Tuesday, 23 September 2014


It was the 17th September, I was driving down down from Tshokwane towards Skukuza & Paul Kruger Gate. To the west of me it was all burnt, & I thought it was the regular rotational burning than SAN Parks undertakes at this time of year. I did notice that the burnt area was larger than normal. But I didn't think much of it until I exited the park at Paul Kruger Gate. Then I realized that this was not a planned burning but an out of control bushfire.

The statue at Paul Kruger Gate.

The fire is coming from Sabi Sands 
towards Sabie Park.
As I watched, the smoke got higher
 & with the wind, the fire was gaining momentum.
This was mid-day!
You can see that there is also a fire raging
 inside KNP.
The fire is now on both sides of Sabie Park.
This was taken at 3pm.
This is the main road inside Sabie Park
next to the swimming pool.

The main road opposite the entrance to Sabie Park.
Photo courtesy of Jon & Sheila Mayo.

I was now starting to get a little worried! I went to my house & found the fire inside KNP was spreading & it was now opposite my house! Fire now on three sides! Maybe time to evacuate?  

 Photo courtesy of Jon & Sheila Mayo.
 Photo courtesy of Jon & Sheila Mayo.
The entrance to Sabie Park, looking across the road
 into Sabi Sands.

6pm - the fire has swept through.
The wind has now changed direction, taking the fire
 away from Sabie Park.
Every little breeze, brings the flames back into life.

8pm looking through into Sabi Sands.
The next morning,looking in the same place.

It turned out that there were three separate fires:
a) started in a conservation area next to Sabi Sands by a careless welder!
b) a second fire in a communal area, which jumped the Sabie River & entered & devasted large tracts of KNP near Phabeni Gate.
c) a third fire which originated in Mozambique & spread southwards eventually entering Sabi Sands from the north & threatening the Protea Hotel & several game lodges.

We were very fortunate. Lisbon Estate next to us was gutted,as was a third of Sabi Sands & large tracts of KNP. It was a close run thing & the worst bushfire I have seen here in 12 years. 

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