It’s Monday 13th October 2008 and the first rains fall

It’s Monday 13th October 2008 and the first rains fall

The seasons are a-changing … as the heat has slowly been building up, our ice consumption has gone through the roof and everyone is feeling the mid-afternoon slumps. It’s a tradition for everyone to place bets for the date of the first rains in the valley as we discuss the river levels (we can now drive across the river at the pontoon crossing) and the upcoming rainy season.

The vague promise of rainZebra looking goofy or  contemptuous?

Just about everyone has an opinion – will the rains be early? Will there be enough rain, or too much? To be honest no one can really knows, but it’s a lot of fun to debate. Several days have seen the clouds build up, a blustery wind blow but only end in disappointment. Everything is beginning to look a little tired, the dusty haze has given a slower pace to life and as the wind blows the animals look on with contempt as the dust swirls about.

In the heat and dryness, a giraffe and lioness are  searching for water in close proximityElephants  seeking relief from the hear in the shade

Then on Saturday something in the air changed and there was a freshness on the wind and the animals looked a little nervous.  Is it really going to rain today? But it’s still early so we believe the wind is just teasing us and carry on as normal. A few fat drops fell and disappeared instantly into the soil. Then frequency of drops increase, the animals started to act up – racing away, the yearlings were especially frisky.

Grumpy lionessFrisky young zebra

At this time of year rainfall is very localized with some areas receiving a light shower and others receiving the full force of an early thunderstorm. Nkwali guests managed to stay dry while Nsefu and Tena Tena camps were given the full whack! A very exciting evening was had. The Tena Tena bar floor had a fabulous adobe finish – that wasn’t quite up for the amount of water. So we have dug it all up and replaced it with sand ensuring quick drainage of the excess water. 

The  bar that was at Tena - now replaced with a sandy floorRocky - bye bye!!

The staff were also caught out as we were having sundowners on the beach to say goodbye to Rocky (who is going to start a new life in Australia – we wish him all the best and will miss his sparky personality, laugh and enthusiasm and all things bush!) and had to move into Robin and Jo’s house to finish the evening off.

Clear air after the stormThe littlest warthogs

One of the biggest treats of the first rains is the feeling of new beginnings – the smell of the air, damp soil (one of my all time favourite smells), the dusty smoky haze has settled and the expanse of view increases. Everything looks cleaner and the animals have an extra spring in their step. All of the impalas are looking rather fat and the first babies will start to drop soon. The baby warthogs are already about – 5 little tails running through the dry grass. It is a very exciting time of year – new green buds on the trees, babies and migratory birds.

We are all now eagerly waiting for the rest of the rains and debating whether these few showers and storms are here for a while or whether the air will dry up again and we’ll be waiting until December. The unpredictability of it all makes it all the more fun!

Have a fabulous week!



Hippos and  crocs converging in low water levels

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