19 January 2012
When morning broke after 225mm of rain it wasn’t a clear one, but at least it was dry. The river had subsided during the night and things are beginning to return to normal. Being on sloping ground (the east side of the Lebombo hills), and thanks to the storm water trenches we constructed in November, the camp wasn’t flooded and fortunately suffered no damage.
The surrounding areas weren’t so lucky, according to the news. Kruger National Park, my neighbour less than three km to the west, took a huge hit in places and Hoedspruit, where I landed four days ago, saw people being airlifted off roofs and out of trees. South of here in Mozambique the raging Olifants river is still piling into the huge Massingir dam with the level rising dangerously despite all floodgates jetting water at full volume.
I’ve also learned that the beast has a name: Dando tropical depression, wayward child of tempestuous la Nina. (Not that the SA Weather Service would know that of course, otherwise they would have issued a warning.)
Good news is that the guy who was on his way here with a supply truck managed to turn back to Massingir safely after being halted by the flooded Madonse river. Another effort will be made to get through with supplies tomorrow and the expected guests will then be shuttled in by chopper.
Through all this the bush has been strangely quiet. The resident baboon troop didn’t make a sound and even the normally raucous birds have been subdued. I suppose one doesn’t really have much inclination for singing after sitting it out in so much rain.