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Monday, 3 January 2011
In Hwange, there are no natural rivers and so wildlife must get their water from pans that are filled in the rainy season. In the dry season though, these pans must be pumped. Up until now Wilderness Safaris and Wilderness Trust have been helping out in keeping some 22 diesel pumps working throughout winter so that our wildlife will survive. Recently, with the support of Hwange National Park, we have been looking into erecting windmills instead as these are more environmentally friendly - although they do not draw as much water from the depths. One windmill - or wind pump - was tested over the past year to great success.
We are therefore extremely grateful to report that there two more windmills in the Wilderness Safaris concession, thanks to the kind donation of Rich Jones. These 12-metre wind pumps were installed at two very active waterholes by the manufacturers Villiers Aqua Engineering from South Africa. Fraimie Vorster and his crew of six came from South Africa to install the pumps at Ngamo Pan and Airstrip Two Pan.
Installation took about two days per wind pump and within 36 hours of being active, the Ngamo Pan pump had drawn 22 000 litres of water. The maximum output of these pumps is roughly 30 000 litres per day and they seem to average about 10 to 15 000, depending on the wind. Flow meters were installed on both to monitor output and these records will go a long way to helping design an efficient water-management system within the concession.
Water is life in Hwange and animals come in their droves to the waterholes each evening. It is gratifying to see them slake their thirst on the new water pumped by the windmills. We have recently seen herds of up to 200 elephant making their way to the new water.
Space at these pans is shared between all the wildlife - eland drink neck to neck with buffalo while the elegant sable line up along the water's edge with giraffe in the heat of the day. Inquisitive jackal dart in amongst the elephant feet as the light fades and quickly drink before heading off into the night. Flocks of sandgrouse fill up their feathers as the light finally fades and are seen flying off to distant places in a flurry of near silent wings.
Posted by Pure Zanzibar at 08:49