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Here comes the flood!

Written By: admin on April 17, 2009 No Comment

I am often asked what the weather and seasons are like in Botswana. This is the “rainy season,” Everyday is quite the same… generally in the mornings, it is a bit cool, the temperature around 63 degrees Fahrenheit, and heats up considerably with the sun by the afternoons with highs averaging 87 degrees. It is mostly sunny with cumulus clouds building to ominous mushrooms, humidity rises, barometer drops until by early evening, introduced by gusts of cool
winds, it reaches a pinnacle of scattered, isolated thunder and lightening storms accompanied by torrential downpours!

Flood plains March 8, 2009

Flood plains March 8, 2009

Today is a typical day in Kasane for this time of year, but with one immense difference; the river rose 2 meters in one day! We are experiencing surges of flood waters, which have been recorded as the worst since 1965,,. and we are receiving warnings that a second, higher surge is yet to come! But the sudden rise has not been caused by our weather here, rather from the rivers flowing into our region from the north, accumulating much more rains from the northern reaches of Angola, Zambia and Namibia!

To understand the phenomenon, one must get a grasp of our river system in the 5 country region; Streaming down between Angola and Zambia is the Kuando river which runs southeast, then forks streaming both into the Okavango river (eventually the Delta) and easterly merging as the Linyanti river, which is the border between Botswana and Namibia’s Caprivi strip. The Linyanti flows east into the Chobe river. Passing our home town base of  Kasane/Kazangula, the Chobe finally converges with the Zambezi river. The Zambezi has been working it’s way south from a different direction, through Zambia and then as the Zambia/Namibia border. In the end both the Zambezi and Chobe converged as one, pour over the  beautiful Victoria Falls, which can be viewed from both Zambia and
Zimbabwe. Also, in Angola, the waters of the Cuito river flow south feeding into the Okavango, intensifying the flood waters in the Delta. Confusing? Yes… but helps to explain where all the water comes from!

Floodplains March24, 2009

Floodplains March24, 2009

To see map of Elephants Without Borders base in Kazangula, where the rivers converge, click  on

To see photos of Victoria and Sioma Falls, click on our gallery

The rains continue to pour up north, intensifying the already extensive flooding. The rapidly rising water levels in this river system has already caused the evacuation of over 25,000 people in Angola and 19,000 people on both sides of the borders of Namibia and Botswana! The flood waters continue to cause havoc, threatening villages and settlements on the plains, swamped crops causing food shortages and the spread of waterborne diseases.
Wildlife and livestock have been swept away, drowned or been taken by crocodiles, The government has advised people to move to higher ground, schooling has been disrupted, and the local fishing industry has been ordered to halt their activities. Relief aid has been dispatched including tarpaulins, shelter kits, water-purifying tablets, blankets, clothing, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, soap and jerry cans. Everyone is buckling down to take the necessary measures to ensure that further flooding causes minimal damage to both property and lives.

However, we can also look at the brighter side to all this water! In the latter half of the year, typically this region experiences tremendous dry spells during what we call obviously the “dry season.” It is not uncommon to experience not a single drop of rain in the months between May/June until late November! The land becomes barren, the heat and sun intensify until it is unbearable, as man and beast alike await with aggravated patience for the rain and waters to come. So… with the intensity of the floods this year, with the Delta flooding as it is, everything will come to Life!
Many channels and known dry river beds, which have not held water for years are expected to flow again, revitalizing the ecosystem. The environment, wildlife, and plantlife will be rejuvenated to such a degree, that we haven’t seen for some time.

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