August Snows on the Summerhill / Hartford Estate, KZN Midlands
(Photos : Leigh Willson)
KZN Midlands - August 2012
We all know how destructive snow can be when it comes down heavily but when it comes in a few inches, it brings the first moisture ahead of the spring, and it sprinkles our paddocks and pastures with a liberal dose of 'free' nitrogen.
Despite the KZN Midlands' reputation for its beautiful indigenous forests of Yellowoods, White Stinkwoods and Cape Chestnuts, the reality is these occur only on the Southern and Western-facing slopes of the valleys. The bulk of the territory was hitherto great, open savannah country, with millions of acres of waving veld, perfect for the big grazing herds of red hartebeest, eland and the black wildebeest.
It was only when the European settlers first arrived here in the early 1820s that the trees you see so many of these days on your travels through our region, were first imported. Those that came from Australia were not built for snow, so that when it comes down heavily, the gums and the wattles take strain, and they shed their boughs, and often their trunks, by the drove. By contrast, those of European origin, the conifer and the cedar varieties, carry their burden with equanimity.
If you're a tourist though, the precincts of Mooi River resemble a winter wonderland. The roads and roadsides are littered with visitors to the Midlands; snow fighting, building snowmen and generally having the best time ever.
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