Skip to Content

The flood, February 2000

Discuss and find information on the Kruger National Park
User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3461
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:52 pm
Location: Africa's Largest City

Re: The flood, February 2000

Unread postby Pjw » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:23 pm

Here it is

The building is almost double storey height. The top line is the 2000 floods on 09 feb
2nd line is1977
3rd is1972
and so on. This is the flood levels for the Levubu/Limpopo river confluence and this building is quite some distance from the river. The amount of water that must have passed through is frightening
"In the end we conserve only that which we love, we love only that which we understand, we understand only that which we are taught"
(Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist)

User avatar
Posts: 71
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:10 pm
Location: Secunda

2000 Kruger Floods

Unread postby SilverSpur » Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:08 am

Hi All,

With the 2000 floods 10 year anniversary just around the corner I would like to know the recovery status of the areas affected.

Especially the section between Kruger Gate and Lower-Sabie. At that time the landscape changed dramatically and seems to have recovered well.

What happened to the heroes of the day? Where are they now?

Should something like this happen again does SANParks have a disaster plan in place?

Any comments or feedback is welcome



Posts: 4758
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:22 am

Re: 2000 Kruger Floods

Unread postby Scipio » Mon Jan 18, 2010 2:15 pm

Huge floods/weather systems like this are probably cyclical. Does anyone have any idea when the next one is expected?

Yoda, one like that may or may never happen again. :hmz:

The rivers burst their banks at various places on the 7th of February 2000, with the real flooding following 0n the ninth in the South. It lasted a while & the change pre flood to after flood can still be seen, some debris from the floods 10 years ago, can actually also still be seen. :big_eyes:

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2726
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: Nomad in my mind

Re: 2000 Kruger Floods

Unread postby Shi » Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:36 pm

I was in Kruger shortly after the 2000 floods.
We stayed in Skukuza and I remember that some of the staff members were staying in the bungalows below ours.
One was a single mom with her two sons, both of whom took to me and SO at the time.
They took us to the staff village to show us the damage to their living quarters.
It was extensive... with mud and water marks going up more than three quarters of the walls.
The vegetation along the river was completely flattened and you could see in for km's.
It is the first and only time I have ever seen cheetah swim!!!
The vegetation today, whilst getting there, is still IMO not as lush and dense as it was prior to the floods.
In Dec 08 we stayed at the Nyathi guest house in Skukuza for 3 nights.
The park had a huge amount of rain one evening and we thought the river might burst its banks again at one stage.
The river rose so rapidly over such a short space that a boulder that was jutting more than two thirds out of the water was completely submerged in the space of an hour.
This is also the first time that I have EVER seen water in the N'waswitshaka reed bed near the camp.
It was fantastic to see the river that full again and by the next day the water had dissipated and dispersed into hundreds of little nooks and crannies.
"I have a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Lebombo mountains"

2010 KNP
Nov 13-14 Lower Sabie, 15-18 Satara, 19-22 Skukuza,22-27 Biyamiti
Dec 24-27 Biyamiti, 28-29 Orpen, 30-31 Skukuza
Thought for the day
TR March 2010

Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 445
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 10:30 pm


Unread postby steamtrainfan » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:11 pm

As this year is the 10th anniversary of the devastating floods that hit Kruger in February 2000 and having just watched the DVD I bought at Timbavati last month I must pay homage to all the staff who risked their own lives in order to save other people and their belongings.
Not one life was lost.
Looking at some of the scenes in this DVD I just cannot believe what I was seeing.
In the one scene the water is almost level with the railway line over the Sabie River near Skukuza.
In order to celebrate the amazing recovery from the devastation of 10 years ago does anyone have any tales to tell or pictures to share with us forumites.
I do not have any so I am looking forward to seeing input from other forumites.
Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark. Author unknown.

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14530
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA


Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:15 pm


The might of water is unbelievable. I could not believe some things I saw, in the aftermath of those floods.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit

One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 14530
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA


Unread postby Imberbe » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:27 pm

I wasn't there during the actual floods, only about a week later.

I saw a house where the Crocodile river went through the second story windows, taking a part of the roof with it. That house usually stands approx. 200 meters from the water. :big_eyes:

I saw huge huge trees ... well actually I did not see them any longer. Large tracts of the river was completely cleared of big trees.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit

One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 3183
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:57 pm
Location: Randburg, SA


Unread postby oddesy » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:18 am

I was there a few weeks after the floods and can still remember how everything was completely different, i have a few pics at home that ill post when ai get a chance of a low water bridge that was completely washed away and looked like a war zone.

The floods did cause alot of damage but one positive was that it has allowed for a large amount of VERY important ecological studies to be done on the rivers because it basically re-set the system so we can now see if theories hold and then come up with revided versions its very interesting stuff.
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle

User avatar
Posts: 403
Joined: Tue Mar 25, 2008 11:47 am
Location: Centurion


Unread postby alf » Mon Sep 06, 2010 1:37 pm

There is photo's inside the hide at shimuwini of the floods. There they also say that all staff were evacuated by helicopter. All units were rebuild after the floods except units 1-3 if i remember correctly.
Made my booking for Desember 2014!! Whoohoo

Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:29 pm
Location: Okavango


Unread postby o-dog » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:44 pm

Bush Baptist wrote:The Sabie river along 'Eloff Street' changed its 'face' forever, with the gnarled trees and debris replacing areas where gentle river banks had been.

It was terribly sad to loose all those huge old trees along the river banks.
From an aesthetical point of view also the Sabi River was the worst hit in my opinion.
I hear 50 years at least for it to get to anywhere near its pre2000 state.
The Luvuvhu River in the north, one of my favourites was also very damaged and lacks the charm it once had.
But for me the image that stands out the most is the one I saw at Letaba reception which shows the water rushing over the Letaba High Water bridge.
The bridge is very high (maybe 40-50 metres or more?)and the river at least a few hundred metres wide in parts and through the 90's it was pretty much bone dry.
I had hoped to see it flowing one day so this pic just defies belief!
We were there a month after the big flood and the river was still flowing strongly although not very deeply.
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

User avatar
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 903
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:27 pm
Location: Not in KNP.....


Unread postby gerharddb » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:35 pm

I was 'privileged' to fly with the South African Air force and the Army in the rescue operations ( My dad was a Lt.Col that participated in the rescue) and saw the damage caused by the floods from another viewpoint.
It was mind boggling and a sad sight indeed!
Saw quite a few household stuff like fridges, couches, cupboards, beds and even a piano going down the river. And then a few animals as well!!
A lot of damage was done to people.
After speaking to a few people who 'know' a lot about nature it sounds like it was a good thing that happened. Systems needed to be flushed and new ecosystems were born so to speak.
But to human it was disastrous!
Ratpack Member.

The currents that shape our lives, flow from the attitudes we nurture everyday!

User avatar
Posts: 14828
Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:31 pm
Location: Ballito, KZN North Coast, South Africa


Unread postby Elsa » Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:37 pm

I remember when we visited the park in May 2000 the thing that I found unbelievable, apart from all the other damage, was that even part of the tar on the Lower Sabie/Skukuza road had been lifted and washed away so strong was the flow of water right up there. :shock:

Gerhard, to see it from the air must have been quite mind blowing!
Where ever you go, go with all your Heart.

User avatar
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:37 am
Location: Gauteng


Unread postby Jen » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:10 pm

The bad floods where in Feb 2000.
There was another bad flood on the 19th March 2000.
It was a long weekend and we were staying in the furnished tents at Letaba (#19) .
I remember it poured with rain all night and when we woke up to get ready for gate opening it was still pouring so we stayed in bed a while longer.
The rain eventually eased and we decided to drive to Mooiplaas for breakfast as most dirt roads were closed due to the heavy rain.
We crossed the high level bridge (heading north) at about 9am - the water was slightly above "normal level".
In fact they had only just re-opened the bridge with a temporary "sand ramp" to the bridge which had been washed away in the February floods.
We had a nice Skottel breakfast and decided to head back to camp.
On route a few cars flagged us down and told us we could not get back to Letaba camp as the bridge was underwater - we ignored them as it was now about 12h30 and we had only driven over it a couple of hours before!
After about the 4th car had the same story we started to think we may have a problem!
Curious to see for ourselves we headed south and sure enough the bridge was underwater!!!
What a sight to see - the Letaba river in flood, Bank to Bank.
We had always dreamed of seeing it full - now we joke "be careful what you wish for" !

The section ranger, Johan Oelofse was there and a couple of other cars - he allowed us to get out of our vehicles and walk to the edge of the bridge.
At that stage the level was still rising!
After watching it for a while and getting some great photo's, slides and video (days before digital unfortunately) we chatted to Johan who advised us to spend the night at Mopani!
We headed to Mopani and once there chatted to some of the rangers who said if the level continued to rise we may be stuck there for a few days!
We decided to head further North and spend the night at Shingwedzi camp - and exit the park at Punda Maria the following morning.
We woke up early and when staff could not confirm if the bridge was still flooded or not we headed for Punda Maria and exited the park.
Luckily we drove a 4x4 otherwise I don't think we would have made it back on the back roads as most streams were in flood.
We became a taxi service as each time we slowed to examine a river crossing more & more locals asked if they could jump on the back of the bakkie to get across the river !
No cars could pass through.
We eventually reached Mica and refueled & dropped off our passengers - even the petrol station was flooded!
We eventually made our way back to Letaba camp to spend one more night!
They re-opened the bridge later that day after doing emergency repairs!
It was a fantastic sight to see which really made us realise how powerful water can be and how quickly a river can flood!

If I can remeber how to post photo's I will scan in the few I have and post them here.
Napi Tail - Feb 2015

Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1664
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:29 am
Location: Worcester , Cape


Unread postby okie » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:28 pm

We were in KNP a week before the floods . They had already had a lot of rains , and I recall that we saw a car that had washed off the low-water bridge over the H5 , just off the H4-2 .
We visited again a few months later and could not believe to see how high the water had pushed up along the Sabie river banks and with all the treestumps even still there today . :big_eyes:
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .

User avatar
Posts: 199
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:37 am
Location: Gauteng


Unread postby Jen » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:32 pm

@ Rooies - Yes it was awesome to see !!!!

I have scanned some of my photographs - they are nothing fancy, please bear in mind they were taken with an old "point and shoot" before the days of digital!

This was the sticker Kruger released after the floods - assume it was to raise money!


The river when the level started to rise mid-morning... The damaged to the rails etc. was still from the Feb floods.


I took this photo at about 12h30...

Napi Tail - Feb 2015

Return to “Kruger National Park”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: wildebeeste and 8 guests