Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal

Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal
Chanda Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal

Recently I was lucky enough to take a trip up to Kwa-Zulu Natal on the East coast of South Africa. The weather is always welcoming (even in winter) and the rolling green hills are never ending. 

An added bonus was that I was able to take the Fuji XT1 along to photograph the experience, compliments of Orms.

Travelling up to northern natal (from the airport) by road for two and a half hours brings you to a beautiful game lodge called Thanda, a private reserve that hosts the big five. Big five? Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. Four out of the big five are endangered so the opportunity to see them in the wild is a privilege.

I grew up visiting the bush with my family almost every year. These memories are very near and dear to my heart. Being in the wild and hearing the sounds of nature is incredible. The stars are unlike anything you have ever seen before and listening to the roar of lions at night is something that will stay with me forever.

Included in the visit to Thanda were two games drives a day, lead by a very knowledgeable team (tracker and ranger) who shared their intimate knowledge of the bush with us. From fauna and flora to tribal mythology of the region, it was incredible learning so much on a drive while taking in the surrounds.

The drives were catered with drinks and snacks, with a special stop included for sundowners overlooking the magnificent valley and the Ubombo mountains. 

The rooms at the tented lodge were absolutely incredible.

The ability of achieving five star luxuries from the humble beginnings of a hardwearing canvas structure is something of a wonder to me.

The trees surrounding the tent give you the feeling of solitude and reflection.  Coupled with a cup of tea, just sitting and soaking it all in was the ultimate relaxation!

The XT1 makes for a perfect travel companion. Small and compact this camera packs a punch. The silent shutter proved invaluable for capturing wildlife and I managed to catch even some of the wariest animals unaware! The body is robust and weatherproof which came in handy on the back of an open land rover. 

With interchangeable lenses there wasn’t a moment missed.

I enjoyed the fact that every time the camera came out; people assumed that I was shooting on film. It was a great conversation starter and it soon became clear that there is an overwhelming appreciation for the retrospective design and of course, an equal appreciation for the ease ofmodern digital functionality offered by the Fuji XT1.

Thanks to Orms and the XT1 - I captured the bush perfectly!

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/thanda-private-game-reserve-kwa-zulu-natal

Cream cheese and bacon Jalapeños

The one thing I am is proudly South African. I must admit I am not huge into sport but if we are playing I am there in support – love of the game or not. So I decided with it being the Rugby World Cup and The Springboks doing so well, that I needed to do one of my favourite snacks for watching the game. 

This is my version of a proudly South African Chilli Popper.  

If you are reading this and not in South Africa two things 1) you need to come visit because we are a beautiful country and 2) don’t panic, you can still make these with a few adjustments for what ever game you will be watching in the world! 

They are quick to make and you will love them because they are packed with flavour and bringing them out to the celebrations on a platter will make you the star of the day! Just make sure the beer is cold! 


serves 6

Ingredients: 

  • 12 large jalapeño’s- cut in half and pitted
  • 250 grams sweet chilli cream cheese
  • 1 packet of streaky bacon 
  • 250 grams crème fraiche 
  • 150 grams biltong dust (optional if you are not in South Africa) 
  • *Biltong – A south African cured meat, a lot like Beef Jerky  
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Instructions: 

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 

If you haven’t, cut your Jalapenos in half and remove the seeds (these are the spiciest part, so if you are feeling brave you can leave some in) 

Spoon in your cream cheese into the hallow of the Jalapeno 

Grab a piece of streaky bacon and wrap it around the filled jalapeños. You can secure the bacon with toothpicks. Just remind your guest to remove them before eating! 

Place them on your roasting tray and season them with salt and pepper. Not too much salt as the bacon is already salty. 

Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes and for the last 5 minutes put the grill on the make them golden on the top. 

While they are in the oven whisk together your crème fraiche and biltong powder. 

Serve the poppers fresh out of the oven with cold beer and dipping sauce! 

-Melissa

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/cream-cheese-and-bacon-jalapeos