Heavy rains leave bridges, roads impassable
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The Kruger National Park has warned visitors not to use the Crocodile Bridge entrance as heavy rains have caused the Crocodile River to overflow.
Kruger Park managing executive Abe Sibiya said heavy rainfall since Tuesday had made the low-water bridge over the Crocodile River unsafe for human passage.
The heavy rains have been caused by Cyclone Dando, which has hit Maruleng and Ba-Palaborwa and resulted in some communities, in areas like Finale, being cut-off.
According to the departments of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, the Hoedspruit area is the most affected, with up to 380mm of rain having been measured.
The Blyde and Klaserie dams were overflowing.
Disaster management from the province is conducting rescue operations, and by yesterday afternoon no deaths or casualties had been reported.
Meanwhile, several roads in and around the Kruger Park have been closed.
“No vehicle will be allowed to enter or exit through the Crocodile Bridge entrance gate until further notice,” Sibiya said.
The Giriyondo border gate and several other Kruger tourist roads had also been affected, mostly those with low-water crossings or bridges.
Sibiya said the closures were necessary to ensure the safety of visitors and advised travellers to exercise caution and use alternative roads.
He said most gravel roads had been affected and were closed, while phone lines at various workstations had also been hit.
“There is a possibility that more roads might be closed due to more water coming in. The technical services team is monitoring the situation and will find access routes for guests who are affected,” said Sibiya.
Guests who had booked in at the affected camps in the next few days had been informed of the situation.
“On behalf of management, we take this opportunity to apologise to all our guests for the inconveniences which they may have suffered as result of this situation,” he said.
Routes that have been temporarily closed are:
l Crocodile Bridge entrance gate. Use the Malelane gate as an alternative;
l Giriyondo border gate;
l Makhadzi picnic spot;
l Shimuwini bush camp;
l 9km road to Olifants camp from main road (all access roads to Olifants closed);
l Road between Olifants and Satara;
l Sirheni bush camp;
l Tsendze road between Phalaborwa and Mopani. Guests advised to use Phalaborwa-Letaba road;
l Letaba Nhlanganini Bridge;
l Letaba camp – filling station and camping site affected;
l H25 gravel road between Malelane gate and Crocodile Bridge camp;
l S145 – to Talamati bush camp;
l H1/2 between H4/1 and H12 (low-water bridges at Sabie and Sand rivers);
l S23 Biyamiti Loop;
l H1-H3 – Nwa’sitsotso (Tshokwane high-water bridge);
l Lower Sabie dam (low-water bridge);
l Tshokwane picnic site;
l Routes to Imbali, Tinga and Shishangeni private lodges;
l Gravel road to Balule bush camp – African Eye News Service