March 22 marks the annual celebration of water across the world. The purpose of such a day is so simple, yet vital, to raise awareness about the global water crisis and to hopefully get more people to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of water and sanitation by 2030.We celebrate this resource for all the different things it means to people all over the world.
Kapama Private Game Reserve is in Limpopo province of South Africa, integrated into the region known as the Lowveld, known for its dry winters. We celebrate water not only for what it means to us but for what it means to our environment and the extraordinary biodiversity it holds.
From April to September, we experience our winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves to survive this period, some reptiles go into a state of torpor, certain birds migrate to lush, warmer areas and the bush becomes a dull, brown and dire region. Herbivores search long and hard for sufficient nutrients.
Kapama has numerous watering holes, however many dry up and remains barren in the dry season. Those watering holes that still contain water become the lifeline for many of the animals in the area. There is deliberate ‘mini migration’ towards the beautiful perennial Klaserie river, another vital water source during winter, attracting wildlife and providing relief. However, as the fauna and flora struggle through the dry season, their biological instinct tells them that it will not be forever and that relief would come.
Mid-November is a magical time, bringing about change, diversity, health and life. The first rains come down during November in the form of pleasant showers or roaring thunderstorms. The transformation from being dreary and dry to becoming lush, green and full of life is a quick one, happening right before your eyes, becoming greener and lusher every day after. Rain is connected to the fauna and flora.
Impala’s, vervet monkeys, warthogs and many more herbivorous animals are biologically programmed to give birth to their young during this period. Colour spreads across the reserve as the fruits pop up and flowers bloom. Migratory birds of all shapes and sizes, from the European roller to the Wahlbergs eagle, travel from all over the world to indulge in the bounty that comes around during the rainy summer months. Snakes and other reptiles become active. Insects and arachnids come out to play. Frogs and toads sing all through the night.
It is quite an easy conclusion, water sustains ALL life, from the smallest insect to the largest of the Big Five. That is why we should protect this valuable resource not only for us but for everything that relies on it.
Story by: River Lodge Ranger Tasha van Den Aardweg