When our President declared a state of disaster and the Covid 19 made its presence known throughout the world, we took a very difficult decision to close Lukimbi for the month of April until things settled down. Little did we anticipate how long it would take for “things to settle down “.
So far, the lodge has been closed since 27 March but that hasn’t meant that everything has come to a grinding halt, certainly not for Sean, Shelley and Reece who were the only people left on the property. Level 5 was very difficult for them, they had to see to the closure of the lodge the last staff members left on the afternoon of the 25th March to ensure they managed to return to their homes in time for the lockdown to commence. All windows and doors were locked and secured and all the furniture was covered to protect it making the public areas rather ghostly.
With everything closed, the only part of the lodge left open and working was the manager’s office, and the fridges and freezers. However, mother nature then decided that life was too quiet for the family and she unleashed a mini tornedo on the night of the 26th March which tore through the concession,
In the space of fifteen minutes, trees had been uprooted, roofs had been damaged and walk ways smashed. The damage was fairly extensive and Sean was alone to try and clear up the mess left behind. – what a way to start lockdown.
Although through the doom and gloom, as time passed they had to check the concession to ensure there were no issues, and have been blessed with a number of glorious sightings, including the various wonderful general game Lukimbi has to offer, but a beautiful sighting of a Female cheetah with 3 cubs on Lukimbi Plains, and the heyana’s were back at their den site, and as curious as ever.
Once level 4 was introduced, life became a bit more bearable. We were able to bring in 7 other members of staff, And so the repairs and maintenance of the whole lodge commenced.
Since then our maintenance team made up of Stranger, Doctor and Sipho, Arie, Cindy and Kaitlyn have been really busy, not only did they have to clear all the broken trees, from across boardwalks, they have been able to get some vital maintenance done in areas, not always so easy to overhaul while guests are in camp.
Cindy and Kaitlyn have spent the last 3 weeks busy in the kitchen, giving it a complete makeover, sanding, repairing and repainting almost all of the kitchen areas, even the fridges have had a new touch of paint to give them a new lease of life…. A job well done ladies…
The tree over the boardwalk and those snapped in half in front of the rooms, proved a challenge to be moved, but with the heavy machinery and with Reece’s supervision, another job well done and was a good workout for all those involved.
Although we haven’t allowed them to stop there, we’ve so far managed to give the main lodge pool area an overhaul, and this is almost done with the decks, all being fixed up, and re varnished to make them look as good as new again. Now the project to scrubbing the pool itself is starting in earnest…. Watch this space…
With all the hard work going on around the lodge, there has been some down time and bonding of the staff, they have been able to go on some drives to check the concession which need to be done on a regular basis to ensure there are no problems, and a perfect opportunity for those staff members that don’t ordinarily get to enjoy the location they work in as much as others.
A friendly game of cricket was had, and Kaitlyn and Arie proved to be very handy with a bat, and to finish the night off a nice social braai was enjoyed by all.
There has been a constant stream of visitors, obviously curious as to why there were no guests and very little activity around the grounds. The elephants were the first to arrive. They stood across the river looking and watching what was happening in the lodge.
As the days passed and the concession has gotten drier, without much rain for some time the next visitors were a large herd of buffalo coming down to drink at the river and then George the resident hippo made his return to the lodge River… and to admire the lilies in there too. An old friend, the leopard tortoise who has lived in grounds for a long time, came up on to the lounge deck to admire the view and to check if anything was being served in the dining room.
Even the elephants were back at the entrance gate waiting for our guests to admire them.
The Lukimbi team along with them are waiting for the day we can welcome our much-missed guests again in the not too distant future, until that time we hope you are staying safe….