Rain is always welcome but I can distinctly remember trying to negotiate the muddy, slippery gravel roads in my first year of February at Rookwood. I was teaching at that stage and would have to travel 35km of gravel road every afternoon to reach home. Having grown up in an urban tarred
I told you about the two rivers we have - one called the Mbelandla and the other the Tuli. As to which one owns which name, is debatable as our neighbour George Filmer, who grew up here, names them differently to what the map has them recorded. The Tuli/Mbelandla rises on Mapassa and Rookwood is the second on the list of farms it runs through before meeting up at the fountain with the Mbelandla/Tuli. They then join forces and flow into the Swart Kei beyond the boundaries of Rookwood. The Swart Kei ultimately joins the White Kei to become the Kei River which flows into the sea north of East London.
Over the years we have had these rivers run dry and at other times they have come down in flood. There are small fountains that do feed the rivers during the dry period but possibly the biggest fountain on the whole farm is where they meet. This area is registered as a Natural Heritage site called Mhoge (named after the cycads present - Encephalartos friederici). This area is home to numerous bird species including the bishops and weavers as well as the Cape Clawless otter. In another blog, I will share my story of Charli the clawless otter I released there.
|The cussonia species on the kranzes above the fountain|
|The fountain area at Rookwood|
|Cycads on the hill above the fountain|
|Possible Red-finned minnows?|
Recently I came across some interesting fish in the river that originates from Mapassa side. I have not been able to identify them but have been told they are Red-finned minnows. They were eating on a cow that had died when she got stuck in the river during our very dry October this year. She was trying to chase whatever was green in the river and was in a poor condition at that stage.
Both our rivers at Rookwood are not flowing that well at present as the rains have not been that good. If it does rain heavily then we can here them run and it sounds like the sea. The most important thing is that they flow fairly cleanly taking very little topsoil with them.
|Klaassmits river near Lehmansdrift Queenstown|
|The river running at Rookwood.|
The photo on the right is of the Klaassmits river in the Queenstown area - note the amount of topsoil being washed away. This is a 'cancer' of our precious resources in South Africa.
Although this river is not flowing as strongly there is far less soil being washed away.
I certainly hope that we will get some more good rains this summer at Rookwood and many other places. One thing we must remember this is a precious resource which we do not need to abuse.