Cape Storm

This week, the worst storm in thirty years hit Cape Town and the Western Province wreaking havoc on the peninsula and inland.  How crazy to go from drought conditions to flooding; with snow on the inland mountains and fires down the coast in the Knysna area.  Galeforce winds gusting up to 100km/hour, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and houses.  The shack dwellers in the informal settlements were hardest hit and nine deaths have been reported.

During a lull between advancing squall lines and the torrential rain we managed to get out to check the surrounding area and to the Good Hope Nature reserve to see how the animals were faring.   The wind gusts were ferocious and most animals were hunkered down or had found shelter out of the wind.   A most unusual scene was a Cape Mountain zebra galloping along a beach to get to the lee of the land.

Opportunistic baboons were out foraging mostly taking advantage of the moist soil to dig for corms/bulbs while the Plateau Road troop appeared to be finding grubs in an area where there were old wood piles.

The wild sea conditions were truly a sight to behold, the breaking waves on the Atlantic side came thundering through with such powerful thrust that huge banks of sea foam built up way above the tide line.  We’ve been warned that not much rain fell in the catchment areas and the dam levels remain critically low.

For other gallery pics, check out the EWN site  –

40 thoughts on “Cape Storm

  1. Great reporting Liz. Wow. So much rain and loss of life for so little return to help drought conditions. So distressing and sad. You’ve captured wonderful images.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Mary. Crazy times! While this end of the country cries for consistent rainfall, the severe drought tesolved with good rains in time for planting wheat and now bumper crops are expected.

  2. Sad report from over there – over here the draught cannot be compared of course, but the water is very low and farmers worry. This winter was tough for the Sami people and their reindeer, because the animals could not find food. This due to the strange weather with jumping temperatures which make the ground icy and impossible to break to get down to the food.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Ann-Christine. It’s a worry that there is less rainfall generally. Hearing that the scientists are saying the effects of climate change are here and now for the ‘resilience imperative.’ All well and good to plan for the extremes when it’s budgeted; here in South Africa there are other dire needs ahead of climate…..

  3. Great reportage for your readers. Your photographs capture the essence of what is also important rather than merely the spectacular in terms of waves and fire. Well done on giving us the ‘under cover’ news – I appreciate that. I particularly enjoy the photograph of the zebra on the beach – a novel sight for me.

    1. Thanks Anne. Hasn’t it been a tough week – so many displaced people. Just hearing that the fires in Knysna are now under control. An enormous disaster – homes lost; the loss of life. Scary. And all this before we’re ready for “Resilience Imperative.”

  4. I know little about wildlife behavior in response to severe weather and related environmental threats, and I’m usually left with more questions than answers. Your interesting report shed a little light on the subject! Hope your weather settles and the drought ends soon.

    1. It’s curious that animals can detect impending storms. Apparently their acute senses are far more attuned to cues. Happily we have had steady rainfall for some days now – 1.6% increase to dam levels – but still a long way to go. Holding thumbs!

  5. We have had a blustery week too, with high winds (but not as high as yours, thank goodness) that have caused havoc in the garden. How exciting to see the zebra on the beach, not a common occurrence! But how sad that lives were lost and much damage was caused and still the dams are on empty 😦

    1. It’s a concern that climate change is here upon us with this whacky weather. Was so taken with the zebra – have a niece who rides horses and could tell me it was in a full gallop! We’re hoping for our winter rains…. have had a 1.6% increase to the dam levels these past few days. Need to have a lot more falling in catchment areas.

    1. Quite the most unusual sight, that zebra was in magnificent stride! Yes it’s sad that the people in the informal settlements are hardest hit here in the Cape. Some areas had been affected by fires to heap more hardship onto their sorrows. Though the City have teams of emergency workers and the shelters were set up in advance. Now for the rebuild and getting people back into shelters.

    1. Always appreciate your comments, Lisa. There was quite a drop in isobar pressure, and i’m guessing that the animals are in synch with this. Interesting to see their fur/ hides puffing up to keep thermo temperatures regulated.

  6. If nature turn vulnerable, human beings fall endangered….so such an outlook for nature is the need of time as done in this article.

    1. Yes, our Cape Mountain zebras are turning ‘coastal’ 🙂 There was quite a bit of mopping up, damage to some areas; and hardest hit were the informal settlements. Heart goes out the the shack dwellers at this time of the year.

      1. Poor dwellers! We have 1-2 high tide floods in North Norfolk almost every year and last year was devastating. Enormous damage to the reserve and dead seals on the other side of the street , like 1 km away from the beach.
        And it takes weeks for the water to disappear. The pics on our “Wetland” was taken a few days after the stormflood.

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