Heavy flooding from Eloise forces Kruger National Park to shut camps and close roads
Durban - The Kruger National Park experienced severe rain and flooding in most areas after tropical storm Eloise hit parts of South Africa over the weekend.
The park, made up of around two million hectares of bushveld that runs through the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, was in the high impact zone as Eloise devastated parts of neighbouring Mozambique just days before.
South African National Parks communications and marketing manager Ike Phaahla told the African News Agency (ANA) on Monday that some parts of the Kruger Park were still under water and could only be accessed once the storm subsided.
“The park has experienced significant rainfall that led to the evacuation of bushveld camps and the closure of gravel roads. The Punda Maria to Shingwedzi main road only reopened today as well as the Mopani Phalaborwa road,” said Phaahla.
“Low lying bridges are submerged and we will have to assess once the water subsides.”
⚠️ALERT ⚠️— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) January 25, 2021
Crocodile Bridge gate closed due to rivers overflowing. pic.twitter.com/MCHMn57NgK
Prior to the arrival of Eloise, the Kruger National Park relocated tourists from areas which were expected to suffer the worst of the storm.
Paahla said the park would conduct a flyover on Monday to see if any animals were injured or killed during the storm, although he was confident many had survived as animals usually escape to higher ground before a storm arrives.
The Kruger National Park Twitter account has been flooded with images and videos of Eloise’s impact.
Bridge to Sirheni washed away. pic.twitter.com/wt7FhuZXR1— Kruger National Park (@SANParksKNP) January 24, 2021
Park management has urged tourists and residents nearby to steer clear of roads and low lying bridges as they still pose a threat.
“There might be a need to evacuate if the situation deteriorates further. Guests should cooperate with the disaster management people,” it said.
According to the South African Weather Service, Eloise is expected to bring continued rain, with flooding expected in parts of the KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.
#ExEloise (an overland depression) situated along the Limpopo and Botswana border. Its cloudy, windy and rainy over Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KZN and eastern North West province. #Eloise Heavy and/or persistent rain will result in flooding in northern KZN, eastern MP, SW LMP pic.twitter.com/qar4NGg1XB— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) January 25, 2021
Charters Creek in northern KZN received around 205 mm rainfall over the last 24 hours, the weather service posted on its Twitter account on Monday.
Komatidraai in Mpumalanga, adjacent to the Mozambican border, received around 127 mm of rain, while Nelspurit received 116 mm.
Parts of Venda and Mbombela in Limpopo also experienced severe rain over the weekend, resulting in motorists and pedestrians navigating through flooded roads.
African News Agency (ANA)