Experiencing Kruger Floods 2013… Crossing a flooded Shingwedzi River

And here we have it – our first story submitted by a member of the public! This is Lizette Lemmer‘s story of being in the Kruger National Park with her family when the recent floods hit.

Going to Kruger Park were: Len Lemmer, his wife Lizette, daughter Natasja Thompson, son-in-law Brett Thompson and two grandchildren Tatum, 7 years old and Tineal, 4. We were driving a Toyota 4×4 double cab.

1.Punda Maria GateWe arrived at Punda Maria gate on Saturday 19/01/2013 at 16h00.2.Shingwedzi River risingAfter booking in at Punda Maria camp we went for a game drive around the camp and could see the water levels were rising (17h30). 3.Shingwedzi River 30minsLater30 Minutes later there was a remarkable difference in the water level in the veld surrounding the camp.

4.Roads20012013The next morning (20 January) we left around 09h30 to see the Shindgwedzi river in full flow and +/- 10 km from Punda saw the water was starting to flow over the road.

5.Shingwedzi Flooding RoadWhen we passed the power lines and saw all the water next to the road , we knew that this was no joke.

6.Serious WaterAbout 5km’s further on, we ran into serious water flowing over the road. There were 4 cars waiting. One of the guys in the Land Rover was brave enough to walk the road and came back to say he thought we could take a chance and cross. We could stay until the river subsided, but the water we had just passed in the road would also have risen so things could get worse first.

7.Deciding whether to cross

So we decided to drive on.   We followed about 20 metres behind to make sure the cars in front of us made it.

8.Starting to cross Halfway through the women and kids in our car started panicking.


When we got to this stage of the crossing, the women were screaming. Brett was so quiet you would have thought he had jumped out.

10.The raging riverThis is what it looked like from the window while crossing. Len, who was driving, said his neck muscles started cramping from the tension but he just kept going at a slow pace until we were through.

11. More of the river in flood

While crossing Natasja briefly opened her eyes to take these pictures.

12. ElephantAfter all the “excitement “ Tatum was brave enough to take this picture of an elephant standing about 3 metres away from us.

13.Full river 14.All rivers were fullAll rivers were full to capacity.

15.Shingwedzi RiverThe Shindgwedzi river almost touching the high-water bridge.

17.Baby Croc escapingPeople and animals were getting away from the rising water levels.

18. Mopani DamThe dam at Mopani camp was also overflowing.

19. Letaba RiverWhen we reached the Letaba river we realised that we had to get out the park as quickly as possible.

19a. Letaba RiverThe Letaba river touching the bottom of the bridge at about 14h00.

21a.Tzaneen WaterfallAfter some serious driving we reached this waterfall outside Tzaneen.”

Thank you, Lizette for sharing your amazing story with us! We are so glad that you are all ok and managed to cross the Shingwedzi river without anything serious happening.

If you have a story about the recent floods in Kruger, or any story from a game reserve in Africa, we would love to hear from you. Email details to us and we will be in touch. Don’t worry if your spelling and grammar aren’t perfect – we will edit before publishing. And as you can see from the photographs above, you will be credited and retain copyright. Let’s share our stories!

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