Dangerous Dando!

Posted on January 24, 2012

Perched high atop our solid hill during the torrential cloudburst caused by Cyclone Dando, we were constantly alert and aware of the danger yet felt totally safe and secure as some lodges around us were evacuated, especially those on the sand river.

Somewhere beneath the floodwater in the below images is the sand river causeway that we usually cross over!

285mm of rain in around 60 hours transformed our western sabi sand traversing area into a wetland reminiscent of a muddy brown Okavango Delta. Dry river beds swelled into raging rivers fed by a myriad of newly formed drainage channels.

This is the view from Leopard Hills of the “dry” Mabrak river which surged into life, rose to record levels and came thundering below our camp.

Leopard Hills lodge faced the challenge and stood firmly, recording absolutely no damage and were up and running immediately, our biggest concern was making sure our guests made it through the muddy roads in the reserve and onto their trusty Land Rover.

The last few days’ game drives have been an adventure as the sun has returned to dry up the land, bringing us some great sightings in between one or two fun water crossings.

The sand river has widened, deposited lots of sand and opened up previously inaccessible areas for viewing the rest of the year!

The popular tegwan drinks spot has been transformed and the view of the river improved!

As the Mabrak river has begun to dry up some catfish were washed down and left stranded in isolated pools. Abraham, who many of you know very well relished the opportunity and showed our guests his fishing or should I say soccer skills!

10 thoughts on “Dangerous Dando!

  1. Some amazing pics Dave!!! Can hardly believe how much water the Sabi Sands has received, but the photos really paint a picture!
    Abraham REALLY wanted to get that catfish back on the Landy! 🙂

  2. Great pictures, looks like we left just in time,
    Glad to see you all survived the cyclone and best regards to everyone at LH.

  3. I was concerned when I read about all the flooding. So glad to hear that you are all OK. Hello to everyone.

  4. WOW….. So glad you all weathered the storm so well and so glad you have been able to find lots of positives. And wow! That is one big cat fish. LOL

  5. Wish we could have been there to help – add just a couple of hundred kilometres of wind per hour, and we would be beginning to get right into our area of expertise…….. SO glad all you guys are safe and sound, and look forward to the sitreps as they come in. Did you see much increased animal activity around lodge as the animals sought higher ground ?

  6. YUM! Catfish and hushpuppies! (for those of you who don’t know what hushpuppies are – they are corn fritters, very popular in our southern states. I guess they could be made with mealie meal. Anyway….
    Sure is a major change in the landscape.
    Glad all is well in LH! Joy in CA

  7. Hi Tim, could have used some of your expertise here!!

    We didn’t see any increased animal activity but then we were all taking refuge ourselves so may have missed them!

  8. I hadn’t heard about the storm. Glad to hear you came through without damage.
    Sometimes it is best to live on a hill.

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