Today’s Elwica’s birthday (I won’t reveal her age, as that will also be revealing my age), so as a birthday treat we again headed for the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park for a day of nature.
We timed our arrival perfectly, right as the gates opened, and were the first car to enter the park that day. This time around we headed for the iMfolozi side of the park and were greeted by a red African sunrise over valleys covered in fog…
Last weekend we went on safari. The oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa, the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, is only about an hour’s drive away from us. We’ve been living here two years, and have never been there. So when my mom came to visit for the minion’s birthday, we decided the time was ripe to give it a visit.
Remember how I said the road will be covered by lunchtime? It was:
By dinnertime the water was through our gate:
It reached a high point around 10PM Tuesday night, still a few inches below the bottom row of post boxes (2010 had the two bottom rows underwader, so the level was a good half-meter below the worst flood we’ve experienced here).
By the time we woke up yesterday morning the water had already begun to recede, but the view at the weir downstream was still impressive:
Measuring by how much of the tree trunks are below the waterline, I estimate the water was flowing about a meter deep over the weir. That’s a LOT of water, people!
By lunchtime yesterday, we could see the road again…well, the mud covering the road, at least. And late afternoon we had a visitor taking advantage of the temporary wetlands with an abundance of forcibly relocated crabs and frogs.
This morning the river is safely back in its channel, and all that remains is lots of mud riddled with the little scratches of crabs that woke up to find they’re not in the water any more, and that there are predators about.
As stressful as it is to see the water rising, I’m glad I got to experience this one last time before we leave. It is humbling and inspiring to see the power of nature unleashed in this way.
“We need to get a proper camera before the baby gets here.”
Thus spoke the missus as we’re strolling through a big department store during our March vacation. We had two Fuji Finepix cameras dating from the turn of the millennium which I’d inherited as my folks upgraded to DSLRs and which did their jobs well enough, but she had a point. Back when my father had bought them they were pretty nifty, but that was over a decade ago. It was time for an upgrade.
Just checking in to inform you that I’ve abducted my wife. Don’t worry. She came willingly.
Today the missus and I celebrate five years of managing not to push each other out the window in a crime of passion and to mark the occasion I have whisked her away to an undisclosed location for the weekend. I will reveal that there is a fireplace (I don’t know what we were thinking getting hitched on midwinter’s day – it’s not like we’re druids or anything), South African bubbly (apparently you’re not allowed to call it champagne unless it was actually produced in France), and rose petals on the bed. Do I know how to spoil my lady or what?
So, I’m off. You are welcome to leave your congratulatory messages in the comments, but don’t expect a reply before Monday – the computer and smart phone are staying at home this weekend.
I’ll leave you with these previously unpublished photos from our honeymoon. (Click on the images to view them full size and press “Escape” when you’re done)