Botrivier Oh Botrivier

Wydsbeen oor die dongas


Niels Verburg keeps saying that Botriver, note not Botrivier, is the centre of the universe. I often wondered about this until now. Two weeks ago, three bridges over the Bot Rivier got washed away by what some people around here say is a hundred-year flood. I have not been around for that long but take their word for it.

What I did see was streams turning into rivers and rivers turning into three-hundred-meter-wide raging torrents of brown angry water. And leaving behind sandy flatlands and broken dams. Mounds of debris on broken fences. We lost one dam, a second is severely damaged and the third, Rian se Brug which is at our entrance, was probably a few hours away from being washed away. Basie Smal lent us an excavator for a day, to patch up the worst damage. You can cross on the dam wall now - but be careful.

Before this we had to get in and out through brother Bernhard’s vineyards, and our neighbour to the south, Nabot. Where the term “wydsbeen over the dongas” come from. Wheels straddling both sides of the donga.

And just apropos nothing - we have not had power for more than two weeks and our internet only came back on Friday.

Back to Botrivier and Swartrivier and Leeuwriver and Jakkalsrivier. Most of our staff live in Botrivier. At first, they stayed at home. Then we fetched them, a hundred-kilometer detour through Caledon. Then as the Swartrivier levels dropped we got them over with a tractor and trailer and home with our thirty-year-old Isuzu lorry. The trip shortened from two hours to about forty minutes. Deliveries to and from the farm are still a serious issue but that’s next week’s problem.

You can now talk to us if you need anything – we’ll make a plan.

We are about ten kilos away as the crow flies from Botrivier and about fifteen on the N2.

It feels like Covid except that we don’t feel guilty about drinking. We miss Manny’s and our co-winos.

The olives took a hit but the vineyards look very good. We are running low on kop pille. Otherwise we are fine.

Written by Johan Heyns