Rain, rain, rain!

February saw plenty of rain all over the Nothern part of the country, and Welgevonden was no exception. We had several days of almost continuous rain, converting the Waterberg into exactly what its name suggests, a mountain full of water. The rivers and springs started flowing, and dams that haven’t had water for two years filled up.
Water streams and fountains flowed from mountain sides in unexpected places. The average rainfall for February across the reserve was 218mm, some areas had as much as 300mm, which brought back memories of the 2000 season.

However, the rain also caused some problems as vehicles were unable to cross low-level bridges, and muddy patches made it impossible to drive on some roads. One vehicle had to be retrieved from a low water bridge after it got water in the engine, and on another occasion, management had to retrieve guests at a lodge after they couldn’t cross a bridge.

Unfortunately, access to the reserve is limited due to the Bakkerspas road being closed after serious water damage when a dam broke in the area, preventing access to the reserve via South Gate.

It is also not advisable to use the road to East Gate, as damage to a low-level bridge could cause it to collapse if a car is driven over it. Access via West Gate was also limited due to damage to the Schoongelegen road, but after some work on the road, it is now passable.

The road team packed rocks in some of the worse places, but except for that, there is not much more that can be done at the moment. Some of the heavy machines have got stuck already when they tried to move some soil to fix washed away areas. They will just have to wait until the reserve dries up somewhat before the maintenance programme can be resumed. Despite all the extra work the rain brought, everybody welcomed it with open arms and brought smiles on the faces of most after three very dry years.