“I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream” Vincent Van Gogh
As predators patrolled the banks of the evergreen Sand River and birds began to roost in the trees above, the camps ignited in celebration of Christmas eve with hues of red and gold. Laughter, smiles and family gathered in each of the camps.
With lots to prepare, the kitchen was buzzing early to avoid the midday heat that was looming for a typical Christmas Eve day in the Lowveld. This, our first Christmas in the new Londolozi kitchen was very exciting and with the carols on and chefs singing, so the day unfolded.
Souffles were weighed out, soup was made, salmon and asparagus prepared, chalmar fillets massaged with homemade masala spice rub then skewered and grilled, all while Pastry Chef Liveness Mgiba lovingly made the Amarula Panacottas and honeycomb for the dessert, and portioned the creamy pistachio and cranberry fudge for the tables.
Golden lights tied in the set pieces for the night and created an ambiance that energised the mood of the evening.
Tables laden with copper bowls of cherries, pistachio & cranberry fudge, red roses and raw wood, glistened with candle light. Colours of the bush tied in with hues of red & gold created the theme through all five camps
Executive Chef Anna Ridgewell together with the Tree Camp Sous Chef Thoko Ngobeni and Nomsa Madubula brace themselves before the celebrations begin.
The annual Londolozi Christmas Trees. This year the giraffes wore red and gold.
It truly is something different that can have an impact on it all. A little magic can take you a long way. The set piece for the evening.
Granite boulders nestled in the Sand River provided the perfect Christmas Eve view from Granite Camp Deck. Dramatic skies, elephants below tied into a magical evening that unfolded.
David Dampier, Will Ford, Duncan MacLarty GM and Chris Kane-Berman came together to taste Granite Camp Manager Victoria Hughes Christmas Cocktail – The Parma-Granite which resulted as the winning cocktail of the evening.
Varty Camp Butlers Midah Tshiseve, Colbert Mdluli and Phindile Mazini place their Christmas wreaths on their heads and with big smiles are ready to welcome their guests.
Varty Camp Manager Tippy Brewitt and Greg Minters-Brown ready to mix up the Christmas Cocktails
The ranging team had another incredible magical Christmas Eve safari with amazing sightings under beautiful starry skies. James Souchon, Alfie Mathebula, Nick Sims and Guy Brunskill
The Londolozi Team amplified the magic of the evening, by customising their camps to create tailor made evenings throughout.
Varty Camp Manager Phil Selwyn-Smith shakes up their Cocktail which came in as a close contender to Granite Camp.
Theres no better way to start a festive evening than a selection of carefully thought of cocktails. A splash of vodka, champagne, cranberry, elderflower, berries and fresh sprig of rosemary was all that was needed to cheers the start of the evening
Anna’s three-cheese souffle with a fondue sauce and micro greens was the second starter of the evening
Slow Roasted Tomato, Basil & Coconut Soup with a Caprese Toast and micro basil – deliciously fresh for a hot evening!
Seared Salmon with vanilla dressed fresh asparagus, avocado & tomato salsa with a fresh squeeze of lime
Last touches of prawn and the dish is complete. A fresh selection, beautifully paired with some of South Africa’s finest wines.
Dining worked to perfection. Ingredients carefully hand selected to tie the evening together, generate smiles and laughter and what more to do that than with finishing the evening off with a deliciously smooth Amarula panacotta with fresh berries and honeycomb.
Wishing you all a wonderfully magic festive season and always remember a little magic can take you a long way…
Thanks Marinda – hope you had a Merry Christmas