coffee, Safari, Bush, Holidays in South Africa

The Garonga Diaries: Big Smoke to the Bush, Loraine Keeps Us Up to Date!

Dear Diary,

Loraine here! I am the Safari Camp Manager and recently returned from my long-extended six weeks of leave in the “big smoke” a.k.a Gauteng.  Let me tell you Gauteng was like the North Pole (not that I have ever been there, but I can imagine) in comparison to the welcoming warmth here in Limpopo. Gauteng is about a five and half hours’ drive from here. Although it is nice to return to civilization to see family, friends, and of course big malls that cater to your every wish. There is nothing quite like waking up in the bush with a cup coffee on my stoep (porch) admiring the bushbuck as they browse in the garden and having the running of monkeys on your roof as your morning alarm.

coffee, Safari, Bush, Holidays in South AfricaChameleon, Safari, friends

Nothing beats a coffee in the bush and you never know who will appear to keep you company! ©Loraine Weitsz

It has been great hearing what everyone has been up to! Although we are sadly saying goodbye to Sanlè (Administration Manager) and Elia (Operations Manager) this month, they recently got a puppy and who does not love puppies. Luna will be living her best bush life this month admiring the various wildlife from a distance of course.

Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, Luna already knows just how to use her ‘puppy-dog eyes’ to devastating effect! ©Loraine Weitsz

Now to catch up with everyone and see what they have been up to.


Sanlè has taken control of the admin once again as Bukani has left for a well-deserved rest. With month-end fast approaching our heels we are preparing for our monthly counts which always keeps us on our toes and put those maths lessons to good use – although I still haven’t used algebra in my whole adult life. Six weeks is quite some time to be away, and Sanlè has been mostly been focusing on catching up with emails and general admin and reminding herself that she is not on holiday anymore!

Sanlè enjoying being back at the helm! ©Loraine Weitsz


As Elia as is back also from his extended leave, he has been finding his feet by checking what everyone has been up to. The maintenance team have been collecting wood for the hot water boilers at the staff village and the main gate, a necessity especially now in the winter. They also fixed the fence around Bernie’s house – with the fence being down the local residents have been sneakily enjoying the succulent fruits of his garden as a mid-night snack. Elia has also been running through all the water purification systems to make sure they are in tip-top condition. The elephants have been up to their old tricks again as they pushed down the fire stand at Rhino pan, but not to worry as Albert and Fixon have been on the case yet again and everything is cleaned-up and fixed!


Dolphine and Damaris are still hard at work making sure that the lodge is ready for guests to return at any moment. They have been running the water weekly to make sure nothing unwanted gets stuck in the pipes, we are happy to report that everything is still running smoothly.


Lloyd has been busy making sure that the pools are still looking as inviting as ever. He has also been polishing the bar at boma – I think he is hinting that it is time to open again and that a few G&T’s are in order! In addition he has polished the Garonga sign once again, saying that it is time for guests to make their way back to us – I sure cannot wait to have you all back! He has also been appointed to the weekly shopping trip, which means driving all over Hoedspruit to do pick ups for everyone’s orders for the week.

Lloyd shows off his handy work hinting that he is ready to welcome guests back to Garonga! ©Loraine Weitsz


Virginia and Khensani have been spring cleaning the kitchen yet again! They also have been cooking for the contractors that we have on site. But enough of all the cleaning, I am sure you are wondering about the cake! A treat which I have been missing while on leave, this week we were treated to the ever delightful classic sweet and sour combination. Yes, you guessed it, the chocolate salted caramel with a popcorn garnish. I am happy to report that it tastes as mouth-watering as it sounds.

Cake, Safari, High Tea

Virginia shows us her spick and span kitchen and this week’s incomparable cake! ©Sophie Barrett

Sophie gave us an update below as to what has been happening on the safari team’s side, it sounds like they have been busy as usual, and I am wondering when it is going to my turn to try out the new breakfast braai!


The highlight of this week for the safari team was a trial run of the new breakfast braai that we are planning to introduce for guests when we can welcome them back. Working out timings, finalising the equipment needed and of course making sure everything is covid compliant. The idea is that guests will go on their morning game drive and part way through the drive their tracker will be dropped in the bush. About an hour later the guests will return to find their tracker with a steaming plate of bacon and fresh fire-fried eggs. Simplicity is key and there are few things more enjoyable than a hot fire-fried egg and bacon sarmie – as Johnson can confirm having immediately lined up for seconds!


In other news we have continued with our animal monitoring drives making sure no poachers have made it onto the reserve and that all our animals are safe and healthy. This Sunday on one of our twice weekly staff game drives we were lucky enough to come across a pair of mating lions! This was pretty exciting stuff, aside from being something unusual to see, as the male was not one of our existing dominant males but one of the challengers! This is a sure sign that our young challengers have their eyes set on the throne and that we will be seeing a change of kings in the reserve before too long and, if we are lucky, some new cubs too!


Bush clearing has continued with renewed vigor as the team have fought off the wintery morning chills with some highly enthusiastic road maintenance, and on the training side the team have been focussing on perfecting their chainsaw skills and improving their photography and computer skills. By the time we can welcome guests back we will have a squad of technowizards on our hands!

The Safari Squad, hard at work! ©Sophie Barrett


Finally, I am sure you are all wondering what I have been up to. As Marietjie has left us to go on leave I have taken over from her. Doing all the daily temperature checks and issuing of daily cleaning materials. I am still finding my feet but I am sure by the end of the week I will be back in the routine and ready for those monthly counts! I didn’t just come back with more clothes but also with some extra kg’s from all the home cooking so this means more laps on the airstrip too!

Loraine, happy to be back in the bush where the closest neighbours are elephants!

I hope that you have enjoyed this update and that you all have a fabulous weekend!