Rain, Glorious Rain…….
A couple of weeks back South Africa was bracing for the effects brought on by tropical cyclone Eloise. Initial predictions were that Antares bush camp would be in the firing line, however as the storm progressed and crossed the Mozambique channel it altered its path and headed north of us towards Zimbabwe and Botswana instead.We still decided to head up to the camp and try and put in place precautions just in case and we put sandbags down to reduce any possible flood damage. In the end the worst of the rains actually fell north of us and to the south at our other home in Hoedspruit (thankfully no damage done).
A great deal of rain fell up in the mountains though and caused quite a bit of damage, with trees blown over in the wind and great quantities of water feeding into the Blyde and Letaba rivers from their respective catchment areas. All this water eventually flows into the Olifants river and we certainly saw a rise in the level of the river as it came through our reserve due to inflow from the Blyde.
I have to admit it started to bring back memories from our last really big flood in 2012 where the river was even higher and our vehicles got bogged down in the soft mud as you can see in the picture.
The two photos below were taken from a Twitter post by Ronewa Mathephe where the devestating impact was recorded in Magoebaskloof.
Certainly, at Antares we were saved from the worst of the storm. Since then though the reserve has had regular downpours of rain and the veld is waterlogged and small pans are showing up everywhere. Frogs and toads are in heaven and large numbers of foam nest frog egg bundles are seen all over the reserve.
Birds too are having a great time and numerous unusual bird species are being found in the region, especially lesser moorhens, dwarf bitterns, a few different crake species and many others. Spiders too, especially the Garden and Golden orb-web species are in abundance (maybe not such great news for the arachnophobics) due to the massive surge in insect populations.
Africa really is a continent of feast or famine and 2021 is proving just that with the above average rainfall we are experiencing. Wouldn’t it be great if these flood waters could just wash away the impact of Covid-19 and we can all get back to “normal”? Sadly though that is wishful-thinking, and we wait along with the rest of the world for the roll-out of the vaccines. In the meantime, we continue with our precautions at the camp. Our guests thankfully don’t share the camp with strangers, but we still encourage people to social distance, hand sanitise and wear their masks when in closed spaces.