March 2016 was an eventful month on the Reserve, a busy time with school holidays and the Easter period.
Of special interest was a hippo who took a liking to the swimming pool. On his first visit, he surprisingly splashed into the pool one evening when already occupied by human swimmers! Fortunately there was no user conflict as the members opted for discretion over valour. These circumstances provided a huge talking point, especially between Moses and Timothy who had the unenvious task of removing tons of digested and processed grass from the pool. You cannot believe how much dung was produced during the dark hours.
A single electric fence strand was spanned around the pool to discourage the hippo from returning. The purchase of this mobile device was strongly supported by Moses and Timothy, which you can well appreciate. We continued pumping water to the causeway as a massive hint in the hope that the hippo’s visit to our chlorinated waters was a once off. And so it seemed, occupation resumed at the causeway.
The electric strand was hardly removed when there was a repeat visit. This time the circumstances were more favourable for management. The visit occurred at sunrise, with minimal dunging. Staff gathered at the deep end, armed with swimming pool cleaning nets, brushes and very long poles, and managed to gently encourage the hippo to the shallow end. Having learned from previous experience the hippo seemed to remember that an exit at the shallow end was possible and duly did the honours to a standing ovation from the staff. Much excitement!
The story made the front page of Mail Online (Travel News) in the UK.
In the same time period the region was blessed with some really good rain, especially in the Nhlaralumi catchment.
Even though we only measured 30mm at the weather station, early word on the street was that the river was flowing, bank to bank, at Timbavati crossing. On this occasion there was a marginal head of water, and four hours later the head passed by the office complex and commenced flowing through the causeway. It was a wonderful “first time’ experience for some, and these amateur snap shots show the flow making its progress along the river course.
The rain was so welcome, with good run off, filling all the natural mud wallows and pans. The drought is far from over, but the veld has come on considerably, providing a much needed nutritional bite for the grazers. This will help some through the winter bottle neck that lies ahead.
As advertised, the mini fund raising Ingwelala Challenge took place on the Easter Saturday. It was a glorious morning to be out there, testing your bush knowledge and off-road driving skills. The event organisers, John and Des Fuller, from Bungalow # 42 and their course marshals did our community proud. We take our hats off to you guys, the level of detail, the organising, all very professional, and by popular demand there is no doubt it will become an annual event. Thank you to Retief van der Reyden in Bungalow # 86 for all the fantastic photographs.
Best dressed vehicle
Ingwelala Challenge Apparel
Blindfolded & very trusting
Wading the waters
Tree and Bird identification at The Platform
The Judges tallying the final scores
John Fuller (left) with the worthy winners (Bungalow #39)
Preparing 250 yummy boerewors rolls
Thank you to the many participants (of all ages and ability) who supported this initiative, a lot of fun was had in between a wonderful educational experience.
Thank you to all the sponsors for the wonderful prizes.
by John Llewellyn