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Lodges in Limpopo are assessing damage to their properties after 450mm (18 inches) of rain fell in just a few days in the province, causing the Limpopo River to burst its banks, resulting in unprecedented water levels in surrounding areas.
Tuli Safari Lodge and Molema Bush Camp suffered considerable damage. “Flood waters rose very rapidly and engulfed much of the lodge up to two metres deep. We are pleased to report that all guests and staff members were safely evacuated,” said a statement by the lodge.
“We are currently undertaking a full assessment and will revert with more information as soon as possible, however we regret to inform you that both the lodge and the bush camp will remain closed until further notice,” continued the statement.
Mashatu Game Reserve in south-eastern Botswana said in a statement that it had suffered minimal damage from the flooding.
It, however, said the cable car that ferried tourists across the Limpopo River from South Africa into Botswana would require some repairs. In the interim, a boat will be used.
Mashatu said that, in spite of the negative impact of the floods, the area had, as a result, emerged from the crippling drought experienced in 2012.
“Mashatu’s recent drought was one of the worst in living memory. The die-off that resulted was a windfall for the many predators that abound on Mashatu. This era of bounty for the predators is now over,” said the statement.
The Limpopo Tourism Agency said that some of the resorts managed by its commercial division, Limpopo Wildlife Resorts (LWR), were hit hard by the floods. It is currently in the process of assessing of the extent of damage caused.
Affected products include: Mphephu Resort, Makuya (Singo) Park, Eclipse Tented Camp and Nwanedi Resort.The LTA said Mphephu Resort is completely inaccessible as the bridge to the resort has been washed away.
“We may not be able to make estimations of the damage caused by these floods but we can state that this has adversely affected tourism as visitors may not make it to some of these destinations any time soon,” said a statement by the LTA.
All the camps at Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site remain closed, according to spokesperson Divhani Maremba. The park is reportedly full of water, and the Limpopo River is still full to capacity. Maremba said clean-up operations had started. The camps will be open to the public from January 26.
• R572 from Musina to Mapungubwe is closed due to the collapse of the bridge at Weipe. The R572 to Pont drift is accessible by normal 2x4 vehicle.
• The park is open to day visitors with 4x4 vehicles to limited areas.
• All the roads in the park are still closed except the main road from the main gate to treetop.
• All staff members are safe and no injuries have been reported in the park.
• Most tourist facilities are still under water.
• The electricity has been restored and telephone lines are now working.
• Some animals have died.
• Staff accommodation affected is Limpopo Forest Tented Camp, Rhodes Drift, Schroda and Samaria Farm. Staff members at Samaria Farm have lost all their personal belongings and the road to the farm will not be accessible by road for days. All staff members will receive counselling as many are visibly traumatised.
• The following roads are closed: Schroda, all river roads, all 4x4 roads, Denstaat road, Tshugulu road, the road to the tented camp and Samaria road.