Author Archives Vanessa

July 2, 2013

Africa Geographic | Gondwana Game Reserve

Gondwana Game Reserve’s Junior Ranger Experience has been featured in the July issue of Africa Geographic Magazine.

Kids of all ages are welcome at Gondwana Game Reserve as we offer an all round family safari experience near Cape Town.

On arrival children receive a fun Ranger’s backpack and cool safari booklet to fill in throughout their stay. They will gain a greater understanding of conservation and our precious eco systems. They will be quizzed on what they’ve learned by their ranger and receive a level 1 Junior Ranger Patch and completion certificate, as well as a picture with their ranger for their safari book.

The July 2013 issue of Africa Geographic is on sale now. Find out more about the magazine and how to subscribe at

Click on the image below to read the article!

Afirca Geographic - featuring Gondwana

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June 20, 2013


Bone Marrow Flan - Gondwana


Adapted from JC Nortier

Time: 6 hours, including refrigeration

8 2-inch beef marrow bones, both ends cut to expose the marrow (the bones should be smooth and cylindrical for the most attractive appearance)

1/2 cup minced shallots

1 cup dry red wine

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups milk

8 10-12 ounce boneless sirloin strip steaks

Kosher salt.

1. Chill the marrow bones at least one hour. Using a long thin knife, cut around the inside surface of the bone, and push out the marrow in one

piece. Place the marrow in a bowl of cold water, and refrigerate at least 3 hours, up to 24 hours.

2. While the marrow is refrigerated, place the empty bones in a pot and cover with water. Simmer until all the fat and meat can easily be scraped away, about 2 hours. Remove the bones from the water, scrape them clean, and set aside.

3. To prepare the flan: In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the shallots and wine. Bring to a simmer, and cook until almost all the wine has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In the container of a blender or food processor, combine the cream, eggs, and shallot mixture. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine strainer, and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place teakettle of water over high heat to bring to a boil. Wrap the bottom half of each bone tightly, first with plastic wrap, then with foil. Stand each bone up in a deep roasting pan with the foil on the bottom. Pour the flan mixture into each bone, filling them up halfway. Cover the pan with a lid or heavy-duty foil, and place in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep in the pan.

5. Prepare a hot grill or broiler. Remove the marrow from the ice water, and cut into slices 1/2 inch thick. Grill or broil the steaks to taste. While the steaks are cooking, place the milk in a small skillet over low heat and bring to a slow simmer. Add the marrow slices, and poach until the surfaces are smooth and they are heated through, about 5 minutes.

6. To serve, place each steak on a plate. Carefully remove the foil and plastic from each bone, and place a bone, flan side down, on each plate. Fill the empty top halves of each bone with the poached marrow slices. Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings.

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June 12, 2013

Zoo animals -Set Free

Elephant-Thandora feeding at Gondwana

Thandora who was released from the Bloemfontein Zoo and into the wild on Gondwana Game Reserve has shed light on the argument of whether animals should be in captivity…

Read article from about  a tiger who escaped form a zoo as well as our Thandora who is happily enjoying the wild of Gondwana.

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May 30, 2013

New Arrival to Gondwana Game Reserve

This young female bushpig arrived at Tenikwa Rehabilitation Centre at about 5 weeks of age. She comes from the Knysna area where she was attacked by dogs, but fortunately escaped and spent the night in a residents swimming pool.  She lost an eye and developed pneumonia in the process. This young bushpig was in a poor state but with the hard work and hours that Tenikwa put in, she has made a full recovery. Tenikwa gradually prepared her to be released back into the wild.

The bushpig arrived at Gondwana Game Reserve yesterday where we prepared her for her next phase to be released into our 1200ha predator free walking area. She immediately left her transport crate and started relandscaping her temporary holding boma. She has stolen the hearts of many staff members especially that of Tayla Hawkins from the wildlife department  who will be looking after and monitoring her performance.. Tayla has since renamed her Fat Amy

 Congratulations to Tenikwa for the fine work that they are doing in caring for wildlife and returning them for the wild.Bush Pig - Gondwana Game Reserve

Bush Pig

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May 22, 2013

Award-Winning Chef Joins Gondwana Family

 When food is prepared with love and creative flair, shared with family and friends over a glass of wine and hearty conversation … well that is the meaning of life, isn’t it?

Jakob Christoffel has joined Gondwana Game Reserve as their new head chef and promises to bring an exciting flair to Gondwana’s fine dining in the Garden Route. Often called “MacGyver in the Kitchen”, JC always knew he would be a chef. “The sights, smells, and social atmosphere of the open markets drew me in. I learned of the terroir philosophy from my uncle; meaning “of the earth” and as translated: to enjoy the food of a region and use what is fresh and in the moment. Creativity comes easily when the food is the star and flavours are in full bloom.

Born and educated in George, JC joined his first kitchen, Montego Bay, in 1999 as a trainee chef. Thanks to an opportunity to travel, he left SA for the shores of England and it was here that the real adventure began. After working in various restaurants and studying at the Marco Pierre White Restaurant School in London, JC joined the reality cooking show, Gordon Ramsay F- Word. Winning himself second place, he was offered a job to join Jamie Oliver in London. Three awards later, namely Chef of the year 2011 Jamie’s Italian; and winner of Surrey Gastro-Pub award 2003 and 2004 for Percy Arms … the rest as they say is history.

“My passion is to work with chefs who have not been afforded the same opportunities as me. I would love to be able to share my knowledge, which I have gained working for three of the world’s most renowned chefs.”

Today, on any given early morning you will find him foraging in the nearby local food markets looking for the best local produce, and then sharing it with other local chefs and creating dishes with them. Community awareness and the sharing of knowledge is a key component of Gondwana Lodge, which JC hopes to encourage further. “I believe fresh, natural food tastes better. I believe in supporting our local organic farmers and those practicing sustainable agriculture. I believe balance in life, nature and food is difficult and worth the effort. I like to pay homage to the great dishes and styles of cooking that have evolved since the beginning of time and put our own little spin on them. I want Gondwana to be a positive force in the lives of the people who become involved with it and improve their lives as a result.”  Enjoy trying 2 of JC’s delicious and nourishing recipes below!


Beetroot Sponge, Spinach and Onion Purée, Buttermilk Labne, Dill and Cucumber Granita

recipe 2

Oxtail medallions served with a triplex of potatoes and a mélange of baby vegetables

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May 17, 2013

5 new giraffe disembark onto Gondwana’s majestic landscape

The world’s tallest land mammal disembarks onto Gondwana’s majestic landscape once again.The memorable release of the 5 giraffe took place yesterday morning in the awe inspiring reserve after their short journey from the Eastern Cape.

The Giraffe gracefully disembarked from the transport truck and surveyed their new surroundings with a sense of ownership. They were quite curious and actually came back to inspect the small silent audience of humans and moved on against the backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains.

One young bull and one older bull will join the existing journey of giraffe in Gondwana’s Nauga Valley rich with browse vegetation.  The other 3 were released in the protected walking area and are composed of 2 cows and 1 bull, all in their prime.  The vegetation in this area of the reserve is also ideal for the giraffe who will add a fun element to Gondwana’s walking and biking safaris!

The addition of more giraffe to the Gondwana family will enhance the wildlife experience and supplement to the diversity of game species which includes White Rhino, eland, kudu, lion, Cape Mountain Zebra and cheetah among many others.

The Gondwana Guides are all on the hunt to be the first to tick off giraffe!

Giraffe Leaving vehicle at GondwanaGiraffe leaving vehicle at GondwanaGiraffe Freed on Gondwana

Into the sunset - giraffe at GondwanaGiraffe release at Gondwana

Giraffe release at Gondwana

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May 9, 2013

Blue Wildebeest Arrive at Gondwana Game Reserve

With its large head, shaggy mane, pointed beard, curved horns, one can understand why they are called “wild beasts”.

The blue wildebeest seems as if it was assembled by the spare parts of other African animals. The hind quarters from a hyena, forequarters from an eland and a tail from a zebra. One can appreciate why they are known as the clowns of the  bush. The blue Wildebeest gets its name from its silvery-blue sheen coat.

More than 100 blue wildebeest will be released onto Gondwana Game Reserve this winter period along with a few other surprise species. The first herd of 60 animals arrived yesterday on two separate trucks. The trucks were lined up to the offloading ramp where the crate doors were opened. The blue wildebeest hastily exited the truck to explore their new territory on the central plains of the reserve.

As if they had forgotten that they come from elsewhere,  the herds have rapidly settled in and immediately started grazing on the plains. The addition of blue wildebeest on the reserve will improve the game viewing experience on Gondwana for guests by giving them one more magnificent species to view.

Gondwana is currently home to black Wildebeest who are endemic to Southern Africa and are smaller in size than the Blue Wildebeest. Despite their name they are in fact brown in colour and not black.

Blue wildebeest

Blue Wildebeest Released on Gondwana

Blue Wildebeest at Gondwana

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April 30, 2013

Lion Pride Family Time

Our Lion Pride was spotted altogether on Gondwana Game Reserve, catching some sun and trying out some acrobatics in the trees.

We were fortunate enough to see our 3 brand new cubs taking part as well. See images below

Lions at GondwanaLion cub at Gondwana

Lions climbing trees at Gondwana lions in tree

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April 25, 2013

Recipe of the week – Chicken and Langoustine Terrine Wrapped in Cucumber

Chicken and Langoustine Terrine Wrapped in Cucumber-Christo ‘JC’ Nortier

By Gondwana Chef- Christo ‘JC’ Nortier

Yield: 1kg terrine (10-12 80g slices)
• 500g chicken breast, ground
• 2ea egg whites
• 10ml salt
• 2ml ground white pepper
• 180ml shellfish essence, chilled (recipe below)
• 60ml heavy cream, chilled

• 500g langoustine tails, blanched, shelled and deveined (keep shells for the essence)
• 75g Shitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced, sautéed and chilled
• 30ml Dill, chopped
• 15ml Parsley, chopped

1. Prepare mousseline forcemeat: Process the ground chicken, egg whites, salt and pepper. Add the shellfishessence and heavy cream with the machine running, and process just to incorporate.
2. Pass the forcemeat through a drum sieve, into an ice cold bowl.
3. Test the forcemeat and adjust the seasoning if necessary before proceeding.
4. Fold in the langoustine tails, mushrooms, and herbs over an ice bath.
5. Oil the terrine mould and line it with the plastic wrap, leaving an overhang. Line with thinly sliced cucumber slices and dust lightly with granulated gelatine. Pack the forcemeat into the lined mould, making sure to remove any air pockets.
6. Fold the liner over the forcemeat to encase completely. Cover.
7. Poach the terrine in a waterbath in a 165C oven to an internal temperature of 72C.
8. Remove the terrine from the waterbath and allow to cool slightly.
9. Let the terrine rest in the fridge overnight, weighted lightly. The terrine is now ready to be served.

Chef’s tip: the essence can be prepared using the shellfish shells from this recipe or from other uses. T ake care to freeze the shells if they cannot be used within 12 hours.

Shellfish essence
Yield: 180ml
• 500g Shellfish shells
• 15ml vegetable oil
• 120g onions, finely chopped
• 2ea Garlic, cloves minced
• 360ml Heavy cream
• 1ea Bayleaf
• 15ml Robertsons veggie seasoning
• 5ml Chicken stock, reduced

1. Sauté the shells in the vegetable oil until red. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until aromatic.
2. Add the heavy cream, bay leaves, seasoning and reduce to half the original volume.
3. Add the reduced stock/ glace and squeeze through cheesecloth. Final volume should be 180ml. Chill to below 8 C, before using in the terrine.

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