Nkurru Newsletter – April 2010

April is a fantastic time of year in the bush.  Every morning brings a chilly reminder that winter is on it’s way but the days are still warm enough for the pool to be enjoyed.

Nkurru Game Lodge

If you have been to Madikwe during the last few weeks you will know that there has been a lot of rain.  Even though it is quite unexpected, the late rains is very welcome and many of the watering holes have been filling up very nicely.  Tlou Dam is lookig fantastic for this time of year and even Inkwe Pan is  completely full again.  Great to see.

The only negative, but this is being completely selfish, is that the waterhole at the lodge has not been as busy as normally but we have still had a nice procession of game including elephant, lions and pretty much any plains game you could think of.

CapEx 2010

Since wrapping up all the discussions around CapEx we have been completing and ticking off many of the items on the list.  These include:

  • Annual Service of Fire Fighting Equipment
  • Service of both Generators
  • New duvets and towels
  • New Hot Box and Flasks
  • New tires for Fire Cart
  • New pots and pans for the kitchen
  • New torches for rooms
  • New set of slip covers for dining room chairs
  • New set of covers for outside furniture pillows
  • New coffee table for the outside lounge area
  • Upgrade of some of the wooden screens around the lodge
  • New chest freezer for lodge
  • New stretcher

At this stage we have a Maintenance Week planned for the week starting 28 May 2010 during which time we will be taking care of a lot of the larger items on our CapEx list such as the combing of the roofs, swimming pool, decks and some of the smaller building projects.  Up until then we will be fitting in smaller projects wherever we can.

Game Viewer

Since the shareholder’s meeting we have been liaising with various Toyota dealerships with regards to trading in our Land Rover on a new Land Cruiser.  The reality… not too much demand for second hand Land Rover Defender gem viewing vehicles.  Even as a trade in many of the dealers are not willing to accept our current vehicle.  Persistence, however, pays off and we are not getting a bit more interest.  Really pushing hard on this one as we want to try and get this sorted as soon as possible.  The conversion of the vehicle is not the problem and we can have that done in less than two weeks.  The big problem is just actually getting the vehicle.  If you have any contacts or know of anybody that is looking for a second hand game viewer please let us know at the lodge.  Soon…

Nkurru Rilfe License

As you by now know, we have received a faxed copy of our lodge accreditation to use a weapon for business purposes.  Still waiting for the hard copy but we can go ahead with the final step in the whole rifle saga.  The last hurdle is now to apply for a rifle license, something I am truly hoping to get sorted out as soon as possible because I am not sure there is too much sense of humor left for this whole debacle.  We have all our license application documents ready to go and as soon as Inspector Havenga, who is in charge of all firearms related issues, is back from leave on 3 May.  So, a few weeks of calm before the (hopefully last) storm!  Close… so close!

Wildlife & Nature

Kgala at Nkurru Waterhole

The image above shows one of the Kgala males walking past the Nkurru waterhole a few morning ago.  Yeah, the Kgala males.  These two big boys from the South have been doing a bit of a walkabout in what we can only think is a bit of a ‘property shopping’.

Kgala Male on Wonderboom

The two Kgala walked all the way past the waterhole, continued on to Wonderboom and then headed west towards Bush House.  The next morning we found their tracks all the was at the junction of Tswene West & Tswene South form where they headed back south towards Vleischfontein.   This is about as far north as these two beautiful lions have gone and it was great to see them around the lodge.  Waking up to the roars of a serious male coalition is one of the moats fantastic safari experiences anybody could wish for.

As of this morning the two Kgala males are back in the south where we saw them with the Tshabalala females and the five Maropeng youngsters.  With Parks Board having called a halt to all lion removals, not sure why yet, the lion sightings have been phenomenal!  Yes, yes, there is the whole ecological impact and all that but damn it’s nice seeing these guys so often! 😉

The Tshola Mateya coalition is still operating in the north of the park but due to all the rain we have not been able to get up there to view them.  Hopefully more info on these guys next month.

The two Matusi youngsters popped up at Vlesichfontein waterhole a few days ago where they were found on two wildebeest kills.  With the fences and old ruins around the watering hole their is not much escape for any general game that gets cornered in there.  We sat watching the two youngters as the sun went down and ended up with some amazing night shots.

Matusi Youngster

Madikwe’s icons, the wild dogs, have been in and around the Wonderboom Node for almost two months now.  This has afforded us the oportunity to get some amazing sightings both at the lodge and on drive.

Wild Dogs in Madikwe

I shot the above image about two weeks ago as we were on our way back to the lodge.  We spent the whole morning looming for the dogs which was last seen on the Southern Inselberg.  As we were heading back to the lodge, having decided to try again in the afternoon, we bumped into the dogs next to our borehole on Diperoro as they were finishing up an impala they killed no more than 5 minutes earlier.   We are still not sure whether it was the large male impala that has been hanging around the lodge since January but judging on the size it looks like it might just have been him.  However, his spot at the waterhole was very quickly filled by a slightly younger male.

With temperatures changing quite a bit now there has be a huge amount of snake activity at and around the lodge as all the reptiles are starting to look for a place to estivate during winter.  In our first week back from leave we have removed 6 puff adders and 2 spitting combras from the lodge grounds.  Most of the snakes are quite docile but please make sure to keep your eyes open when you are next at the lodge.  I shot the following image of one of the puffies we removed earlier today.

Puff Adder removed from Nkurru

Yes, I was flat on my stomach. 😉

That’s about that for this month.  Next month we will have a full update on the World Cup and all the what’s, how’s and why’s but please shout if you have any questions at this stage.

If you have a few moments and would like to see more wildlife and nature photography make sure to pop in at Photo-Africawhich I update every weekday with new images, stories and photography tips and tricks.  It might be a week or so late, but if you are looking for a free desktop wallpaper for your Mac or PC, click here to select one of three of my more recent image.

You will see that I have changed the Twitter feed on the left of the screen to run my own feed rather than one from the lodge.  It was becoming too much to run two accounts so decided to rather include my own Twitter feed which will give you a lot more info, links and images.  If you are on Twitter you can follow me by clicking here.  If you have no idea what that all means – don’t worry about it!  🙂

One more images as we say goodbye until next month.

Madikwe Sunset

Finally, congratulations to Godfrey who has become a father!  His new boy, Kagiso, was born last week and the proud dad has not stopped smiling all week.  Hopefully we will be able to post some pics when Godfrey comes back from leave.

As always we look forward to hearing from you!

Warmest regards,

Gerry, Adele & the Nkurru Team