Central Drakensberg recorded 422mm of rain since start of January

Posted by Anita Froneman on 17 January 2022

South Africa’s interior has recorded higher than usual rainfall this summer, and several areas are flooded. Monks Cowl Park in the Central Drakensberg recorded 422mm of rain for the month of January, according to Megan Bedingham from the Cavern Drakensberg Resort. The Little Acres B&B lower down in the Champagne Valley has had 334mm.

The D53 to Bell Park Dam.

‘At The Cavern, Northern Drakensberg, we have recorded 245mm. Not quite as much but this follows a wet December (275mm) so the rivers are raging!’ says Megan. ‘In the Central Berg, many MTB bridges have been washed away. In both areas, low-lying bridges have been flooded but rivers normally come up and subside quite quickly.’

Oliviershoek Pass.

CATHKIN Trails Bridge at the R600/Drak Sun turnoff.

She added that the wet weather has damaged some roads in the region. The Oliviershoek Pass has had several rockfalls this month, and travellers are urged to use the pass with extreme caution.

Belinda Spence from the Little Acres B&B said that continuous rain for two weeks has left the ground waterlogged and unable to absorb another drop. ‘The Central Drakensberg flooded in 2021 and now again in 2022. The main river through our area is the Sterkspruit. It winds its way down through the Cathkin Valley and has quite a few low-lying bridges that it passes along the way,’ she said.

Sterkspruit Falls.

The main access points that are currently flooded:

  • The R600’s bridge by the turn-off to Drakensberg Sun Hotel.
  • The slipway bridge cutting access to Mountain Splendour and other establishments that side.
  • On the D53 to Bell Park dam, the bridge before the D277 turnoff.
  • The very low bridge on the D277 before driving up to River Crossing and Cayley Lodge area.
  • The bridge and slipway behind Mount Champagne heading to Mackaya Bella.

‘The flooding of these access points disrupts everyday activity where staff and landowners cannot head home or to work, not to forget our tourists wanting to have a great holiday. Our disaster management team in the area always responds quickly to ensure the safety of the public,’ Belinda said.

Additionally, the Cathkin Trails Mountain Biking and Trail Running club in the area have their bridges washed away and trails damaged. The community works well as a team searching, retrieving and relocating the damaged bridges until such time that the water level drops and the bridges can be repaired.

Waterfalls in the area are gushing and the forests are lush and green:

Pictures and videos: The Drakensberg Experience 


Water, glorious water: take a look at the Orange River in all its splendour

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