Nkurru Newsletter – September 2009

Hi!

So here it is, the first monthly Nkurru Newsletter to be posted on the Blog.

Lodge-Waterhole

Sunrise as seen from the Nkurru deck.

As mentioned in the email we sent out there is still a lot of changes and updates that I want to make to the site.  Some of these include a page for each staff member, photo gallery of the lodge (when I get a chance to shoot it) and of course regular updates and images from Nkurru and Madikwe.  Make sure to check back often as these and other additions go live on the site.

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Sundowners at the amphitheatre

Things at the lodge have been going well and, as mentioned by all guests, it remains a truly special holiday destination.  Apart from the spectacular game viewing that has become synonymous with Madikwe, it is the time spent at the lodge that makes it unique and memorable.

Is it not the small things that makes the time spent at the lodge stand out?

The sunrises from the deck.  The comfortable and understated elegance of the main lodge.  Even though everybody ‘complains’ about it, eating too much thanks to Gabrielle and Adele (everything in excess right?).  The Nkurru waterhole that has become a veritable theatre of wildlife.  Sundowners as watch the sun set over the Ineslbergs.  The call of hyenas while sitting around the camp fire.  Having to not feel that you have to go on every single drive and just enjoy the lodge.  All of these things, and the fact that you always have the lodge to yourself, sets Nkurru apart and makes for a truly personal African experience.

A great deal of last month’s newsletter focused on maintenance related projects at the lodge so for this edition lets look at some other happenings at the lodge.  Will picjk up on all the maintenances update during the month and in next months newsletter.

One of the most discussed topics while at the lodge, apart from the animals and what’s for dinner, is photography.  Combined with wildlife it makes for a very addictive and time consuming hobby.  I reckon that on every vehicle driving around a game reserve there must be at least three digital cameras.  I have said this before but if I had one Rand for every image that gets taken in Madikwe each day I would be a very happy person.  Now one of the benefits of having the lodge to yourself is the freedom to work any given sighting to find the best position to shoot from and the complete luxury of having the vehicle to yourself.

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Photographing lions.

Getting to know your camera and taking time to look for the best shots will not only leave you with better reminders and images of your trip but will also add a whole new dimension to each drive.  Ultimately you will start seeing even the most boring animal as a potential photographic subject which means that you will never have a quiet drive.  There is always something to photograph.

One of new pages I will be adding to this site is a gallery where you will be able to upload the images from your visit to Nkurru.  More on this soon but if at this stage you have any images you would to add email them to me at the lodge.   We are also now able to embed video on this site so if you have any interesting videos shot during your visits to Nkurru let me know.  Another great way of sharing sightings!

Along with the above galleries, and in conjunction with Photo-Africa, I have been working on a number of photographic short courses specifically aimed at wildlife photography.  During the next few months I might be using some of the drives at Nkurru to test drive the notes and various exercises from these workshop type courses but more on this a little later in the year.  Let me know if you are keen to give something like this a bash next time you visit Nkurru.

Also along the photography line of things, we are in the process of doing a Nkurru cookbook.  This exciting  little project is still in the planning phase but we have already started looking at certain recipes that we want to include.  Adele will be working with Gabrielle in putting the recipes together and as time goes we will be photographing all the dishes and compiling book from there.  If there are any specific dishes you have enjoyed at Nkurru which you would like to see in the book let us know.  The more input we have the better.  Will keep you posted as things develop on this one.

Now as we will be able to do a lot more updates on wildlife and interesting sightings through this site we are going to end off this newsletter with a number of  slightly different sightings and images from the last few weeks.

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Jackal sleeping.

On a windy morning drive a few days ago we found this jackal sleeping right out in the open.  Unusual yes but not completely out of the ordinary.  Sat watching her for a while when suddenly magic happened.  From a hole not more than 10 meters from us we saw four little heads pop up.

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Young jackal pups.

Even though we bumped into Wild Dog as we drove out the lodge, on this particular morning these four little guys were the highlight of the day!  They had cute written all over them and apart from the occasional heads popping up, they were quite skittish.    I’m sure the strong gusts of wind did not help but now that we know where they are we will most definitely be going back to sit and watch these little youngsters.  If you are heading out to Nkurru during the next few weeks you might get a chance to see these youngsters.  Great sighting!!

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The Nkurru Barbet.

We are going to have to name this little guy.  Before every morning drive, while we are having coffee, this Crested Barbet and his mate takes over the deck.  After chasing all the starling and other birds away they come and keep us company.  They have become so comfortable with the people around the deck that on some mornings they will literally eat out of your hand.  The bird life is becoming very ‘alive’ around the deck but at this stage these to barbets are still taking centre stage.

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Sable photographed with iPhone.

The sable that roams the ridges around the lodge is still around.  During the last week I have seen him on three different occasions.  On this particular occasion I was even able to get a shot of him on my iPhone.  Reckon it must be some kind of first but still great to see this beautiful guy around Madikwe.

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Adele and chameleon.

I shot the above image as we were driving from the Wonderboom Gate back to the lodge.  The chameleon was very slowly crossing the road in their forward-back-swaying motion.  They are always great to see but it is very sad to see the number of chameleons that get hit by cars.  When next you drive to the lodge please make sure to take it easy and keep your eyes open for these little guys.

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iPhone Application - Sasol e.Birds

During the last few months I have noticed that there have been quite a few shareholders and guests who are using an iPhone.  If you have an iPhone  you have to check out the new Sasol e-Birds of Southern Africa application.  It has all the information you would find in the Sasol field guide but you can also listen to the various calls, compare birds and work through a series of questions to try and identify difficult species.  I just downloaded this app and am loving it!  Nice one to have on your iPhone when you visit Madikwe again.  To purchase and download the application visit the iTunes store and search for Sasol birds.  Easy as that!

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First rains in Madikwe.

This is the view from the deck at 06h00 this morning.  Yes, the first decent rains of the season has arrived.  As I am writing this we are sitting on about 30mm for the last 24 hours and the skies are still pretty dark around Madikwe so hopefully some more rain coming.  The rains are very welcome but, as you know, can cause havoc with game drives.  If you are going to be visiting Madikwe during the rainy season remember… bring something to read or do for those rainy African days.

Now we could not end the newsletter on such a wet and somber note so one more image to finish up with.

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Rain clouds over the Inselbergs.

The above image was taken at Nik’s View on the saddle a few days ago as the rain clouds started moving in.  Fantastic spot and with clouds and sunsets… never the same.

The ‘Did you Know’ feature from the previous newsletters will be posted during each month as a stand alone post on the site.  Also remember that, apart from the images and videos you can send us, you can comment on the newsletters and other updates we will be posting as each month goes by.  Simply scroll to the bottom of each post and use the link to add your comments and suggestions!

So until next time, we look forward to hearing from you!

Lodge-Waterhole

Sunrise from the Nkurru deck.

Until next time.

Gerry, Adele and the Nkurru Team