By Terry and Michele Stewart
Season’s Greetings from the Bucklands Team!
We are preparing for a wonderful Christmas dinner here at the Bucklands Lodge, our turkey and gammon have been bought and now we have the delightful gastronomic task of pondering what to cook and serve with our Christmas dinner! We will be placing our order for roast potatoes, and I’m sure everyone one will want to add their favourite favourite dish to the menu!
In the spirit of family, and the jolly season, we would like to thank all of our past guests of 2013, and, going all the way back to 2009 when we first opened our doors to guests for visiting Bucklands. It has been such a pleasure showing off our little piece of heaven to you! A lot has changed here at Bucklands in those four years, but every new birth (of animal and human variety) and every new season brings a sense of growth and change, and as the famous saying goes “The best is yet to come.” Wishing you and your families all a wonderful, safe and blessed Christmas season, and a successful and memorable 2014!
Bucklands Game News...
By Iain Stewart
Bucklands is a flurry of activity and excitement at the moment, brought about by all the new arrivals! Our Blesbuck babies were the first to arrive, followed closely by the Impala. I have noticed that when approaching family groups of Blesbuck that, more often than not, each mom has her fawn with her while the Impala fawns tend to join “nursery groups” and only go to their moms when they need to nurse of if there is a need of protection. I am left to wonder if baby Blesbuck are safer with their moms because their moms have an advantage of a pair of horns for protection, whereas the Impala females do not have horns and therefore “nursery groups” of Impala offer the group of young more protection than their hornless mothers?
Some birding news from the reserve is that we are seeing new baby weavers emerging, which then means that the Boomslang, which are superb tree climbers, are also more active as they cannot possibly pass up an opportunity of “fast food” in the form of baby weavers.
Our Guinea Fowl are beginning to pair off in search for ideal nesting sites. Once the chicks reach a month old the flock re-joins and this offers the new chicks, and well as the older birds, protection in numbers.
The Jackal have also pupped, and we are seeing plenty of family groups in our trail camera pictures.
Recent Guest Comments
“The most amazing people to be around! Excellent hospitality… the most yummiest, mouth-watering food and immense love, care and innovation. Love you guys!! Hope you all reach the highest point of success!! Will definitely be back!!"
Surabli Malesha – India
“Super lunch and fantastic hospitality! Thank you”
Dr Eichhoff and Staff – Grahamstown
“I had a very good and special time, thanks!! Very good attention!! Kiss from Argentina!!“
Sonia – Argentina
“Most amazing time. Thanks for everything, will definitely be back soon!"
Lee and Jamie – Grahamstown
"Thank you for, as always, the great hospitality"
Candice and Warren – Grahamstown
“Peaceful, restful, great food. Most enjoyable as usual”
Phill and June McDougall – Grahamstown
“Another amazing stay. Thanks for everything.”
Andrew and Louise Todd - Grahamstown
A wonderful weekend – amazing staff!! Thank you Craig, Amy and Yolande. Wonderful meals! See you again!!"
Sue, Peter, Aimee and Craig – East London
Matt and Amy Dell, who have been at Bucklands for two and a half years and two years respectively, have decided to spread their wings and relocate to Sedgefield this December. Matt has been hands on managing the reserve side of Bucklands for the past two years, and Amy has managed the Bucklands Lodge and Bucklands Luxury Tented Camp efficiently and effortlessly. Matt and Amy will be missed here at Bucklands, but we wish them well in their new venture down south! Thank you both for your spirit, spark and dedication towards the growth of our business!
Yolande, as many of you know, has been a ranger at Bucklands for two years now. Yolande started here at Bucklands as a student from NMMU and has successfully juggled studying part time and working full time at Bucklands during that time! Yolande has recently taken over the reins from Amy, and with her final BTech studies starting next year, we know that she will succeed at all she sets her heart to! Congratulations Yolande on passing your studies this year and to your new position of Lodge Manager at Bucklands!
Did you Know...?
A tortoise does not breathe like other animals because its hard shell cannot expand to inhale. It inhales by contracting muscles to enlarge the body cavity and exhales by pulling in its legs to reduce the body cavity, and by contracting internal muscles to force the organs against the lungs, forcing air out.
Chocolate and Coconut Homemade Body Scrub
I’ve been searching the internet looking for cute and crafty gifts to give this season, and my searches resulted in a recipe that isn’t one for eating but rather a recipe for a gift. This recipe for body scrub can be used as gifts placed in little jars and decorated, or you can make this body scrub for yourself which leaves your skin feeling exfoliated and soft!
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (in solid form)
1/3 cup almond oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
a few drops of coconut extract or essential oil
Add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix until combined. I like to mix with the back of a spoon until the coconut oil all breaks down and no chunks remaining. If desired, top the scrub with a few chocolate chips or cacao nibs before packaging.
This rub is intended for use on the body and hands, and not for the face as the sugar is too abrasive for the delicate facial skin.
Other varieties to try – lemon grass and rosemary sprigs (eliminate cocoa powder and substitute with a few drops of lemon grass oil and bits of rosemary sprigs), and vanilla and brown sugar (eliminate cocoa powder and substitute with vanilla oil)
Addo Flightless Dung Beetle
We get pretty excited when we see Dung Beetles here at Bucklands! Since the introduction of our Rhino and Buffalo’s we have seen a marked increase in the sightings of Addo Flightless Dung Beetles. Dung beetles may feed on rabbit, baboon, various antelope, human, ostrich and baboon dung/faeces however, buffalo dung is preferred for breeding.
Females produce only one off-spring per breeding cycle, usually one but sometimes two per year so fecundity is therefore low. When breeding, the female removes a portion of dung from the pile, pats it onto a ball and rolls it away, from 7 to 80m, depending on when she finds a suitable site. Unlike other dung beetles, the male trails her by a few centimeters and does not help roll the ball. When the ideal site is decided on, the female excavates the hole and the male then positions himself on top of the dung ball and sinks down with it, the depth varying from 17 to 37 cm. Mating then takes place and the egg is deposited. The male returns to the surface and the female remains with her brood throughout the early (larval) development. This is critical for the survival of the larva as she constantly clears away fungus that develops on the outside of the dung ball. The development time from egg to adult ranges from 120 to 140 days. The young adult then feeds for another 50 to 65 days before becoming sexually mature.
It’s an amazing feat nurturing just one Addo Flightless Dung Beetle, so please do not drive over mounds of dung when driving through any of our Southern African reserves or protected areas, as you may squash a dung beetle or, less critically but still importantly, you may squash valuable food and reproductive material of our precious dung beetles!