Nkurru Newsletter – June 2010


It is amazing how much can change in a week.

In a week a lodge can be transformed to a maintenance war zone and back to being better than before.  In a week the waterhole has gone from an empty space void of all living things to the animal fest we have gotten used to.    It is amazing how much can change in a week.

Let’s start with an update on the Nkurru maintenance week that was completed a week ago.

One of the new, but very subtle, additions is the lead wood railing that has been constructed around the outside lounge area.

Nkurru Game Lodge

Nkurru Game Lodge

This new railing was originally planned from a safety point of view and subsequently our insurance company has also stipulated that we need to erect this railing. Initially were were quite concerned about how this will affect the look of the front deck but it has worked out beautifully.  Apart from the deck planks that are slightly discolored from being removed, the railing looks like it has always been there.  Worked out very well and toom only about three days to complete.

One of the largest projects for the 2010 maintenance week was the combing and patching of the roof.  We were originally hoping to complete all the roofs in the week but rain, in the middle of winter, delayed everything for a few days.  We pushed on and in the end we completed all the roofs except for the double unit which will be done as soon as we have 4 days open at the lodge.  Apart from the weather, the state of some of the roofs caused the whole process to take longer than anticipated.

Nkurru Game Lodge

This is the valley just above the front door to the main lodge.  The thatch in this area was so rotten that we had to replace pretty much the entire valley.  There were a few areas like this and this caused obvious delays as the guys had to replace huge amounts of grass.  The double unit, room 4 & 5, is also in a serious state and is the only roof we still need to complete.  Due to the bad state of this roof we are going to need at least 4 days to comb, patch and repair all the valleys.  As soon as we have a few days open at the lodge we will complete the last roof.  Mental note for future… don’t wait for three years before doing maintenance on roofs!

The other major maintenance week project was the sanding and treating of the decks.  Last year, due to time constraints, we only did the main lodge deck.  This year we started with the rooms and, apart from two rainy days, things went pretty well.  The only deck that we did not complete is the main lodge deck but this is not too much of a worry as we can do this the moment we have two days open.

Nkurru Game Lodge

The image above shows the difference between the newly treated deck and one that is a year old.   Nice improvement.  The room decks in particular looks great and is probably the most noticable improvement from a deck point of view.

Apart from those main projects there were also a lot of cleaning, fixing and organizing going on.  We worked on the fence, store rooms, laundry, pathways, rooms and main lodge.  Lots of little things.  Lots and lots of little things.  Calibrating pumps, cutting open the electric fence and servicing all the fire equipment are just a few of the smaller projects that kept us busy.

The one project that we were planning to complete was the maintenance of the reed bed.  Each year we will be cutting the reeds and halving the amount of lilies to ensure new growth and the cleaning of the water that ends up int he waterhole.

Nkurru Game Lodge

After seeing the amount of birds that are currently still nesting in the reeds we decided to leave it as is and give it a few months before we chop the reeds but from a safety point of view we did do a lot of clearing around the reed bed.

The last major project we completed was the installation of the descaling system.  Yeah, finally!  The system is now operational and, even though you can taste the difference, it will take about 2 months for all the pipes, geysers and other equipment to be cleaned up and working like it should!  The end is (hopefully) in sight!

Matey Male - Nkurru Game Lodge

Now with the change of season and water getting quite scarce out in the bush the waterhole is starting to move into winter mode and in the last few days we have had lions, leopard, elephant, buffalo and a host of other species popping in for a drink.  We have also started putting out some salt which, combined with the waterhole, promises to make for some fantastic game viewing from the deck.

Mateya Male

The Mateya male is still going.  Not necessarily strong, but going.

This shows the Mateya male just around the corner from the lodge with his brother, the Tshola male, in the distance.  More than a year has passed since the Mateya male was injured in a territorial fight with the Kgala males.

The leg is not going to get better and many feel that it is just a matter of time.

The amazing thing is how this formerly majestic lion just keeps going.  He does not stop and feel sorry for himself.  He does not hassle anybody for favors.  He just keeps going.

Kgala Males

The two Kgala males are still dominating the south of Madikwe and have been very busy.

A few days ago they made a trip all the way up to the Impodimo where they found the two Matusis on a kill, chased them away and took over the kill.  We found the Matusi female in a very nervous state a day later but up until now no one has found the Matusi male.  Will keep you posted.

The two Kgalas, mean as they are, are apparently lovers and fighters!  Last week Gavin, from Tuningi, found the Mika female close to the Western Airstrip with four brand new cubs.

Image by Gavin Tonkinson

These four new feline additions mean that there are now 9 young cubs, under 8 months old, in the South.  Fantastic to see, great to watch and always a highlight to any drive!

Other than the lions, sightings have been pretty slow but now with water drying up things should be changing.

If you would like to see more wildlife images make sure to pop in to Photo-Africa.  Here are some of the highlights from the last few weeks.  Click on any of the links to view the blog post.

Also, if you missed it you can get your free desktop wallpaper for June 2010 by clicking here.  There are five different images that you can use as a desktop on your PC or Mac which also includes a handy calendar.  Let me know what you think!

To end off with a bit of shameless self advertising. 😉

If you have been following Photo-Africa you will know that we are now presenting a number of workshops and photographic safaris.  These include:


  • 10 July 2010 – Digital Photography:  What? How? Why? (Inanda, Johanensburg)
  • 11 July 2010 – Free photo walk (Northern Farm, Gauteng)
  • 17 July 2010 – Digital Photography:  What? How? Why? (Centurion, Pretoria)
  • 24 July 2010 – Worldwide Photo Walk (Melville, Johannesburg)
  • 4 & 11 September 2010 – Wildlife Photography 101 (Johannesburg & Pilansberg Game Reserve)
  • 5 to 7 November 2010 – Route 62 Photography Workshop
  • 28 February to 7 March 2011 – Photographic Safari to Kenya (Masai Mara & Lake Nakuru)
  • 29 August to 7 September 2011 – Photographic Safari to Kenya (Masai Mara for big migration)

There are a lot more events and dates that will be confirmed soon so make sure to check the website for details.  If you would like any further please contact me!

As we say goodbye until next month we would like to say – Viva Bafana Bafana!

Even though we will not be able to get to the matches or soak up the atmosphere we will be wearing our Bafana jerseys and supporting the World Cup as much as we can!  For a few ‘wildlife meets soccer’ pics click here.

World Cup 2010

Until we next see you at the lodge – enjoy the World Cup, and stay safe!

Warmest regards,

Gerry, Adele & the Nkurru Team