Nkurru Newsletter – October 2009
A few days late but here goes with this month’s newsletter!
Adele and I have just returned to the lodge after a two week break. Apart from a few days in the Magalies we spent most of the time in and around Johannesburg. Even though there is no doubt that living and working in the African bush is amazing, it is still great to get back to the city every now and then. Movies, coffee shops and restaurants, all the things we cannot get in the bush, make for a lot of entertainment. The best part is that we can do everything on our own time and don’t have to contend with traffic and some of the other necessary evils that city life brings with it. Also test drove a new car… Hmmm… soon! 🙂
It is however always nice returning to the lodge especially as you can literally see the bush change day by day and the African sights and smells are even more pronounced than normal. With around 70mm of rains so far this season the bush is starting to thicken up as the new green shoots are visible everywhere and, as you can imagine, the grazers are loving it. This not only means that the predators will become increasingly difficult to spot but from an operational point of view we are doing a lot more bush clearing ‘on-the-go’. The trimming of shrubs around the pathways and the natural canopy above the deck has now been promoted to weekly tasks rather than a once off job every couple of weeks. As long as we stay on top of things the plants and shrubs around the lodge grounds will get greener and thicker without taking over. So far so good.
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As you will recall, a few weeks ago Andrew circulated an email asking for feedback on whether Nkurru will be operating as a commercial lodge before, during and after the World Cup next year.
Initial feedback has been very positive in this regard but with time running out we need to seriously look at and try and finalize this matter. Even with around 7 months left before kick off there is a huge amount that would need to be done should we decide to go ahead. The planning and subsequent implementation of the various ‘Nkurru 2010‘ projects would have to start as early as December this year and unfortunately cannot wait until the CapEx meeting early next year.
Next Year’s World Cup will run from 11 June 2010 to 11 July 2010 but safari accommodation for two weeks before and two weeks after the event will still be in high demand and with Madikwe being a malaria free area will make Nkurru a very attractive destination.
There are many factors that we would need to consider but before we jump the gun we need to, as shareholders and management of Nkurru, answer a few questions. To that end we would greatly appreciate it if you could email us your feedback and thoughts on the following questions to get the ball rolling.
- Should Nkurru operate as a comercial lodge during the World Cup?
- Would 1 June 2010 to 25 July 2010 be acceptable as possible dates?
- What are your main concerns, if any, with regards to operating as a commercial lodge?
By planning well in advance, operating the lodge can prove to be very viable form a financial point of view for all parties involved but should we decide to go ahead we need to start planning immediately. We have already looked at numerous points that would need to be addressed but we can look at this in a a lot more detail as soon as we have feedback from everybody.
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The Nkurru Website
The Nkurru website has been running very well and is about 90% complete. Sharing the newsletters and other updates is a lot easier than having to email them to everybody. We have also created a Twitter account for the lodge which makes it possible to do much more regular, shorter updates. When you log on to the Nkurru site you can see the Twitter updates on the left of the screen under ‘Nkurru News’. The nice thing about these updates is that they can be made from a pc or cellphone so updates can be made anywhere, anytime and all you have to do to follow the updates is to visit the Nkurru site!
The various pages on the site will be updated during the next few days and this includes adding images of the staff to their individual pages.
If you have any interesting images from Madikwe that you would like to share you can email them to us so that we can include them on the site. The same goes for video clips and you can either send this to us on disk or email us a web link form where we could embed the video on the site.
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As you will recall we had a maintenance week a few weeks ago. This week was quite unexpected but very welcome and here are some of the major projects we were able to complete during this time.
- Anthills – After sealing them. we painted both ‘anthills’ (TV room and kitchen). The colour is still the same but we used normal paint rather than cemcrete and it looks great.
- TV Room – We painted the inside of the TV room… with great skill and determination!
- Outside Furniture – We fixed, sanded and treated all the outside furniture on the deck.
- Reed Bed – After completion we used rocks, shrubs and large lead woods to hide the cement base and make the reed bed fit into it’s natural environment. Looks great!
- Store Room – The store room which we created under the main deck was unpacked, cleaned and repacked.
A lot of other smaller projects, which we don’t really have time for when there are guests at the lodge, was also completed and the maintenance week gave us a chance to get back on top of the little things.
Other than maintenance week everything has been going well and apart from the occasional geyser, pump and pipes it has been going quite well. We have already started looking forward to next year and some of the projects we would like to sink our teeth into but we will wait for more clarity on the World Cup matter mentioned above before finalizing these. We have already received a couple of items from shareholders that we have added to a preliminary CapEx list for next year so if you have any thoughts and / or suggestions please email the to us.
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The above image is one of the last ones I got before going on leave. The Kgala males have still been hanging around between Vleisfontein and Elephant Boma and they meet up with the Mika pride every now and then. Seeing them all together is great as 11 lions together make for great sightings and awesome photographic opportunities. Other lion updates:
- Tshola-Mateya – They have been hanging around in the Tau concession and wander down to Inkwe Pan every now and then. Still keeping their distance from the Kgala.
- Etali & Youngsters – Also hanging around in the north-western corner of the reserve with the occasional visit to Tlou Dam.
- Sereti Males – They have been running scared since the Tshola-Mateya coalition moved into the area but hanging around the northern Inselberg area.
- Morati Males – Almost always around Tholo Dam.
The breakaway pack, who were denning on the northern fence line is still hanging around the Derdepoot Gate area but now that the youngsters are growing up they are moving around more and more. The image on the right was taken almost three weeks ago as the pack was running on the fenceline, moving east away from Mooigenoeg base
The pale male, who has been named Sepoko (meaning ghost), is still around the lodge. He was seen two evenings ago moving across the road and heading towards Kukama. Good to know that he is still in the area.
The one-eyed male has, since this morning, been involved in quite a few rumors. Will update the site as soon as we know exactly what is going on but apparently he was found dead, close to Buffalo Ridge, with a broken jaw. It will be very sad if this is in fact the case and shows just how cruel nature can be. More on this soon.
Ellies, Rhino and Buffalo
Apart from buffalo, we have been getting fantastic sightings of the big guys. Elephants in particular have been treating us to some amazing sightings as they try and cool down in any water they can find. White rhino have also been quite frequently spotted out on drive and even Hansa, the black rhino that hangs around Inkwe Pan, has been seen on a regular basis. The large herd of buffalo was last spotted around Phiri hill so they havebeen moving around quite a bit making it difficult to keep track of them.
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Wildlife Photography on Photo-Africa
Photo-Africa has been completely redesigned and has been updated on a regular basis over the last few weeks. Here are a couple of posts you might find interesting:
- The Raptor Guide – A short review of this amazing new field guide.
- No Stopping for Lions – A short review of this easy to read book
- The Goal is to Improve, Not Change – Thoughts on processing your digital images.
- A Thought on Ethics – Thoughts on wildlife photography.
- You Have to See This – Some amazing wildlife images!
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Wildlife. Photography And everything in between.
The new edition of my book is finally ready to be printed. The book, which you have all probably seen at the lodge, has been updated and now consists of more than 200 images spread over a 198 pages. During the next 10 days I will be placing an order for the new book. If you would like to order a copy let me know as soon as possible. Since the books are printed and shipped from the US (yes it is still cheaper!) it is easier ot order in bulk now rather than to order single copies at a later stage. The book is available as a softcover, hardcover with wraparound sleeve or as a printed hardcover. Prices for the book vary from depending on which format you choose.
If you would like to order a copy please email me as soon as possible with how many books you would like, and in which format, and I will send you more details.
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Thats it for now. Make sure to check the site regularly as we add new posts or short updates. When you have a moment please send us your thoughts on ‘Nkurru 2010‘ and any other lodge related matters you would like to discuss.
As always we looking forward to hearing from you.
Gerry, Adele & the Nkurru Team