Strawberry, champagne and mint jelly
With temperatures over 35 degrees Celsius serving guests with something cool is a challenge. For the first time ice cream has appeared on the menu after the creamy delight was carefully nurtured in the freezer for four days. Jelly is a favourite with grown ups and young ones. The strawberries come courtesy of Mr Veg 180km away, The champagne was meant for honeymooners (sorry, you snooze, you lose) and the mint is from our garden, picked before the pheasant could get to it.
Strawberry, champagne and mint jelly
Just for those who could not share in the festivities at Christmas time, here is the menu:
Starter: seared kudu carpaccio fillet with beetroot cheesecake
Main: Rosemary, garlic and olive marinated leg of lamb
Guava glazed gammon
Roasted baby potatoes
Spinach and cauliflower bake with coconut and pine nut crust
Butternut and aubergine roasted with basil and sundried tomato pesto
Dessert: dates and cherry phyllo parcels with spiced rum and honey
The Christmas tree Jacobus and Nishka decorated
An early morning game drive in the first week of 2015 revealed a picture of family life among the Western pride of lions. One of the four mature females revealed her lovable cubs to the delighted guests and proceeded to groom them for the keen photographers.
Aobokwe, one of the most loved Bushman trackers at Deception Valley Lodge because of his gentle spirit and sharp sense of humour, celebrated the festive season with a new member of his family. Aobokwe was blessed with his fourth child. Because of the importance of children in the lives of Bushmen Aobokwe will stay with his family for the first six weeks of the new arrival's life before returning to Deception Valley Lodge. His wife and three older children will remain in Ghanzi where the two eldest boys attend the local school.
The Kalahari night sky also celebrated the arrival of a new life and reminded us of the story of the wise men who followed the star many many years ago.
With the first showers of the new summer, Nishka celebrated her 24th birthday by ordering an icecream machine. Making the time honoured delight here in the sweltering heat turned out to be a major challenge. The first batch of banana and brandy icecream folated from fridge to freezer for four days before she finally discovered a cold enough nest for the desert to set: in the fridge of a guest's room!
The warthog is licking is chops in anticipation of the delicious brandy and banana combination.
Although October does not deliver many signs of spring here in the Kalahari - it is still too dry and extremely hot - the lodge is wearing a new coat. New linen and mosquito nets, new pastel pink, green and blue crockery, new cutlery, freshly painted wood and walls, all contribute to a fresher look to welcome summer guests.
A visit to Deception Valley Lodge would not be complete without experiencing a walk with the San (Bushmen). ‘Braam’ Badenhorst, one of the owners, grew up in the Kalahari with the San and several of his friends live on the reserve and are available to show guests the way they used to live and survive. Walk through a terrain that appears to the uninitiated to offer little in the way of sustenance, but is a treasure-trove of
fruits, berries, tubers, barks, herbs and flowers used in cooking, medicine, ceremonies and for a plethora of other purposes. All this before we turn to the mammals, birds, reptiles and insects that form part of the fascinating panoply of their desert world.
We are nearly in the middle of winter, but conditions are still very much like summer. Days are hot, and still plenty green around.
Gemsbok, Deception Valley
This Gnu came and checked us out while we were having sundowners!
Wildebeest at sunset, Deception Valley.
Deception Valley Lodge's extensive network of tracks make for perfect day and night driving terrain. The Kalahari sand offers excellent opportunities for tracking lion and leopard and where your guide can follow off road as this is a private game reserve.
Afternoon and night safaris in custom built game viewing vehicles afford visitors the chance to see a variety of different species which include the magnificient Kalahari lion, cheetah, leopard as well as giraffe and kudu. The elusive brown hyena has also been seen on occasion. Night safaris reveal reveal a fascinating world of nocturnal species. Deception Valley is also a bird lover's paradise.