18 January 2012
Rain. Lots of it. All day yesterday, throughout the night, and still it’s pouring down. More than 200mm so far, with plenty more to come by the looks of it. This is the big one that the whole Shingwedzi valley system has been thirstily waiting for. The pools are overflowing and have joined up to become a wide stream where the crocs can swim at will again and meet up with old friends and family. Hippo, fish and all things aquatic are having their world restored and now enter a new cycle of life.
On the human side things are a lot less rosy. With my fire rained out there’s no hot water and no way to cook a meal or even make coffee. Water is streaming through camp on all sides and the river is rising alarmingly. No plane can land on the swamped airstrip and I’m sure the road will be quite impassable due to flooded river crossings and miles and miles of mud.
I got my internet going again and on the news it says neighbouring Kruger Park has closed some gates (including Giriyondo where I passed through the day before yesterday) and is in the process of evacuating people in some places.
What about the group of ecologists and other guests who would have flown here from Massingir tomorrow? Communication has been difficult and erratic but last I heard, after I’d sent a warning that the runway is down and that flooding’s underway, was that they would still be arriving, presumably by road or helicopter. Well, I have a helipad cleared and marked for them (even though the ash with which I’d chalked out the big H has probably washed away by now) but the road most definitely won’t be an option.
More worrying is the short text message I received that said the advance supplies that would have been flown in yesterday were sent ahead by road this morning to reach my camp later today. If that is indeed the case it would mean that somewhere out there on that lonely track somebody with a heavily loaded vehicle may be in trouble right now.
As I sit here amongst the buckets in my leaky kitchen shack with incessant rain sheeting down and thunder booming through the gloom, I can’t help being worried about him.