Day 83 (Jan 22nd)
We woke to a beautiful sunny day with a cloudless blue sky................so different from recent days.
We had planned an early drive into Paradise, but fate had other plans!!!
The remote for the our gate wasn't working, and we didn't know how to turn on the manual function!!
We had to wait until we could find our neighbours who are caretakers for the property, and by that time the moment had passed, so we decided to stay put!!!
It will be chicken and chips tonight, an early night, and then hopefully a trip to Paradise tomorrow!!
To be continued................Day 84 (Jan 23rd)
It was a very eerie day in the park today......very few animals or birds, and no other cars. It was as though everyone had gone into mourning for the events of the last few days.
We decided to check out the H14 causeway, to see exactly what the damage was, and whether work had begun to repair it.
Most of the dirt roads were now open, except the first section of the S131,from the turning off the H9 near the gate, right around to the junction with the H14.
As we turned on to the H14 we saw the same notice from Monday, about the causeway being flooded, but there was no barrier, so we presumed we could drive up as far as the causeway, and presumably people from Mopani would be able to drive down to the other side of it.
We got as far as Shikumbu before we saw our first animal..............a lone Impala Ram lying down. We wanted to tell him to be careful, because the last time we were here, we had seen six Lions, and a Leopard!!
We drove on and near the turning to Nandzana, we saw three Zebra by the side of the road. They began to cross, and we could see that one of them was limping. As we continued to watch, we could see that it was his front left leg that was the problem............poor old thing!!
At the high level bridge by the Nandzana turning we were amazed at how much water was flowing in the Ngwenyeni, which is usually a dry river bed!!
It was the same at the next high level bridge, only I think there was even more water!!
We had still only seen the Impie and Zebbies, and no other cars when we arrived at the causeway!!
What a sight that was.................we could not actually drive down to the causeway because it was blocked off, but we got as close as we could to take a photo!!
Since our two month stay in Phala last year and the four month one this year, we think of the causeway as "ours" and often drive up and just sit and watch what appears........we have "friends" there, like the two resident Hippos, a group of Waterbuck and Impala, three Giraffe, a beautiful male Kudu, and a tusker who's name escapes me at the moment!!
Where were they all now.............we just prayed that they were safe!!
I took a quick photo, because I know that other mites are interested in how the flooding has affected the park, but I took no pleasure in it!
On the way home we saw a pretty Lilac Breasted Roller, although he was a fair distance away, so not the best of photos.
We did however have one amusing (all be it almost scary!!) incident on this sad day.
I spotted a lone Ellie on my side of the road, so asked Dungy to stop, so that I could take a quick photo..........yes I am getting brave in my old age!!
Well he didn't position the car very well, but I made the best of it, and I told him we could move on, when he said "But when are you going to take your photo, and why are you looking in the wrong direction?"
I turned to ask him what the heck he was talking about, and saw another huge Ellie on his side of the road!!
He had not seen mine, and I had not seen his!!! It just shows how accidents can happen at Ellie sightings!!
We were soon back at Phala Gate, and the only vehicles we saw on the H9 were two Jeep Jockeys, who mentioned we were the first car that they had seen all afternoon.
I don't know how long it will take to repair the causeway. It looks as though it has been damaged by some large trees that were obviously washed down by the raging river.
I will keep you all posted on the progress.
We were both in a very sombre mood as we sipped our Amarulas that night, after an easy dinner of roasted chicken thighs and cheesey mash.
Our beloved park had been violated, and that hurt us deeply.
I know it's "nature taking it's course" and this sort of thing happens periodically etc etc, but it is still very painful to see it first hand.
I have been looking at the photos of Shingwedzi and Pafuri.............as some of you know, that is my absolute favourite part of the whole park!! My keyboard was very wet for a long time, I can tell you.
The poor staff at Shing have lost eveything, and I don't suppose that they had much to start with!! It is a very different camp from the one we visited with the kids in December. How many of the lovely animals that we saw have not survived?
There have been other floods over the years, and things do return to normal, so I suppose I must just be patient and wait.