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July 30, 2013

Becoming a Junior Ranger on Gondwana Game Reserve

Lily Joubert had the most fun taking part in the Junior Ranger Experience. On the first day we set out picking unique fynbos flowers for her Mom Jackie who had to stay at the Bush Villa with the little one. During the experience she learned about the relationships between sunbirds and the F
ynbos flowers and how all the little creatures are dependent on the plants, and vice versa. We found some clear Kudu and Water Mongoose spoor, which we cast in plaster. During this, Lily learned about tracking, how to tell the direction an animal was moving, the speed, and some of the more common tracks found around Gondwana Game Reserve. After a short game drive to allow the plaster to set, we lifted the casts to reveal the perfect spoor.

The following day, was Lily’s Dad’s birthday. We went down to the safe zone where an incredible picnic was set out by the chefs. Before the picnic we all cast a couple of lines in the water. While Lily was practicing the perfect cast, her dad cast nice and far, and Lily got to reel it in. Mom had a turn and while casting a little shorter than the guys could boldly “advise” on, Mom Jackie managed to land a decent sized Largemouth Bass.

Kids of all ages are welcome at Gondwana Game Reserve. On arrival families will be informed about the Junior Ranger experience and their ranger will enquire about any special requests, dietary, babysitting or otherwise.

Kids enjoying the junior Ranger experience at GondwanaJunior Rangers at Gondwana Game Reserve

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July 30, 2013

Two New Elephant Calves born on Gondwana Game Reserve in the last 6 months

After a gestation period of 660 days, two of the resident elephants cows gave birth to two playful calves on Gondwana Gama Reserve.  The birth of the first calf on Christmas Day was celebrated by the mother through trumpeting and parading her new calf in front of Kwena lodge and then they disappeared for a few weeks into the 11 000 hectare Fynbos Reserve. Another calf was born just this May also with much excitement. Elephants much like people celebrate the birth of  young and join together in community to be present. After the maternal announcement of the second addition to the family herd, the new mother and calf separated from the other pair to strengthen their bond, but reunited with the herd after a short time.

Allomothering,  is when all the females in the herd help to protect and look after the young calves which is common in elephants. However, it is very rare that elephants communal suckle, where the calves can drink off any lactating female in the herd as it is usually not tolerated.  We have witnessed this communal milk sucking with Gondwana’s herd which is fascinating and indicates the pronounced relationship and connection in the herd.

Elephants are ecological engineers who have the ability to structure and shape their environments around them. Elephants have always been an important species in the ecology of the Southern Cape and this why it was important to reintroduce a small nucleus population into an area such as Gondwana that they historicallyoccupied. Through ivory poaching and conflict with humans, the last of the inhabitant elephant herds were shot out in the 1700s with a tiny relic population that hid from the hunters rifles in the darkness of the Southern Cape Forests.We hope this growing herd can play a role in bringing wild elephant back to the Southern Cape.

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July 29, 2013

Game on for design-conscious travelers at Gondwana Game Reserve

Game on for design-conscious travelers

Cape Town becomes the official World Design Capital in 2014, making South Africa’s Mother City a must-visit destination for chic travelers. Those looking to expand their city-break with a stylish Big Five safari will find that the five-star Gondwana Game Reserve  ticks all the boxes for those looking for a design-led retreat.

At this easy-access reserve – just off the Garden Route, four hours from Cape Town, luxurious accommodation fuses contemporary design with organic African art and culture, topped off with fantastic food and an unforgettable Big Five safari adventure. Comprising 11,000 hectares of privately-owned land, this western cape game reserve takes its name from Gondwanaland, the prehistoric super-continent that was slowly carved and split by tectonic forces into the continents as we know them today.

Guests will love the African feel of the lodge and garden route accommodation. Inspired by the nomadic Khoi-San tribe, the original human populations in the Mossel Bay area, the architecture takes its cue from a traditional African village. At the heart is Kwena Lodge with a fine dining restaurant, a bar/ lounge, a swimming pool and an open-air boma. Utilizing materials from nature, worn paths and stone steps lead to 14 stand-alone Kwena suites – a modern take on the original Khoi-San mud hut dwelling. The round suites have a thatched roof with a round skylight in the centre.

The design of Kwena Lodge mixes traditional and modern influences, resulting in a warm, stylish environment, where the stresses of everyday life are left behind. All interiors were planned by local designer Lynne K Interiors together with Gondwana owner Wendy Rutherfoord. The décor concept is clean and organic with splashes of colour found in the surrounding indigenous Fynbos vegetation. The curvaceous interiors follow the rounded building forms with barely any straight edges in any of the buildings.

The décor in the restaurant and bar/lounge reflects the nomadic lifestyle of the Khoi-San, who were “Cape Herders” and followed the cattle. For example, stumps are used as bar stools with hides over them for comfort; and ‘found’ items, including bone, glass and feathers, were fashioned into a room-dividing screen. Large calabash chandeliers that hang in the dome-shaped roof accent the room and create a romantic and intimate feel.

The interiors of the 14 Kwena Suites follow the contemporary natural feel with colourful African accents throughout. Furnishings are custom-made or sourced in South Africa. Headboards are made of ostrich skin and side tables are stumps topped with African fish basket hanging lamps that shine lights out of sticks. Traditional clay pot fires and an Afro-chic collection of skins, lighting fixtures and artworks complete the authentic feel.

The focal point of the interiors is actually the Great Outdoors – the unique mountainous Fynbos landscape can be seen through floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows that give 180° views, allowing for game-spotting from the living room.

  

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July 24, 2013

Renegade Rondevlei Hippo – safely at Gondwana at last.

After a 5 hour trip from the Mother City, Gondwana Game Reserve welcomed a new hippopotamus to its current pod. After spending nearly a year attempting to capture this elusive animal, the young bull was eventually enticed into the capture boma on the 19th of July.

The City of Cape Town had to find an alternative home for the animal after he had escaped out of Rondevlei, which forms part of the False Bay Nature Reserve. Most well known for its wetland ecosystems that is rich in biodiversity and surrounded by a sea of urban developments. A 300m section of fencing was stolen from the reserve perimeter allowing a hippo cow and her newborn calf to escape. The young bull followed them but did not return to Rondevlei unlike the cow and her calf. The renegade hippo started frequenting residential gardens at night before disappearing into a suburban lake at dawn.

Hippos are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in the world. The remaining animal posed a potential threat to the public that surround the waterbody, and the decision was made to relocate the animal. The Hippos in the False Bay Nature Reserve constitute the only population of this species in the Greater Cape Town Area and have played a major role in re-establishing animals into other conservation areas in the Western Cape.

We are monitoring the young bull’s adaption to his new surroundings at the Western Cape Game Reserve but he has not been an easy task to locate. With over 40 dams on Gondwana and sufficient grazing, the young bull should quickly establish his territory and home range.

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July 9, 2013

Mini-Moon Romance at Gondwana

Relax, unwind, and restore … 

A blissful African mini moon like no other

Planning a wedding is a stressful and often an expensive affair and when the big day draws to an end, there is often little budget left over or little time off to plan the big 2-week European honeymoon. It’s in this swirl of tulle and confetti that a new trend for urbanite couples has emerged – the ‘Mini Moon’. Mini Moons are usually enjoyed over a few days at a local destination that requires a self-drive option or a quick flight. Less travelling time also means more enjoyment at the actual destination of choice.

This type of getaway for romance is fast becoming more and more popular in South Africa, thanks to our diverse landscape and travel opportunities. And nothing says romance and luxury like the beautiful Gondwana Game Reserve. Situated in the picturesque Garden Route, Gondwana is a private game reserve, and the only fynbos reserve in the world home to free roaming Big Five game.  Gondwana offers a starry-eyed destination like none other. Think luxurious accommodation, an inspiring mountain setting, expert rangers, warm service, dreamy sunsets and Five Star luxury, and of course … all the romance in the world.

Gondwana Game Reserve offers a diverse selection of luxury safari lodge accommodation from romantic private suites to exclusive use villas. The honeymoon suite at Gondwana’s Kwena Lodge is a private, romantic and luxurious retreat. Beautiful soft furnishings, first class amenities, bathrooms to die for and four poster beds with soft hanging fabrics … throw in spectacular views from every corner and you may never leave your room.

However, if you can pull yourself away, enjoy a relaxing and indulgent spa treatment in African style at the Gondwana Spa and soak in the warm and nurturing qualities of the luxurious Africology product range, which makes use of South Africa’s indigenous plants. With true romance in mind, experience a treatment together in a double volume room or outside for a truly “au natural” experience. In addition, in room treatments for the ultimate in privacy and exclusivity are on request.

And when hunger calls, Chef Jakob Christoffel Nortier, known fondly as JC, is on hand to indulge all your senses with his wonderful creativity and fresh approach to gourmet cuisine. Experience bush breakfasts, evening boma barbecues, elegant lodge meals, romantic picnics, and scenic sundowner spots with gourmet treats as the sun dips behind the mountains. Gondwana Game Reserve also offers a number of wonderful activities including daily game drives and Big Five game viewing, golf safaris, birding, fynbos walks and much much more.

Mini Moon Package:

Prepare to be captivated and create memories of a lifetime thanks to your African mini moon at Gondwana, now only R9 000 for two people for three nights.

The romantic package includes

  • Three nights in the Honeymoon Suite at Kwena Lodge
  • Daily gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Complimentary sparkling wine on arrival.
  • Two game activities per day (morning /evening game drive or fynbos walk)
  • Private picnic lunch with guided fynbos Bush Walk.
  • A private breakfast on the last morning on your patio, as well as a romantic bush dinner experience.
  • Complimentary spa treatment voucher. (R250 per person per stay)
  • Special romantic turndowns to end off each day.

For all reservation enquiries please contact Gondwana Game Reserve by email at reservations@gondwanagr.co.za or by telephone on +27 (0)21 424 5430.

For any media enquiries, please contact Robyn Elford at Nicky Arthur PR by email at ct@nickyarthurpr.com or by telephone at +27 (0)21 424 0384.

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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 www.africageographic.com

Click on the image below to read the article!

Afirca Geographic - featuring Gondwana

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June 20, 2013

Recipe of the week – BONE MARROW FLAN WITH SIRLOIN

Bone Marrow Flan - Gondwana

BONE MARROW FLAN WITH SIRLOIN

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 Care2.com 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!

recipe1

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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