Sue & Gordon's Notebook - July 2016
If you read our March 2016 newsletter, you may recall that we ended off with a picture of a dark, cloud filled sky, and the following text:
"Lastly from us in this newsletter, the picture below of a dark and menacing sky in the early evening is "music to our ears" as the thunder and lightning roll in and bring much needed rain to this arid part of the planet. Who says that Climate Change is not happening …… just as other parts of the World have had to deal with damaging floods, we have had the exact opposite. Please keep a little thought for us all in Southern Africa in the back of your minds for some much needed rain, which we still desperately need in the next few months."
Well, some of our readers obviously took up the challenge, and have some seriously good contact with the big man upstairs and put in a request on our behalf ……….. Thank you - we appreciate the thought, but guess what - you overdid it!
As the saying goes, "Be careful what you wish for !"
Still in March (the printing ink not yet dry on that newsletter), and the heavens opened up. In 24 hours, we had in the region of 200mm of rain. That is 40% of our normal annual average rainfall for this area, all in one go!
Thankfully, very little damage was caused - a few small leaks in the Lodge, the underground hide flooded, and three fallen trees. We were able to save two of the trees, pump out the Hide, and all was good. Whilst we would prefer our rain a little more spread out over time, we will never wish this most precious gift away.
At the back of the Lodge, there is a rocky ridge, which in the old farming days before Madikwe was established, used to run as a waterfall almost every rainy season. This run-off was then directed with channels into an earth dam that was built near the farm house as it was then. This earth dam still exists today, and the farm house of old was the basis for what became The Bush House Lodge of today.
We have had the privilage of owning The Bush House for almost ten years now (our 10th anniversary being in October this year), and in that time have only witnessed the waterfall running twice before, until now……
As in the old days, the run-off forced it's way along the old channels, through the bushveld in camp, and into the earth dam, which soon after the rains became a source of fun and entertainment for some of our senior staff, and even a couple of guests.
This rain has made a trememdous difference to underground water reserves in the area, and in the short-term, filled all the small dams in the park. The large dam just outside Madikwe, which supplements Gaborone's water supply, was just 6% full before these rains, and became 42% just a few days later. So, we all say a very big thank you!!
Turning now to more recent times (July), we have just passed the winter solstice on 21st June, and are firmly in the grip of the Southern Africa Winter. July is usually our coldest month, and hopefully we will soon be well on our way to Summer. The waterhole has been busy, especially with large herds of elephant and buffalo, and even the odd predator thrown in for good measure.
This very imposing specimen of a male lion was caught on camera drinking right in front of the Undergrpound Hide.
The Underground Hide continues to be a source of great photo opportiunities, and even if you don't have your camera with you, the experience of being so up close with nature is phenomenal. Below, elephant antics right in front of the Hide, as well as this Giraffe getting down really low to drink.
For our regular visitors, some feedback on our Egyptian Geese family, pictured below. As happens every year, they fly off to "greener pastures" for the winter months, and usually return to the Lodge waterhole in October for the breeding season. So, true to plan, they left in late April. What was amazing for us is that the parents raised nine goslings this year (the most ever) in what can only be described as a very hostile environment. We look forward to their safe return later in the year.
Google says that the Red billed Quelea is the World's most abundant wild bird species. This little bird, which flies in large flocks like locusts, is a serious pest to crop farmers, as like locusts, they land and decimate a field of wheat in no time at all. These flocks of birds are winter visitors with us, and sweep in formation as they fly over the waterhole, landing en masse to drink. Even so called "pests" can contribute to a great sunset picture!
Enjoy, take care, and we hope to see you soon.
Gordon & Sue.