Bushveld Saved by the Rain
See the Kruger Rivers Run
Thank you everyone for your prayers. We now have water. With the prospect of no water, winter was looking bleak from our end. We can breathe easy again; the Bushveld finally has drinking water for all this winter. Our Lowveld rain started on Wednesday the 9th, with the Kruger National Park (KNP) and the catchment areas getting good rains overnight. It must be said, that many animals died, although more than them survived and they were saved, as us, by these rains.
Yesterday – the 12th – all the sand roads from Croc Bridge to Lower Sabie were closed because of the abundance of water everywhere. With good rain, the parched ground becomes treacherously slippery and many other gravel roads in the park have had to be closed. Low water bridges at the Sabie and Sand Rivers at Skukuza were also overflowing and had to be closed. Empty dams around the area are filling up; some are even overflowing!
Hard-to-spot animals such as tortoises are out and about, crossing roads and drinking water from any little puddle. While the skin of reptiles prevents water loss in dry times, they still need moisture to live and these animals suffer badly in drought.
When the rains arrive suddenly, those living near rivers and streams will be well aware of the dangers of floods – few experiences can rival the sight (and sound) of flood headwaters crashing and tumbling down a dry riverbed, bringing trees and boulders toward you – best viewed from high-ground.
Millions and millions of tiny green shoots are springing up over the once bare patches of ground. This morning the bush was cloaked in a pale, gauzy green. At sunrise, the footprints of a myriad antelope and their fresh droppings were all that remained as they made their way down to the drinking water.
Dung beetles, in a frenzy of activity, flew everywhere. Spoilt for choice, they were running from one pile to the other, even stealing half finished balls of dung and trundling off. Surprisingly, the victims didn’t put up much of a fight, simply starting again with this new abundance.
News via the “grapevine” has it that good rains fell in the catchment area for the Olifants and Crocodile Rivers. Hopefully these rivers will fill adequately to supply drinking water for users downstream through the coming dry season, even without more rain.
The rains will help the Kruger Park and outlying areas somewhat with grazing but this is the last few weeks of summer growth. With winter rapidly approaching, any development of new grass, will slow going into the dormant season. Because of this, new grazing will be limited and we can only hope it will last through the winter months. Our first good rains began on the night of the 9 March at 60mm, then on the night of the 10 March giving 50mm and on the 12 March a further 20mm, being a total of 130 mm (5.2 inches).
Because of our commitments and our 4×4’s current upgrades, we were unable to go everywhere for photos, so we thank the people who were on the spot, for their kind contributions for our readers.