All Hail Leopard Hills

Posted on October 14, 2009

We were hit by the storm of all storms yesterday afternoon, unlike anything we have experienced before.

The heat was excessive yesterday afternoon, and by 16h00 dark clouds were looming on the horizon over the distant mountains. This in itself was not unusual and often marks the beginning of the summer rains.

The wind picked up from nowhere and by 17h00 everything went dark. The heavens open and thunder and lightning unleashed its ferocity on us with such vengeance it had us all running for cover. Hail stones the size of golf balls rained down on us and the noise was overpowering, windows shattered and trees came down.

For half an hour we were battered with such ferocity it seemed impossible there could be much left standing………..and then it was gone. Walking out the door into a scene that could have been from a movie about the aftermath of a hurricane, it was a different world to what had been a short time before.

Our Rangers had seen it coming from afar and taken refuge in neighboring Lodges and we played host to Rangers from other Lodges looking for a place to shelter, thankfully nobody was hurt, just the infrastructure had suffered a huge blow. Trees were down and stripped bare of their leaves, the gardens were flattened under a massive weight of ice, and rivers ran everywhere we walked. The swimming pools looked more like a place Buffalo would like to wallow, overflowing and filled with mud and ice.

We were very fortunate that there was minimal damage to the infrastructure and the clean up began immediately. The Leopard Hills Team pulled together as always and the Lodge was readied for the Guest return from the drive.

In the light of day this morning the true extent of the damage to the grounds was apparent, and as depressing as it is, we are working around the clock to return this beautiful place back to the way it was. The Lodge has survived a particularly savage onslaught and stood up well, it is business as usual and amazingly the game viewing this morning was as good as always, animals sheltered out the storm and are none the worse for wear.

The pictures below will tell the story better than I can, but we are all still here and life goes on.

0 thoughts on “All Hail Leopard Hills

  1. So Glad to hear that you are all uninjured, from experience we know how terrifying just the noise can be when nature lets loose, let alone the danger if you are exposed to the impacts.

    The photos are so descriptive, and yet sureal at the same time.

    Thinking of you all during the clean up.

  2. Wow, it looks like you all had a nasty storm there. Thankfully no one was hurt and no serious damages.
    It does truly look like snow fell upon Leopard Hills with all that hail.

    The photos do tell the story, once again thank goodness no one was injured.

  3. The last time you had a rain storm like that, Elaine and I were unable to drive ourselves to the camp and had to be collected from Savanna. The Sabi River and others were unpassable. Is it the same this time?

  4. Bruce, it’s not the rivers flowing that is the problem, we can all drive out the reserve no problem, it’s the hail damage, it’s terrible, Leopard Hills is fine as a lodge, few broken windows and dents to vehicles, it’s the lodge gardens that are destroyed, and the worst is we had just had the gardens re done and they were looking amazing, Debbie has spent weeks with a team upgrading them after winter, and they were looking amazing, so you can imagine how devastated Debbie feel?. All the leaves have been shreaded off the trees and to make matter worse….an elephant broke into the lodge and broke and ate the rest of the trees last night…..nature will pull back and with in time things will look normal again, I think we are all just a bit amazed at the force of nature, Dunx and I have NEVER seen anything like it and hope to never see it again. Hope you are both well and say Hi to the boys, hope to see you back at LH really soon. Thanks for following the blog. Lou

  5. The main thing here is the animals were not affected by it and we are up and running, business as usual, and there was no injuries incurred by anyone, we survived and have to chalk it down to experience.

  6. Unbelievable photos. So sorry for all the destruction, but I am so glad to hear that everyone is alright. I was wondering how the animals fared, but am glad to hear that they seem to be fine as well. Nature never ceases to amaze me. Take care.

  7. Unbelievable!!! The beginning of Ice Age? If I wouldn’t share a photos with friends, nobody would believe me!
    That’s really crazy – but we are glad you are fine and animals as well. Wow, it’s A LOT of work to do now!

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