Nkurru Newsletter – July 2010

Hi,

Time flies!

Not only is half of this year gone, but it is already one and a half years since Adele and I started at Nkurru.  Yeah, one and a half years.   It doesn’t really feel that long but if I think back on everything that has happened during the last 18… perhaps it does! 🙂

As you know we have just completed a maintenance week which, apart from being a huge amount of work, makes us reassess where things have come from and where they are going.  The last 18 months have not been all moonshine and roses even though many people still think that living in ‘the bush’ means that you are on a full time holiday.  Sure, there are days when things are a little mroe realxed but up until now those days have been few and far between.  Just too much to do and in between I keep on thinking that there is book waiting to be written about life at a lodge.  Oh, the stories we could tell! 🙂

Last year was, as you will agree, quite hectic both from a workload and financial point of view.  There was a LOT of projects that needed attention and at one stage it felt like it would never stop.  Sense of humor was under serious threat at times but at this stage all is still in tact!

This year started off like that but, and this is due to hard work from all the staff it seems that we are (hopefully) finally on top of things.   It has been a pretty good 18 months so let’s see how things go from here!  🙂

Maintenance and Operations

I was going to do a big update on this but decided against it.

We have just completed a successful maintenance week and, after a shopping trip to Johannesburg, we are in the process of fixing / upgrading / paying attention to a lot of smaller projects around the lodge.  These range from new door handles and new garden light fittings to rearranging the maintenance store room and pebbling the pathways.

The short version is that everything is going pretty well so for the purposes of this particular newsletter let’s leave it at that!

Game Viewer

The response to the email we sent with regards to the new game viewer was overwhelming.  Thanks a lot!

I have almost everything in place so the moment Sara gives me the go ahead, and funds have been paid and are available, I will order our new Land Cruiser.  Getting the vehicle is not a problem but the conversion is going to take us about 4 weeks.  I have already got all the conversion details ready and will, based on input from various shareholders,  finalize them during this week.

Will keep you posted as things develop but I am glad to say that we are now in the final stages of the vehicle saga!

Thanks!

Before we get to some wildlife updates I would like to send a very big thanks to the three shareholders who sponsored heaters for the staff village.  This is truly an amazing gesture and the staff appreciates it more than I can say.  Cannot wait to have you guys back at the lodge so the staff can say thank you to you personally.  Thanks!

Wildlife Updates

We’ll get to some of the game drive updates in a while but just had to do this first.

With winter in full swing, the sighting we had at the waterhole yesterday afternoon is the best argument for taking time off from drives to enjoy the Nkurru waterhole.  It is absolutely ROCKING!!   The short version from yesterday goes like this…

  • Lots of ellies at the waterhole
  • Large herd of buffalo arrive at the water
  • Ellies take exception to buffalo and proceed to chase them all over the place
  • For the next two hours it is a cacophony of sights and sounds as the bug guys fight for drinking space
  • After dropping the water levels the buffalo move off
  • Two hours later the ellies are still hanging around

Could go on trying to explain the amazing sighting but let;s rather do it this way…

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Buff arriving at the waterhole while the ellies are just to the left.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Buff having a drink.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Adele watching the ellies and buff just before all hell broke loose.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Calm before the storm.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

The ellies start chasing the buff out of the water.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

The young ellie was on top form.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Buffalo and ellies all over the place.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

The young guy still going for it.

Ellies versus Buffalo at Nkurru

Buff running for cover.

With buffalo, elephant and rhino being (almost) daily visitors the Nkurru waterhole is definitely the place to be this winter.

Wildlife Photography

Out in the bush most of the waterholes has dried up with only the large dams still attracting animals.  Tau Dam still has a bit of water while Tlou Dam is still looking quite good for this time of year.  Parks Board is not currently pumping Tlou Dam as they are waiting for some new pipes so let’s hope this happens sooner rather than later.  If they can start pumping before it dries up completely Tlou Dam should make it through winter easily enough.  Above is a young ellie enjoying the last bit of sunshine at Tlou Dam.

Wildlife Photography

The rhino poaching situation is still out of control and it does not seem that there is an end in sight.  Apart from the Chinese and Vietnamese demand there is also people like Elle Macpherson who recently admitted to using powdered rhino horn.  How sad / stupid / ignorant / clueless can she be?  You can read the full article by clicking here.

Wildlife Photography

It has been VERY cold and birding in Madikwe has been pretty quiet.  All the regulars are still around and the hordes of ‘little guys’ are nesting in the reed bed but other than that not too much to report on that side.

Wildlife Photography

The Kgala males, one seen above, continue to dominate the South of Madikwe.  These two brutes have started pushing their territory up towards the lodge and it is a matter of time until they bump into either the Tshola-Mateya coalition or the three young Linyalo males who have been hanging around the Wonderboom area.

The two boys have also been quite busy and have, in the last year, fathered 8 new cubs.

Wildlife Photography

The five 6 month Maropeng youngsters are going strong.  Along with the Tshabalalas and the two big boys they have been hanging around between Tau Dam and the Western airstrip.

Wildlife Photography

This is one of the 4 week old Jabulani youngsters.  Yeah, named after the soccer ball!  They have only been seen a few times but it is most definitely worth going to look for these little fur balls.  They are the newset additions to the Mika pride, now 12 strong, and mom has been keeping the little guys around the Abajaterskop / Elephant Boma area.  Absolutely gorgeous!

Wildlife Photography

Mom has not let the three youngsters out in the open too much yet and this is one of the best photographs I have been able to get of all three together.  Cute little things and a possible highlight of your next trip to Madikwe.

Right, time to get going but before you log off, why not check out the free Photo-Africa wallpaper downloads for July?  You can download any of the 4 images for free to use a desktop image on your PC.  Click here to choose your favorite and save a bit of Africa in your computer!

If you have any thoughts or comments we look forward to hearing from you.

We look forward to seeing you at the lodge and sharing more memories from Africa!

Warmest regards,

Gerry, Adele & the Nkurru Team