Photo of the Day
|Kuhanya, clearly not as happy to see us as we were to see her!|
So it has been a two weeks since floods hit us, and it has been a really busy week here at Motswari trying to get things back to normal.
We have been very lucky that things have gone well, and the weather has played its part too! The threat of rain has not been realised as neither of the follow up cyclones that developed over the Indian Ocean in the Mozambique Channel hit the land and affected us. In fact we have had some warm to hot weather for most of the time that has slowly started drying out the bush, but the rivers are still flowing, albeit at a far gentler pace.
The Sohebele River is still trickling over Argyle Dam and into our camp dam; Argyle Dam itself is looking beautiful, and while a bit of the dam wall was lost, the structure stood and now houses a large family of hippos.
|Argyle Dam - click for larger image|
Sohebele Dam was not so lucky and the dam wall was almost totally destroyed, completely changing the face of the area!
|Sohebele Dam - well, what is left of it!|
While we have not been able to access Scholtz in the east, we are informed that both Scholtz Big Dam and Repair Dam survived.
On the Nhlaralumi, it is flowing well still all the way through the reserve; usually after about a week of no rain, the river is down to no more than a few puddles, but this time, it is still flowing quite nicely.
|Nhlaralumi River at Confluence Crossing!|
|Sohebele River from Lover's Leap|
|Machaton River - this was totally covereed in rocks before the flood!|
Vyeboom Dam is gone as we saw in the last blog, Peru Dam is only slightly damaged, but Concrete Crossing that stood between these dams is totally washed away!
Mbali Dam’s change to the landscape was quite profound, and Grant and I were almost speechless after looking at this dam.
|Mvubu Crossin and Mbali Dam - no vegetation left below the dam!|
|Mbali Dam - click for larger view|
The story behind our speechlessness was not entirely from the changes that have occurred as a result of this rather lush-reeded area being left as a massive sand bank, but rather due to our stupidity.
We both thought it would be great to go and see the dam from the other side. And it was a good idea, if we had shoes on. We didn’t. It was midday. The sand was hot. Very hot. So hot that we both burnt the soles out of our feet! Oh what I would have done to have been a spectator watching the two of us running across the long stretches of open sand as we tried to make our way back to the Land Rover! At one point, with the coolness of the river only 10m away, I just could not endure the pain of running on the sand anymore and had to stop there, almost in tears from the pain, legs shaking, knowing I only had to take 5 more steps to get some respite...but the sand was so hot, that for a short while, I just couldn’t move. We eventually made it back to the vehicle, but needless to say both of us walked quite gingerly for the rest of the afternoon.
|Grant and i trekking across the large expanses of boiling sand...barefoot! (click for larger image)|
The majority of the little drainage lines are drying quickly, but the seeplines are still pouring with water nourishing the grass and trees that are now growing quite thickly all over the reserve, and I am sure the animals are enjoying it – I almost thought there were a few pregnant impalas still until I realised they were all just really fat!
I wish I could be more sure of this, but not going out on drive, it’s difficult to know what is going on! Godfrey saw the wild dogs again a couple of days ago, as well as a herd of buffalo as he went to Java. We heard lions roaring near camp last night, but have yet to have sightings of any; some friends that left the lodge on Monday night saw a lone white lioness on the main road not too far from Motswari.
|Wild dogs at camp|
We got to see Kuhanya resting in a marula tree on the airstrip on our way back from fixing another river crossing a few days back; so we were delighted to see her looking good and still in the area. Leopard tracks have been seen around the reserve, and Morne from Kings Camp also saw tracks for Nthombi and her two new cubs near their camp last week.
The camp is looking good, dirt tracks have been made around the large holes on Argyle Rd that are passable by 2x4 vehicles with good clearance, so our deliveries are starting to come in. The electricity back on the national grid, and we have fixed many of the issues that arose during the floods, so much so that we resume with guests as of tomorrow!
|Our staff are ready to welcome you back....|
|...even if not all of the roads are! This is what is left of Concrete Crossing on the Nhlaralumi|
The big challenge now will be the game drives; hopefully we can get the roads and crossings up to a better level in the near future, and we shall just have to see when the bush is dry enough to be able to drive off-road again without causing damage, but I am sure that it won’t be long before we are totally back to normal!
Thanks again for all the wonderful message of support following the floods, so great to see such care out there J
Was also amazing to see the great response to that last post – we received record views for that post on the flood, over 4000 views in two days, and this month, despite the lack of posts, we are going to have well over 20,000 views for the month!
Will catch up again with regular wildlife updates from tomorrow, so hope to chat you all checking back on the blog regularly from now on!