Nkurru Newsletter – March 2011

Hi all,

We are almost through the first quarter of the year and things are going very well at Nkurru.

With the AGM coming up in a few weeks time I thought I’d focus this newsletter more on the ‘nature’ side of things as we will be discussing the operational side of things when we meet.  Just a reminder, the meeting will take place on Thursday 24 March at the Le Sel offices in New Road Midrand.

Now as you might have gathered from yesterday’s email, we had quite an interesting day yesterday.

Nkurru Ellie

Yeah, this is the ellie that made Nkurru his home yesterday.  You cannot really see it from this image but the aloes just to the left of the entrance.  Gone!  We’re actually quite luck as this was, apart from a single pathway light, the only damaged caused by our day visitor.  This boy has been around the lodges on the ridge and has now ‘visited’ Tuningi, Kukam, Motswiri and now Nkurru as well.  He seems to have taken a liking to the lodges in the Wonderboom Node so even though I hope he won’t be back, I am almost sure he will!  If you leave him alone he seems to mind his own business and then, when he is ready, he moves on again.

We will be doing what we can to make sure visitors like this don’t stay in the lodge grounds but that being said, when you visit Nkurru it is important to remember that it is the wild and that you always need to keep your eyes open.

Our ellie visitor made his way out of the front gate late in the afternoon with a little bit of  ‘encouragement’ from Nik and I.  Let’s leave it at that! 🙂

Other than that the waterhole, where we like our wildlfie, has been pretty busy with regular sightings of pretty much everything except leopard.  As you know from a previous post, when Adele and I return from Johannesburg we will be bringing two new Nkurru Cams back with us.  The images from this phenomenal little cameras have been a massive hit and have been circulated far and wide.  As soon as we are back I will get the Nkurru Cam updates back up and running again so that we can do the weekly image post from the NKurru waterhole.

So for now, here are a few images from game drives during the last few weeks which, even with very thick bush, has produced some terrific sightings with the amount, and quality of lion sightings being out of this world!

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The Bolekega female has been giving us some amazing sightings around the Wonderboom Gate area.  She has two brand new youngsters which she keeps in the quarry, right next to the Lodges sign.  This image was taken at Pokojwe Pan close to Bush House.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The two new youngsters in the quarry.  Yesterday, 9 March, the other Bolekega sister also arrived on the scene with three of her own cubs.  This promises to make for some awesome sightings of the 5 new cubs and the best of all?  It’s nice and close to the lodge!

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The two Kgala males are still the big boys in the South.  They have had a few serious run-ins with the two Naledi males but, at least for now, they are still the dominant males in the South West of the reserve.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The Tshabalala female has just come into estrous again and the Kgala males have not left her side.  Along with her sister and the 5 Maropeng youngsters they must be some of the best lions to view in the South.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The Tshabalala femela with her ‘boyfriend’, the Kgala male.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

One of the 5 Maropeng youngsters.  They hang around the Western airstrip and, being very playful, make for some very amusing sightings.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The light at this time of year makes for spectacular scenes and even a Zebra on the airstrip makes for a great African scene.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The last few weeks we have had some serious birders at the lodge and Madikwe did not disappoint.  Sightings of raptors were plentiful and we racked up great species numbers each week.

Now another thing that you have to consider when you come to Nkurru again is a visit to the Madikwe Gardens.  Our last two groups have done visit to this oasis on the eastern side of Madikwe and it is definitely worth the drive to the east.

Nkurru Game Viewing - Image © Gerry van der Walt 2011

The Gardens are situated on a concession on the eastern border, just outside of Madikwe.  It’s difficult to describe how the green and lush beauty of the garden’s stand in contrast to the rough Mawike bushveld but the drive out to the east, past Vlei pan and through the Marico river is definitely worth it. An a packed breakfast under the massive trees just finishes things off nicely!

A visit to the Gardens cost R650 per vehicle and this money is used for the upkeep and maintenance of this beautiful piece of property!  When you next visit Madikwe make sure to ask us about a day trip.  You won’t be dissapointed.

Then, before we end off for this month, apparently Adele and I are leaving.  Yeah, apparently. 😉  There have been quite a few rumors that because we both now have our own businesses on the side that our departure from Nkurru is imminent.

So, to put things straight here it is…

Yes, both Adele and I have business on the side.  I run Photo-Africa through which I run photography workshop, photographic safaris and soon also a pro equipment rental division.  Adele recently started up Chiki Chika, a clothing and fashion importing business which is going fantastically well.

The sad reality is that no one can spend forever at a lodge.  Yeah the lifestyle is great, even though it’s not a full time holiday like many people think, but you have to keep your eye on the future both financially and from a personal growth point of view.

During the first two years at Nkurru we had quite a bit of, umm, damage control that we had to take care of but now things are a lot more manageable.  We have knocked most of the large maintenance projects and the staff systems and procedures we have in place are working very well.  There are still days where all hell breaks loose, even though you won’t see it when you are at the lodge but as a whole things are running smoothly enough for us to manage the lodge and out businesses on the side.  We are currently running all our showing, workshops and safaris during our leave cycles and so far so good!

I hope it goes without saying that Nkurru Game Lodge will not suffer because of this.  We will continue to maintain the property, service levels and magic that is Nkurru to the level that meets, and hopefully exceeds, the expectations of shareholders and guests.

So, contrary to any rumours out there, we are not going anywhere yet! 🙂

Adele and I will be on leave from 11 to 25 March 2011.  We will be in and around Johannesburg so if you are keen to meet up please give us a shout.

Until next time (and hopefully with more Nkurru Cam pics).

Warmest regards,

Gerry, Adele and the Nkurru Team

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