Articles of interest and Newsletters are listed here in date order.
Newsletter - Spring 2012
Winter this year was a bit odd in Madikwe, somehow it never seemed to take itself too seriously.
While it certainly got cooler and we did have some typical winter frost, cold breezes, dust and dry grass, it all seemed a bit of a half-hearted attempt somehow. We even had some rain in July, usually unheard of!
In any event, spring is here now, with summer not far off, the cool nights are being softened by warm breezes and the sun is going down in its red dusty haze a bit later each evening. Hopefully the rains will arrive sooner than they did last year, bringing with them the rich grass and greenery that will transform the reserve.
Summer in Madikwe is full of colour with flowers, butterflies, birds, huge blue skies, red soils and unforgettable sunsets competing to catch your eye. The lean times of winter are quickly forgotten as the herbivores grow fat on the rich vegetation and the predators grow fat onÖ well, the herbivores really.
Newsletter - Spring 2010
Newsletter - Spring 2010
Spring in our part of the world is typically heralded by the arrival of gusty winds that clear the winter dust from the skies and blow the last of the dead leaves from the trees.
Usually these winds carry hints of the fresh green leaves, flower buds, crisp spring mornings and the welcome warmth to come.
This year however, the arrival of the winds was short, sharp and hot.
Hounded off by this baking, dry wind, the fresh, crisp idea of spring left quicker than a warthog finding himself surrounded by a sleeping pride of lions.
Spring barely got a foot in the door before we hurtled straight into summer.
In their haste to catch up, the Blackthorns and Shepherd Trees seemed to throw out a crazy profusion of flowers overnight, bright yellow and cream against the blue sky, their scent suddenly filling the rapidly warming nights. Finally the bees have something more interesting than the home-made jam on the breakfast table to keep their attention!
Newsletter - Winter 09
Here we are into winter again.
This time of year is always a bit nerve-wracking for us, we tend to spend a lot of time scanning the horizons for smoke.
The thick grass of summer is now bone-dry and most of the trees have lost their leaves. Any fire starting in the bush has plenty of fuel and can very quickly get out of control and move through the reserve, causing havoc as it goes. And it seems to be amazingly easy for fires to get started Ė careless drivers flicking cigarette butts from their vehicle, glass pieces magnifying the sun, even dewdrops are rumoured to concentrate the sun enough to cause a fire.
Newsletter - Summer 2008
When the rains came this year, they were a bit late, but very enthusiastic!
We have had fairly long spells without much rain this season, but when a storm does come in, it made sure itís presence is felt with a spectacular display of thunder and lightening and then by dumping a river-load of rain on us before moving off.
After the storm, every dip becomes a pond, every gully turns into a stream, the thick, muddy water hurtling into the river.
After the heat of the last few months, the rain has been very welcome and the bush has reacted immediately, with everything seeming to grow to twice the size and twice as dense overnight.
Newsletter Winter 2007
Winter is a ďsecret seasonĒ here in Madikwe.
People seem to expect our winters here to be miserable with unpleasant weather. As a result of this, we tend to have fewer guests in the winter months.
Newsletter - Summer 2007
Summer is here in all its glory: blazing hot days, sudden downpours and the bush around us is growing wildly again.
From lions to squirrels, the world is full of youngsters growing up around us and taking advantage of the season of plenty to get plump and strong. The abundance of both water and grass means that the antelope are fat and glossy, their extra energy expended in bouncy displays across the plains behind the lodge.
Fat grey storm clouds occasionally move across the reserve, dumping welcome loads of rain in the afternoons. These storm waters feed the river, swelling it to a fat, chocolate python snaking smoothly through the green of the reserve.
The migrant birds are here in force
and, along with the resident species, every tree and most of the sky is filled with birdsong and frenetic activity.
Newsletter - Spring 2006
The clear days of winter often turn a little fuzzy towards the end of the season. This is caused by huge amounts of smoke from the veld (bush) fires burning across the North West Province at the end of winter.
The smoke hangs in the air, blurring the sun and giving the light a yellowish cast. The fires, caused both deliberately and accidentally, have plenty of fuel this year because the heavy, late rains resulted in a very good grass growth, creating a more noticeable haze than usual.
As you fly between Johannesburg and Madikwe, you can see the long lines of fire eating their way across the grasslands. The columns of smoke, grey curtains against the cobalt sky, are visible from miles away. Sometimes the smoke reaches high enough for clouds to form at the head of the column, the smoke particles acting as nuclei for raindrops to form around. The clouds seldom last long though, the air is too dry and the water drops usually evaporate as quickly as they form.
Newsletter Winter 2006
Winter settled in fast this year.
Autumn, squeezed between the late rains of a lingering summer and the sharp chill of winter mornings, was reduced to a week of breathtakingly clear, crisp and still days. Then the night-time temperatures dropped dramatically and winter moved in, confirming its arrival with coating of frost each morning on the rapidly browning grass. The migrant birds, procrastinating after the late rains, all left in rush, circling briefly over the reserve before vanishing northwards. Now, as each gust of wind causes a confetti storm of leaves, warm fires flicker in the suites and the main lodge is closed up at night to keep it cosy and warm.
Newsletter Summer 2004
Well, the first anniversary of our opening has come and gone.
Yes, itís already a year later and, on the one hand, it seems like such a short time ago that we were putting in final touches and getting the lodge ready to open. On the other hand, so much has happened in the last year that it seems that the lodge should have had many more than just one anniversary!
It has been an interesting and fun year, one that has seen the lodge get up and running beautifully and the staff joining together to work as a great team.
The lodge buildings themselves have settled into the bush, blending beautifully into the forest on the river bank and the game already treats the lodge as a part of the bush, moving unconcerned amongst the buildings.
Newsletter Summer 2006
It is difficult to take Madikwe very seriously at the moment.
The downpours of the last few weeks have transformed the reserve into something more sub-tropical than sandveld - a lush, verdant wonderland.
Guests arrive with Discovery Channel visions of lean and hungry lions stalking from one clump of parched grass to the next across the dusty plains. Disney quickly replaces National Geographic when they see their surroundings, fat lions sprawling in the thick grass under the shade of dense trees, butterflies swirling from flower to flower around them.
Life here just looks far too idyllic and peaceful to be taken very seriously.
Newsletter Spring 2005
Funny old thing, spring.
There you are trudging through winter, cold breezes swirling dust and dead leaves across the dry plains, and suddenly, over just a few days, there is a subtle, almost unperceivable shift. A mysterious signal seems to be sent out, which causes a shift and change that is as slight as it is pervasive.
Newsletter Winter 2005
Makanyane Safari Lodge
Winter is here again, the storms of summer long forgotten, the wind is now dry and cool. The mornings are cold and clear, the nights crisp and still.
The sun sets earlier and rises later now, the cooler air bringing the brown hyenas and civets out earlier, allowing game drives to see them far more frequently. As the bush is drying out, the grass is lower and the leaves have fallen from many of the trees, so game viewing is even easier.
Newsletter Summer 2005
Spring has grown into summer, with the heat of the African sun moving in waves over the reserve.
Newsletter Spring 2004
September and spring is here again.
The winterís wind has taken the last of the autumn leaves from the trees. The Blackthornís branches are overloaded with blooms, soft and yellow, sheltering vicious thorns. The air at night is still cool and restless, the faint scent of the flowers carried through the dark, around ghostly silhouettes of browsing kudu and sleeping impala.
The full moonlight casts shadows as sharp as cut glass, feeding elephants send sounds of cracking ice through the night as they snap the winter dry branches in search of food.
The sunrise now brings with it real warmth, greeted by a wild chorus of birdsong.
The morning sky is still the brittle clear of winter, but faint clouds are now etched above the horizon, the promise of summer rain as faint as a roll of distant thunder
The ground has long forgotten the last rain, the bush a palette of a thousand shades of beige. But even now, before the rainís forgiveness, the trees and grasses are growing again, a green watercolour wash to soften the browns of winter.
Newsletter Summer 2004
Well, here we are, already into 2004!
I hope that your festive season was as much fun as ours was here at Makanyane. Old Year's Eve was particularly memorable; guests at the lodge were divided into two teams and given an African treasure hunt while out on game drive. [more...]
Newsletter Spring 2003
Winter in the bush is always fun. We have an excuse to laze next to blazing fires, drink loads of sherry, and to sleep in an hour longer before the morning game drive. But somehow, when winter blows out of here during the invigorating August, no one is really too sorry to see it leave, knowing that spring is on its way.
Newsletter Winter 2003
Well it happened! We opened.
For a while it seemed like we were never going to make it in time, as the opening date came closer and closer, the list of things to do suddenly seemed to get longer and longer. But it all came together beautifully in the end. The buildings were completed and the interior designers worked their magic. [more...]
History of Madikwe and connection with Herman Charles Bosman
We are now past the coldest part of the year and the winds that signify the winterís end are beginning to blow. The last of the leaves are falling from the River Bushwillows around the suites, creating a soft brown carpet that sighs under the hooves of the bushbuck as they move through the trees. The nights are still cold and crisp, we pull our chairs to the fire and sip sherry or the local speciality, a volatile brandy called Mampoer. [more...]
Newsletter Summer 2003
What an auspicious occasion! The very first Makanyane Safari Lodge Newsletter! Fantastic! But what news, you may ask, from a lodge 60% through the construction phase? [more...]