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The Red Winds

Every ten years a phenomenon of nature occurs near The Pongola River (now the Jozini lake): "The Red Winds" Last year in October this phenomenon occurred again for the first time in many years and was witnessed from within the core of the wind and also from the vantage point of a lookout tower.

The afternoon at Safari Lodge was like many others, the tents had been closed up for the evening and the staff were preparing to go home. A slight breeze was blowing but very soon developed into a strong blustery wind. Everyone was on hand to secure tent flaps and tent ropes, sun umbrellas were closed, furniture stacked away and windows closed. All of a sudden it was all around us. You could not see a hand in front of your face as red dust circled around, gusting from all angles. Minutes later all was calm again, leaving a trail of red dust. We set off to check on the guy ropes on the tents only to witness a strange formation of black cloud over the water, followed again by more gale force wind and red dust. This again only lasted for a short while.

Meanwhile at the Leeuwspoor homestead Debbie Kohrs was observing the whole scene from the top of a watchtower some 4 Km north of the Lodge. The description she gave was of a snake-like cloud over the water, slithering towards the land. Then a fast circular movement of cloud and dust on the shoreline, developed into what appeared to be red flames. The flames were in fact, the red dust, which within minutes had swallowed the lodge.

They say a River God inhabits "Lake Jozini"(like Lake Kariba) and that just like "Nyami Nyami" he occasionally raises his head in anger. Was the River God demonstrating his anger towards the unnatural timing for letting the water out of the Dam during September? We will never know but the snake-like "Red winds" phenomenon was certainly an awesome, thought provoking display.

Report by Caroline Roberts

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