Killer drought that ravaged SA’s bush the worst in decades

11 September 2018 - 07:00
By Tony Carnie
A dried out dam is pictured on a farm in Piket Bo-berg, Piketberg, north of Cape Town, on March 7, 2018 as a result of a three-year-long drought.
Image: WIKUS DE WET / AFP A dried out dam is pictured on a farm in Piket Bo-berg, Piketberg, north of Cape Town, on March 7, 2018 as a result of a three-year-long drought.

The recent drought that gripped South Africa will be remembered in the big cities as one of the worst in living memory – but what happened out in the bush and remote communal lands while attention was fixed mainly on the “Day Zero” water shortages?

In the Kruger National Park it killed off more than 25% of the park’s buffalo population, about 45% of the hippos and up to 40% of trees and shrubs in some parts of the park.

At least one heavily stocked private game reserve lost 75% of its herbivores, while some communal farmers in the Giyani district of Limpopo lost up to 33% of their cattle.

In the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal the losses were even more severe, with communal farmers losing 43% of their cattle and nearly 30% of the goats.