The first summer rains
By Doc Ndyawe

South Africa is a huge country with a vast varied climate. The conditions range from desert and semi-desert in the north west of the country, to subtropical on the eastern coastline. Overall, the country enjoys warm and sunny weather with cool nights, with the exception of the rainy season. For the majority of the country, most of the rain falls in the months of November through to March, whilst in the Western Cape, rainfall comes in winter, which is roughly May to September .

Here at Kwandwe the rains start in the summer and we usually see the first drops in either September or October. Kwandwe has a low annual rainfall of only 450 – 650 mm, so even a little bit of rain makes a big difference. In the last two weeks, we have had our first showers with around 20-25 mm so far, and the difference it has made to the vegetation is quite incredible!

The bright and beautiful flowers have started to bloom and the reserve is covered in a rainbow of different colours. From the blues of the Plumbago, bright yellows of the Wild Pomegranates and Euphorbias, to the soft pinks and purples of the Spekboom and Puzzle Bushes, Kwandwe is simply dazzling.

Along with all the flowers is the new growth of nutritious shoots and fresh green grass. As well as being very pretty to look at and giving the reserve a new lease of life, it’s also rather handy for the creatures that feed on them: the bees and other insects have already been busy, many bird species are currently nesting, and some of the antelope species have already had their young, with many more to follow in the weeks and months to come.

Within a week, the change in the reserve has been significant and we can only hope for good rains this summer to keep Kwandwe looking its gorgeous best!