Water Everywhere

Punda Maria flooding in December.
? Johann Oelofse


A special warning was issued over the weekend of 28 January that the Olifants river would be in flood following the opening of the sluices at the Flag Boshielo and Loskop Dams. In December heavy thunderstorms left some of the Kruger National Park (KNP) dealing with flooded areas.

Some holidaymakers in the northern region of Kruger were cut off from the rest of the Park due to heavy rains and flooding in the region. The Sirheni, northwest of the Shingwedzi camp in the north of the Park, was one of the worst affected camps.

Following days of consistent downpours, Sirheni was completely inaccessible. Johann Oelofse, section ranger at Mooiplaas, recorded an extraordinary sight when he accompanied his wife Jocelyn to Punda Maria on December 17.

The Shisha River and tributaries like the Hlamalala-spruit, Nwashitsumbe-spruit and Stangeni-spruit were in exceptionally high flood, not witnessed by Johann eithet before or since the 2000 floods.

On their way north between 08h00 and 09h00 they had to paddle their way through water at two places and again on their return between 12h00 and 13h00 they found water flooding the tarred road at five localities.

Many cars en route from Mopani and Shingwedzi camps had to be diverted to Letaba camp and Phalaborwa Gate. 'The route via Letaba was dictated by the Letaba River that was also in flood and over the level of the low-water bridge between Mopani and Phalaborwa,' says Johann.



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