The annual Sunset Serenade, hosted by the Counter-poaching unit of the Sanparks Honorary Rangers based in Gauteng, took place at Olifants Camp and surrounding areas. From 11 to 15 May musicians from the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra enthralled guests with selected pieces from Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Dvorak and Handel amongst others. Three concerts, "Summer and Songs", "Sunset Serenade" and "The Nature of Dance" were held at different settings, one of which had guests gather on the banks of the Letaba River.
Under open skies, with hippos leading the night sounds, this venue provided a perfect setting to Rossini's Galop, Mozart's Alla Turca and Handels Largo from 'Xerxes'. Master of Ceremonies, Kutlwano Masote, a freelance musician and a familiar voice on Classic fM occasionally added his cello renderings to that of Peta-Ann Holdcroft (also cello), Malane Hofmeyer-Burger (flute), Irene Tsoniff (violin), Marjan Vonk-Stirling (viola), Ivo Ivanov (violin), Rosemarie Kane (harp) and Jeremy Holdcroft (saxophone).
Hein Grobler, hospitality manager at Olifants Camp and ranger, Oupa Modirwa, tended to the logistics for the three-day event, while Nature's Group was commended for their service in the restaurant. Apart from the music, guests were brought up to speed about happenings in the Park by Louis Olivier, district ranger for the northern region, as well as other news from sponsor, Mazda Wildlife Fund.
"A big thank you to all our sponsors - Shell Ultra City Johannesburg M2, Amarula Lapa, Graham Besk Wines, Sanparks Travel Trade and Classic fM," says Margaret Stafford, organiser of the event. On Saturday evening, after the concert at the N'wamanzi lookout point on the Olifants River, Linda Hanekom was given recognition for attending every Sunset Serenade since its inception in 1999. Support for the Serenade, a fundraiser for counter-poaching in the Park, has grown steadily since the first one at Jakkalsbessie Camp. There was no concert in 2000 due to the floods in Kruger at the time. Last year the Serenade was held at Lower-Sabie.