Sue & Gordon's Notebook - January 2017
2017 is here, the "silly season" as we call it is over, and we are all back at work. "To do lists" get re-activated, and we all set about our plans for the new year. Those plans do include holidays and relaxation time - for without these breaks, we would all be totally unproductive!
If a holiday to the Bush House is included in your plans, we look forward to your visit, and for the first quarter of the new year, you should be able to experience some of the magic this time of the year has to offer. Summer is in full swing, and this is our rainy season.
Whilst we always ask "the big man upstairs" politely not to let the rains interfere with game drives, this obviously can happen. Our field guides do their absolute best to find the sightings you are looking for, and we are proud to say, most of the time are successful.
The rains have been good so far this season. With good rains come lots of green grass and trees - the ideal time for offspring to be born. Baby Impalas, Wildebeest, Warthog and many other species are everywhere.
Even some of the predators have given birth during this time of plenty. Logically, and nature is wonderful at following sound logic, more inexperienced young herbivores in the bushveld means more easy food for predators - no better time to raise a family!
This lioness brought her very young cubs to the waterhole recently while she enjoyed a much needed drink. These cubs were far too young to walk any distance, and you can imagine how much hard work it would be to carry all four of them, one by one to her den. Cleverly, she has enlisted the help of a juvenile female lion, a cub from her previous litter, to help her with all the fetch and carry work, and also to look after her new cubs when she has to leave them to go and hunt.
Lastly, on this specific predator, a daytime picture taken from inside the underground hide at the Lodge waterhole - up close and personal - so close that you can even count the ticks on her inside back leg.
The pictures above, as well as the story below, illustrate how important it is when in camp to keep one eye always on the waterhole. It can be a quiet day or night, with little going on, and suddenly without any prior warning, everything can erupt,
…as so it did late one evening recently. Two white rhino bulls at the waterhole at the same time, and very unhappy about the situation. White rhino bulls are territorial, and while the "resident" bull will allow others to visit for water, they are very particular about a strange bull's behaviour in their territory.
This fight took place right in front of the underground hide. The crashing of horns, heads and bodies was spectacular, finishing up in the waterhole itself. Fortunately, all ended well, and both rhinos went their separate ways, with not much worse than dented egos. These fights can end badly, with one or more fatalities.
Rhino poaching, as you will know from media reports, continues to be a serious issue in South Africa. Whilst Madikwe is not the worst affected area in the country, we still have a significant problem, and every rhino lost to poaching is one too many. The Reserve has an anti-poaching unit, which has been very effective in the past.
Sadly, much of their equipment is now becoming obsolete, and needs replacing. From our perspective, Government has been too slow to allocate the necessary funds to this project, and the private sector (Lodges in the Reserve) are now mobilising to raise the necessary funding.
Events are being organised in the Reserve, where guests who are in Madikwe at the time, can participate for a fee. All monies collected go into a bank account which was established by the Madikwe Investors (Lodge owners and shareholders) specifically to help with funding for essential projects.
For example, in February 2017, on the night of the full moon, there will be an African drumming event organised in the middle of the Reserve. Guests and staff from Lodges can participate by paying R300 which will go towards funds for our anti-poaching unit. If you would be interested in supporting this initiative in some way, even if you are unable to attend an event, a donation to this very important and worthwhile cause would be most welcome and appreciated. Please use the following details:
Madikwe Concessionaires Forum
RMB Private Banking (FNB)
Branch: 22 20 26
Account no: 624 541 697 17
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJXXX
Reference: Madikwe C.P.U / The Bush House.
Lastly, and seeing as this has been a newsletter mostly about "little ones", the picture below of the smallest and newest little elephant visitor to our waterhole has to be the BEST!!!
From the whole team at The Bush House - may 2017 be fantastic for you, and we look forward to welcoming you back with us.
Take great care,
Gordon & Sue.