Cliff and Trish Jackson – on behalf of the Owners Looking back at our 2018 Buffalo Thorn year, we have to agree that it has been eventful: filled with exciting successes; some challenges as well as the inevitable changes; not to mention the amazing sightings enjoyed by our fabulous guests! One highlight that is definitely worth mentioning again is the Sanlam Top Destination Award! What an incredible achievement! Thank you to all our guests for your patronage and for voting for us. We could not have done it without you, quite literally! Another highlight is the appointment of Dr Alan Bougardt, a Buffalo Thorn shareholder, to the Board of Trustees of the Home Owners Association of Black Rhino. He comes with a long history of animal protection and rehabilitation. He initiated the Leadstrong Institute for International Species Recovery (LIISR) which is a global programme focussing on the conservation and rehabilitation of injured and endangered animals. Alan, an avid businessman and director at Leadstrong, develops initiatives to ensure that there will be a future for species like the black and white rhino and the African pangolin. Projects include the building of a brand new rhino orphanage, empowering surveillance and anti-poaching units, and various community education programmes. Thank you Alan, we know that you are going to be an invaluable source of wisdom and knowledge to the HOA. The fires, both in the Pilanesberg and on Black Rhino Reserve, were some of the challenges from which the veld is happily recovering. However more rain is essential to restore water levels in the dams (and for the sake of our visiting hippo)! Sightings around the Lodge last week included the big five: elephant; buffalo; rhino; lion and leopard! And the cheetahs have been spotted back on Black Rhino.
Of course one of the changes has been saying goodbye to Jacques and Nerina after four years at Buffalo Thorn Lodge. They have relocated to Mbombela / Nelspruit where Jacques is working for a foreign company taking international guests on trips through the Kruger National Park. They are living next to a school which is convenient for their son, Rheinhardt, to attend in 2019. We wish them well in their new venture. We have welcomed our new management team John and Babs who have brought with them their own special abilities and insights. Guests who visited the Lodge earlier this month, learnt some interesting facts from John: that tortoises eat hyenas’ white scats (from a diet of mainly bones), to strengthen their shells; and that if a zebra’s mane is not standing up but floppy, it indicates a lack of condition. As owners we say a big thank you to all the staff for their dedicated service in making sure our guests are well looked after. We wish you and all our enthusiastic guests a very special, blessed Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and happy 2019!