Nkurru Newsletter – January 2011

Hi,

Let me start by wishing you the very best for 2011!  After a long December holiday I am sure you must all be well rested and ready for another year.  Working in the hospitality industry means that you seldomly get to spend Xmas and New Years with friends and family.  Yeah, that’s the nature of the beats but with good friends in the reserve and guests who are more than just shareholders it’s not all bad.

The bush is green, there is water everywhere and Madikwe is looking great!   If you were at the lodge up until November you will recall that Tlou Dam was a massive dust bowl with virtually no water.  All it took was one major downpour to transform it from it’s winter appearance into this.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

86mm in one night will dramatic results wherever you are!  Since that first rainstorm we have had pretty good rains and we are currently sitting on about 240mm.

Electricity, Insurance and a Transformer

Now with rainstorms comes lightning.  And with lightning, if you are Nkurru Game Lodge, comes new transformers.  Our brand new transformer was damaged by lightning on 15 December, a day before all the contractors close for the holiday season.  Long story short, we were able to get a new transformer installed the day before Xmas but now, and this has been a drama of note, we do not only have this insurance claim pending butt he previous one as well.

I am not going to go into all the nitty gritty details now, but the short version is that we were paid out for our new electrical cable and it has already been installed and it’s working great.  The rest of the claim is still pending as there are a number of items, such as our previous transformer, that also needed to be fixed.  As things stand, we are waiting for the legal outcome of the initial claim and now also the claim for our second new transformer.

During this same thunderstorm it was not only Nkurru that sustained damage but Mooifontein, Motswiri and Hillside all lost major equipment, from transformer to generators.  To say that it has been stressful / frustrating / annoying is an understatement.  Things have been dealt with but now we are waiting for the outcome of the insurance claims and inquiries which, should it not go our way, might result in our lodge budget taking a bit of a knock.  This is something we have been fighting very hard for because everything else, budget wise, has been going great this last year!  We will obviously keep you all posted as to how things work out.

Operational Matters

Since there is a lot to do and take care of before our AGM I am only going to go over a few small operational reminded now and we can then get back to major items and planning for next year close to the meeting.

  • SMS – Please do not SMS the lodge any urgent changes to menu or guest info.  As you know the signal is very bad and we sometimes only get the SMS a few days later.  Email and pone is by far the best to get hold of us.
  • Cigarettes – If you smoke, or if any of your guests smoke, please ask them to not throw their stompies over the room balconies.  We recently did a clean up and it was quite shocking as to the number of stompies we had to pick up.
  • CapEx – we are currently in the process of putting a CapEx list together for next year so if you have any thoughts please email them through to the lodge.
  • Catering – If the lodge is doing your catering, please remember that we need your menu details by no later than 10AM on the Monday before you arrive.  We have to get our orders in to our suppliers by midday Monday.

Staff

When you are next at the lodge, I would also like it if you take the time to ask any of the staff members to take you of a ‘tour’ of the staff village.  This is not only to show you what goes on behind the scenes but it will also help us to manage the tidiness of the village a bit better.  The staff are completely responsible for the cleanliness of the village, their rooms and the area around their rooms and we would love to hear yuor feedback, both good and bad, so that we can take steps to remedy any situation that might arise.

Wildlife

The sightings have not been as plentiful as in winter because the bush is very very thick.  Madikwe never disappointing though and we have been having quality rather than quantity.  Images tell a much better story so here goes:

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Photographed this giraffe on the afternoon of 25 December.  Stunning colors!

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The Kgala males are still one of the most dominant coalitions in Madikwe.  However, during the last few months the two Naledi brothers have been looking for a fight.  We have found both sets of males with serious injuries but so far everything is still the way it was.  Gonna be an interesting time ahead though!

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The latest game count puts the number of elephants in Madikwe around 800.  Yeah, a lot!  You can always be assured of some amazing sightings when you visit Nkurru.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The general game in Madikwe is doing very well.  There are youngsters everywhere!

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

If you choose to go out in the rain you can get some amazing sightings!  This female was trying to sit out the rain next to the Western Airstrip.  She looked absolutely miserable but we were quite comfy under the canopy of our new Land Cruiser! 🙂

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Taken at the same time as the image above, this young male was also quite miserable.  when the storm faded a couple of minutes later we watched as the seven lions hunted zebra on the airstrip.  One hour later… close.  Very very close!

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

When I photographed this image we were sitting on Tlou Dam wall and could literally not see Tswene Tswene.  It was an absolute cloudburst.  Luckily these giraffes kept us busy for a while.  Didn’;t help though and we had to basically row back home.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Just a bit of fun from yesterday’s drive.

Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

Not wildlife.  Simply Ziggy relaxing. 🙂

So with that it’s time to say goodbye.

FYI, Adele and I will be on leave from Thursday 14 January until Sunday 20 January.  For the first 8 days we will not be contactable via phone or email as we are heading up to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with some friends.  Have not been away on a proper holiday for quite some time, and after the last few weeks we are REALLY looking forward to this one.

Will be back again next month as we pick up on a lot of operational matters leading up to the AGM.

I’ll leave you with one last image.  Truly Africa!

Nkurru Newsletter - January 2011

As always we look forward to hearing from you.

Warmest regards,

Gerry, Adele and the Nkurru Team