A river ran right through it
Update on the aftermath of the flooding at Camp Jabulani from Adine Roode, Managing Director
I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every staff member at Camp Jabulani. Under the captaincy of Camp Managers, Carl & Elsie, they all stayed calm, acted timeously, put our guests first, and worked tirelessly during the devastating floods in Hoedspruit last week.
Some of their notable actions:
- They rolled up their sleeves to clean waterlogged suites in a very difficult physical environment.
- They used their initiative under pressure, and built temporary walls with tables and sand sacks to divert water away from the suites.
- They put their own comfort and safety aside to watch over the elephants.
- The chefs carried on cooking, and made sure guests had some comfort through their delicious food.
- Others carried guests’ bags over the suspension bridge.
- They divided themselves into two teams, each one focusing on their respective sides of the suspension bridge. Throughout this time, it was feared that the bridge, and their only connection, would wash away.
This footage was shot from our deck looking down on the often dry river that runs past the lodge
All of this while the heavens opened, the water gushed, and conditions deteriorated to the point of life threatening. They never thought about themselves, and instead put the needs, safety and comfort of our guests ahead of their own.
It will take a while to restore the roads on the reserve to their former condition, but we are able to use one road to get from the camp to the main entrance of the reserve.
Game drives at this stage will be limited due to the state of the environment. Our graceful elephants are however able to traverse their paths through the reserve, so elephant back safaris are on track.
Two suites will be closed for renovations until further notice, however the remaining suites and The Zindoga Villa will be ready by Friday 27 January 2012.
The entire team is now “all hands on deck” in restoring the camp to its former glory. We have also contracted builders, electricians, painters and other handymen to assist in the massive operation.
Paintings and other valuables will be assessed by our insurers before being replaced, so please do forgive us should a wall or two be unadorned.
I would also like to thank everyone at the air force who assisted a number of stranded people in need of evacuation. Despite this significant task, their voices were still full of smiles every time we called. A true credit to their profession.
I thank every one of our guests who rode out the storm with us. And our many partners and friends who supported us through their calls, emails and Facebook posts.
My gratitude is unquantifiable. I am proud to be part of such a committed team, and so heartened to realize how many people are part of the Camp Jabulani experience – just through their genuine support, kind words, and patience.
Tom van der Meulen has posted a series of incredible pictures on Facebook, should you wish to see what our waterlogged area looked like from above. You can also visit our Facebook album to see some of the photos we took during this catastrophic event.