Based on a visit in May 2017. Photos by the author except where otherwise indicated. To some the South African Karoo is an area to be passed through as quickly as possible while driving between the Cape and the population centres in Gauteng and the rest of the northern regions, or to be flown over… Continue reading The South African Karoo and its Farming
The outlook for El Niño has become particularly difficult because of conflicting signals. Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society reports that computer models are predicting a strong El Niño, in particular because of the above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the eastern tropical Pacific, or what has become known as a… Continue reading El Niño Prospects
The northern part of the region has moved into its dry season with a fairly sharp cutoff in our Gauteng province but with Free State dam levels looking good after above average summer rains. In the water short southern parts rains have not set in sufficiently to impact significantly on dam levels. Columbia University’s International… Continue reading Southern Africa Climate, Outlook and Dam Levels Update May 2017
Sand appears such a freely available universal resource that it is easy to forget that availability is not a given and mining it can give rise to problems. In South Africa we are well aware of the exploitation of ilmenite sands and the effect on the environment. These sands are the most important source of… Continue reading Sand
[This account was written in 2015 and is the first of a series of travelogues first circulated as emails. Pictures by the author except for the Great Zimbabwe ruins and exterior of the museum.] Mapungubwe is an historic site in the far north of South Africa bordering the Limpopo River, now included in a national… Continue reading Mapungubwe
A number of my local readers are familiar with the 11,595ha Suikerbosrand Reserve, the Afrikaans name meaning ridge of the sugar bushes, where sugar bushes are not the maple syrup yielding trees of North America but rather proteas. This is one of the few places close to the built up areas of Johannesburg where one… Continue reading Suikerbosrand, Judgement Reserved?
Good rains have occurred in the northern part of the region while drought conditions continue in the south. This has allowed dam levels to increase rapidly in one part of the region while reaching dangerously low levels in other parts. Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society reports that mid March conditions in… Continue reading Southern Africa Climate, Outlook and Dam Levels