summer rains

At Sabi Sabi, when clouds appear on the horizon one can quite safely assume that if it rains, it will pour. With this in mind and the anniversary of the 2012 flood looming, we were on edge. Would there be an action replay of what was experienced one year ago almost to the day?

leopard taking a drink

When the rain started we were on safari and enjoying a great leopard sighting. Mahlatini male made us wait for him, reminding us that we were on his time, slowly waking once the light had faded. He drifted through the dense brush to eventually stop on the road for a drink and then disappear into the night. Our distraction now starting his evening’s foraging we suddenly realised the rain gaining momentum. It was time for a hot shower and another outstanding Bush Lodge dinner.

river flood

Dodging puddles while walking to the lodge in the morning wasn’t much of a surprise, seeing the Msuthlu River flowing in front of Bush Lodge was. Going from a dry riverbed to a raging river overnight could only mean that there was a huge amount of rain that had fallen in the last few hours.

river flood

Heading out onto the reserve revealed the impact caused by the sudden arrival of all this water. In 2012 we had double our average annual rainfall so the water table was already very high and having this storm hit us so hard was not a good combination. With no place for it to go underground there was water running everywhere. Driving along small rivers that any other day of the year would be roads was almost unbelievable. Taking the conditions into account, we were still fortunate enough to see a huge amount even though we were unable to cross the Msuthlu River.

fish jumping up stream

elephant at Sabi Sabi on safari

It is not for us to decide when the rains will come and how much we will receive, regardless of how badly the bush needs it or not. The rains do not consider the fact that there are guests here from all parts of the world that would like to get a look at our legendary wildlife. If viewed from above, I’m sure, all the tributaries and rivers would resemble a network of veins and arteries. The rains come for only one reason, to provide the most valuable resource out here. This resource is water, the lifeblood of the Lowveld.

hyena on road while on sabi sabi safari

zebra on the plains at sabi sabi

by: Simon Smit (Bush Lodge ranger)


    • simon says

      Tim, haha, that is the “dry river bed” that runs past Nkombe Camp, the photos were taken at the first river crossing south of the camp at Tortilis Crossing. You familiar with the property?

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