January 27, 2012

The Destructive Power of Nature

You might remember that not very long ago we stayed in a beautiful game lodge near Kruger Park, Kitara Camp. I've written about Don and Lee-Anne, the couple managing the game lodge, and what it feels like living their kind of life. And I've written about the lodge itself, the way we were spoiled there, and how we got to see our first leopard.

Well, Kitara as we know it is gone. Swept away by the surging Klaserie River during a huge rain storm just a few short weeks ago. "At some point, we watched one of the couches floating down the river," were Lee-Anne's words. The same fate must have befallen these patio chairs we so luxuriously lounged in during our lazy afternoons:

Our favorite spot in between game drives - all of it gone. See the bar in the background?
This is what's left of that bar

We feel incredibly lucky a) to have had the privilege to stay at beautiful Kitara while it was still there, and b) to not have traveled there about one or two weeks after we did, or we would have been IN that rainstorm.

I've posted some before and after pictures below. See for yourself and you'll understand why I feel so sad about the flooding of Kitara.

That's me sitting by the pool with my book and taking in the view

No more pool, no more deck, no more umbrellas

Klaserie River December 30, 2011, spakling under a lush canopy of trees

Klaserie River mid/end January, 2012, a wide stream with sandy banks

Dinner in the boma
That boma now
I don't have a before picture of this, but let me just say the bathrooms were beautiful!
I can't imagine what this "causeway" over the river looks like now - the water already
looked raging to me back in Decmeber, when there had been almost no rain until then.
Photo credit: Impatience

It just goes to show what incredible power can be unleashed by nature, and how helpless we are in the face of it. We've witnessed the incredible beauty of nature while staying at Kitara, and I guess this is the other half of the coin. You can't have only half of nature.

My heart goes out to Don and Lee-Anne as well as the owners of Kitara and the other camps in the vicinity now also rendered useless due to the bad state all the roads are in. May they have the strength and patience to rebuild it all. I know it will ultimately be more beautiful than before.

I hope all of you reading this will remember Kitara, follow their progress here, and here, and make a plan to visit as soon as it re-opens.


Lee-Anne Detert said...

Thank you for writing about this Sine. Seeing your pics compared to the now pics brought tears to my eyes all over again! Its the memories in our hearts that live on and we look forward to a new Kitara!

Sine said...

You're right, it's the memories that count, and you and Don have helped make wonderful ones for countless people no doubt. But I still would have liked to have taken more pictures in hindsight!

Maria said...

Unbelievable. We visited Phuket shortly after the tsunami and it looked a little like this. It was humbling and terrifying and unbearably sad, but there were also many signs of hope. My heart goes out to Don and Lee-Anne, but I sense determination here and I know this isn't the end of this beautiful place.

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

I read this with my mouth open. How awful to see such destruction. The before and after photos are stunning illustrations of the power of Mother Nature.

Of course, my very best wishes for Don and Lee-Anne and for the rebuilding of their Paradise.

Sine said...

Thanks Maria and Miss Footloose. It is hard to fathom, isn't it? But I'm sure getting such encouraging feedback will help Don and Lee-Anne with the task ahead.

W. A. Jeffrey said...

Probably built it too close to the river and in Africa, too close can be a lot farther away that what many people would consider as too close.