities on offer. You can even email me in the office, and I can provide in depth information and assist with any queries.

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We are ideally located to offer a wide variety of activities during your stay. Vuyani Safari Lodge is located only 40 minutes from the world-famous Kruger National Park! The beauty of the Kruger Park is that it so very unpredictable.  It also covers a colossal area of nearly 19 485 km², now THAT is impressive. Spend the day with a qualified guide looking for animals and birds! Your host can arrange an Open Safari Vehicle (Minimum of 6 persons) or a closed SUV type vehicle (with AC). The closed vehicle option is ideal for Birding enthusiasts, and our knowledgeable guides will certainly provide an unforgettable experience.Kruger (2)

We have extensively researched each establishment that we recommend, and we have also ensured reputable facilities.

I often get asked about the Wildlife Sanctuaries and I can unquestionably guarantee that the animals at these specific sanctuaries are in some of the most capable hands in conservation.

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Vuyani Safari Lodge also offers a superb Panorama Route tour, the view points and waterfalls on this tour are spectacular, and if you would like to see a little bit of what South Africa has to offer, this is an unqualified MUST. Your guide will stop over for lunch in the very quaint little town of Graskop, there are multiple shops in this little village for the needed retail therapy or that souvenir that was promised to your niece 😉

 

 

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Support our Anti-poaching team by booking the Anti-Poaching Experience. Visit the base camp for these hard working and dedicated people and enjoy a couple of hours with them, to understand better how much these people mean to South Africans!

I have touched base on only two of the activities on offer at the lodge, there are so many more!

If you would like to see animals up-close, play a round of golf with our local wildlife, partake in a hot air balloon or Microlight flight or even have a relaxing Spa treatment, be sure to ask any of our very capable staff members.

 

2017 – A year in review

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Every year I write a little overview of what happened at the Lodge. I must say that 2017 was a very busy year for us at the Lodge, it absolutely flew by! I am still struggling to grasp the fact that it is almost 2018! We had some amazing wildlife sightings this year (even had Elephants visiting the Lodge) , hosted a magnificent wedding, gave our old Land Cruizer a facelift and overall it was a great 2017.

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I will most definitely be posting more on this blog in 2018 as our Staff compliment

has also grown. It has also been a rather hot summer so far with temperatures reaching the high 30 degrees Celsius on more than couple of occasions. We are looking forward to ending 2017 in a magnificent bush setting for our guests!

Vuyani Safari Lodge has BIG plans for 2018 and we are ever growing and ever striving to deliver our best.

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Checking In?

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Some excitement the past three weeks, the Ellies seem to have taken a liking to Vuyani Safari Lodge and in particular the swimming pool IMG_8404

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Bernard usually writes his blog about Safari’s and wildlife, but I could not pass this opportunity to share our super cool photos!

 

 

We have now observed them drinking from the pool, waiting for our new guests to check in, making sure the rooms and pathways are up to standard, and even posing in front of the Vuyani Safari Lodge sign.

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But pictures speak louder than words! enjoy the collection here taken by: Myself, Craig Carnaby, Tayla Godrich, Yzani Bakkes and Kalmay Hart. How lucky are we?

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Chef Amu’s Fast Forward Chicken Pie

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Each Chef has their own special way of preparing a dish. A while back I posted a Blog on Chef Vusi’s Chicken Pie as he specifically likes to make small individual pies for the guests.

Yesterday, Chef Amu made a stunning Chicken Pie and I decided to share the recipe, as it is a little different from Chef Vusi’s and is prepared in one large dish, which can be decorated in so many ways!

I have tried to adapt this recipe to about 6 people as Amu’s is for 24 people

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Amu has a quick & foolproof recipe for busy days!

1 Kg Chicken Breast or Thighs cubed

A punnet of White button or Portobello Mushrooms (Portobello has a much earthier tone)

Béchamel Sauce (Depending on how moist you prefer your filling)

About 4 tablespoons of Chicken Stock

You can add any veggies you like I.e. carrots, peas, patty pan squashes or even zucchini.

A handful of fresh basil leaves (or any herb you fancy)

A decent sized sheet of Puff Pastry

 

Brown the Chicken cubes in some olive oil and set aside. Fry the mushroom and your veggies of choice in the same saucepan and add the chicken. Do not overcook this, as it will still bake and soften in the oven.

Chop the basil and to the mixture with your Chicken stock, lastly add the Béchamel sauce and seasoning to taste.

Put your filling in a baking /oven dish and cover with Puff Pastry, egg wash the pastryimage1, to give it that delicious golden colour.

Bake in a 180 Degree pre- heated oven for about 30 to 40 minutes depending on how crunchy your pastry preference is.

This is a very simple, easy and fast dish to prepare (perfect for the cold in winter and those long days when you don’t have time to cook a multiple dish supper)

From the Vuyani Kitchen…

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I recently posted a photo of Chef Vusi with a Corn Salad that he had made for lunch on our Facebook page I wanted to share this easy, quick and delicious recipe with you. Perfect for a lunch on the go or a side dish at a barbeque. You can decide on the amounts, depending on your guests. FullSizeRender
What you will need:
Red Kidney Beans
Butter Beans
Corn on the Cob (alternatively you can use frozen corn)
Some Cherry Tomatoes
Red & Green Bell Peppers
Onion
Olives
Feta Cheese
Some Parsley for Garnish, alternatively (if you love Basil as much as I do) some chopped Basil.

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How to Assemble:
Dice the Onion and Peppers quite fine and fry in a bit of Olive Oil, add the Corn. Let this cool a little so the tomatoes don’t become too soft
Halve the Cherry Tomatoes (or keep whole) if you are using Butterbeans/Kidney beans in a tin, drain the water
Mix all the ingredients together, add the Feta and season to taste. You can also add a nice Vinaigrette and serve this salad cold or warm.
This Salad is quick, easy and absolutely delicious.
Happy Cooking
The Vuyani Safari Lodge Chefs

Vintage Vuyani…

Vuyani Safari Lodge recently obtained two magnificent Vintage vehicles that have been restored to their former glory. Our General Manager, Craig Carnaby has done a little write up on each of these classics, our Guests will now have the option to spend some time with these magnificent automobiles.

CHEVROLET FLEETMASTER

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Go back in time and take a trip in our Classic Chevrolet Fleetmaster, the vehicle is a 1947 model making it 70 years old and was the Mayor of Cape town’s first car which he owned for a period of 10 years. We Purchased the vehicle in 2015 and it has been restored over a period of 1 year.18033838_1710376695655886_3611793234079022142_n
Join our driver and depart the lodge on a leisurely tour to a small shopping village at the base of the Drakensburg mountains. Here you will have time to do some shopping and the option of looking around a classic car museum at the facility. There is also a silk farm where you can learn about how these products are manufactured.
After this, enjoy lunch under the trees and then return to the lodge for the Afternoon safari.

 

LANDROVER SERIES 2

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Hello……my name is “Jock “and I am named after Sir Percy Fitzpatrick’s fearless terrier who used to roam these very areas in the 1880s.
I am 51 years old and therefore a classic. I was produced in 1963 – 1967 as a Landrover series 2 SWB, who has been lovingly restored to my original condition and I now look as good as my brother did in his heyday, when he starred in the very famous the movie “Born free”.jock 2
Let me take you back to a time preceding the modern safari lodge era, as I transport you to a picturesque location on the reserve. Once there we will relax and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch under the trees while lounging on rugs and pillows I have brought along.
If you like you can also have your picture taken with me, I prefer black and white, then print it and display it on your wall as a memory of our time we spent together in wild Africa. Thereafter we will then take a slow drive to get you back in time for the evening safari.

 

**Written by Craig Carnaby

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