Guests who visited Tuli as recently as mid-January would think they had landed on a different planet if they returned at the end of the month. The landscape is almost unrecognisable. For after the devastating floods came the most amazing transformation of the bush.
The parched, stark landscape became a beautiful, lush sea of yellow, purple and green. And not just green, but every shade of green imaginable. Lime green, apple green, emerald green, bottle green, sedge green, pea green …. It is a real jaw-dropper!
The animals that had somehow survived the drought and hung on until these rains arrived are now abundant and well-fed again. Babies are appearing everywhere. This is a time of rebirth.
Birds and insects are particularly numerous. There seem to be caterpillars everywhere, munching away on the new growth of leaves. Birds are busy building nests and laying eggs. Weavers are particularly visible with their beautifully-constructed hanging masterpieces looking fresh, and parents busily flying in and out with tasty morsels for their chicks.
Smaller bushes and trees produce a multitude of colourful flowers, and the majestic baobabs are sporting huge pendulous fruits. The devil’s claw flowers provide the most vibrant spectacle, carpeting the veld in yellow to complement all the green, making everything look alive and fresh again.
The plentiful water and good vegetation will stand Tuli in good stead for months and years to come – and, for a little while at least, Tuli will not live up to its Tswana name meaning ‘dust’.
The lodge will also be regenerated after the floods, though it may take a little longer! The clean-up operation is progressing well, but sadly it is not just a question of cleaning, redecorating and purchasing new furnishings. The lodge’s walls were so thoroughly drenched that we fear some buildings may be unstable. We also need to consider protection against future floods – Tuli flooded in 1988, 2000 and again now in 2013, each time more seriously than before. Tuli turns 50 next year, and like all grande dames might now need a bit of a transformation in its own right! Happily our self-catering bush camp Molema remains fully functional – and offers camping facilities or chalets with guided activities and self-drive trails.