My assessment is that we have almost "The
perfect flood." What I mean by this is that the early waters,
which were so high, have soaked
the ground to some depth. They peaked out at 778 cubic meters per second
at Mohembo. From there they dropped rather rapidly to 531 cusecs. They
have now almost levelled out, and has in fact, risen gently to that figure
of 582 cusecs. Anything above 500 is fantastic, and for it to last for
so long above that figure is hugely benificial to the environment and
the creatures living therein, without having damaging effects on those
environments or our physical infrastructure, thus allowing for the best
possible experience for the visitor.
Based on rainfall estimates from Angola earlier in the year, I am
expecting the inflow to increase to above 600 once more this year,
probably during late May. If you look at the graph, you will see that
this will amount to a considerable flow in total.
Of considerable interest is that the water has crossed the fence down
the Xudum and Matsebe systems, and has continued on to within 20 kilometers
of Toteng. Lake Ngami should get considerable water this year which
it has not since 1991.
The Lake Zibadianja has filled once more and water has flowed about
800 meters down the Savute channel. The Kwando river is flowing comparitively
well, compared to the last fifteen years. Satellite imaging shows that
a lot of this is flowing on a channel which crosses the Linyanti swamp
area from the Kwando to the Linyanti. The Kwando and Linyanti rivers
should gain nicely from these increased flows. The effect on the Savute
remains to be seen, but the Duma Tau region is , once more nicely watered.
The Makgadikgadi pans are still full to the brim,
which will keep the Zebra in the region well into this "dry season",
and there are some fascinating and interesting movements of birds
that area. The crane working group are particularly interested in
large groups of Wattled cranes which take up residence in the grasslands
around the pans after the good rains of this season. It is thought
that they may move from the Okavango as the large flood pulse restricts
feeding areas. They will return to the delta later in the year, as
the flood recedes, to get on with breeding.
There are great reports of elephant and others on the Boteti at this
time. As mentioned in a previous letter, I think that a very worthwhile
trip during 2004/5 would be to combine the best of the Linyanti/Okavango
regions with a Makgadikgadi/Kalahari visit.