The flooded gate at Punda Maria this morning. Photo supplied.
Date: 11 February 2020 By: Andries van Zyl
SANParks has announced that several roads and facilities in the Kruger National Park (KNP) will be closed due to the ongoing heavy rains.
SANParks said in a media statement that various parts of the KNP, in particular the far north, have received heavy rains since Monday and that management would like to advise guests driving inside the park to be on the look-out and avoid using the gravel roads until further notice. The high intensity rain, especially in the north of the park, is expected to start clearing by tomorrow, 12 February, but the rivers might continue to rise/peak for some time, said SANParks.
Reynold Thakhuli (SANParks acting head of communications) said a decision has been taken to close most of the gravel roads in the park for safety reasons. “As a precautionary measure gravel roads and remote camps mostly in the north of the park have temporarily been closed and guests booked in the flagged camps are being moved to safer camps. These closures are necessary to ensure visitors’ safety during this time and we would like to advise guests to stick to the tar roads whilst driving inside the Park,” said Thakhuli.
The remote camps and gravel roads which are temporarily closed are as follows:
* Nyalaland Wilderness Trail
* Sirheni Bush Camp
* Bateleur Bush Camp
* Shimuwini Bush Camp
* All gravel roads in the Nxanatseni (north) region of the park from Pafuri to Letaba will be closed; with the exception of Giriyondo gravel road as it will be operational but monitored closely as well as a few others, depending on the developments.
Thakhuli advised guests to avoid all roads with a ‘No Entry’ sign or blocked with other objects. He also urged visitors who would like to enquire or send communication related to the rainfall to please contact the Emergency Centre Numbers 013 735 0197 or 076 801 9679. “Most of the areas in the park do not have mobile phone coverage and we encourage those who have access to social media platforms to assist by posting valuable updates on SANParks – Kruger National Park page,” said Thakhuli.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.