It’s an annual event, and an extremely tasteful affair: the Hlokomela Herb Bush Party. Hlokomela is an award-winning HIV/Aids educational and treatment programme for workers and communities in the greater Kruger area, as well as across Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. The Herb Bush Party is held both to create awareness of the good work the organisation does in the community, and to raise funds to sustain Hlokomela’s herb garden.
Kapama joined the spectacular Hlokomela Herb Bush Party, held in early September, and each lodge contributed a spread of special dishes. The only criteria was that each dish - even the desserts - included herbs supplied by Hlokomela’s herb garden.
‘Going Green’ was Kapama’s theme, and the display table included recycled tin cans, brown glass bottles and solar glass lamps. Some of Kapama’s offerings included smoked mussels, Brie, bacon, basil and chopped chive tartlets; and goat cheese, thyme and honey cigars - with desserts of rosemary chocolate tart and lavender cinnamon buns, among others.
The Roots of Rhythm Dance Group and the extremely talented drummers from Southern Cross Schools were there to entertain the 200 guests, who sat around the roaring fires and danced to the rhythmic music, bush style.
There are three new editions to the Buffalo camp family: head chef, Vasti Wilson (centre); junior chef, Evidence Maile (left) and duty manager, Patricia Nomsa Mkansi (right).
The new head chef has been busying herself with breathing new life into the lunch menu, keeping up with trends for lighter, healthier dishes. Vasti’s also training the kitchen staff to prepare even more refined dishes, while honing their culinary techniques. Not to worry - all the old favourites and much-loved indulgent dishes for which Kapama is well known have been retained.
Evidence trained across all departments in the kitchen before becoming the new junior chef at Buffalo Camp. She’s an integral member of the kitchen team, with the potential to head up her own kitchen in the future.
Joining the front office management team as duty manager, Patricia is endowed with patience and a broad smile - both essential to the job. She takes her new duties in her stride, and no request from Kapama guests is too big or too small for her. Patricia has a keen eye for detail, and is superbly capable.
The season is changing, and so are the menus at Kapama’s lodges. Beef Wellington is an addition for spring and is a firm favourite. It’s named after the Duke of Wellington, who loved beef, truffles and mushrooms - and if you do too, then try our special Kapama Karula recipe at home.
Green initiatives and sustainable development are not new concepts at Kapama. The reserve has been going greener for quite a while - and this applies to all the lodges. Southern Camp, however, is leading the way with solar heating, inverter air conditioning and heat pump technology - not only at the lodge, but also at the staff accommodation. Most recently, a recycling operation has been established, and all Kapama’s lodges separate and recycle waste at the reserve’s dedicated recycling plant, in accordance with set recycling standards. Waste water is also being recycled for re-use.
When you meet Erasmus Mathews Lesele, you’d never guess his humble beginnings, that he used to walk 5 km barefoot to get to school, or that he speaks 13 languages. The second of five children, Erasmus was born in nearby Acornhoek in 1976. He started his working life as a floor assistant at Pep Stores, and then became a window dresser. One day at work, he was playing music from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) when Dr Oliver Mutamba stepped into the store. “He was from the DRC and asked if I understood the music,” says Erasmus. “I said no, I didn’t speak French. So he invited me to his home and taught me French on the weekends.”Read more...
It’s nearly three years since Kapama became super social and joined various social network platforms - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, among others. Facebook was first, and started as a modest page conveying information about the reserve. Now it boasts a massive 55 000-strong picture gallery and daily updates to over 15 000 followers. Then, in early 2012, Kapama launched its YouTube page, offering some astounding wildlife video clips online - 65 000 viewings were recorded in the first year alone. Last year, 2013, the wildly popular Lions of Kapama series started, with Southern Camp ranger Mike Duncan Powell. So far, there have been 12 episodes of remarkable lion footage...