Our guests had an amazing experience at Sefapane River Lodge recently………..after a week of temperatures constantly above 35 degrees…..we were treated to a spectacular electric storm with major thunder and lightning.
During the guest’s dinner on the deck, overlooking the Oliphant’s River, an almighty lightning bolt struck within 100 meters of the Lodge. We immediately noticed that there were flames emanating from the place where the lightning strike had taken place. On closer inspection we found that the lightning had struck a Sycamore Fig (Ficus sycamorus) which had burst into flame!!!
Interestingly enough fire plays a crucial role in the ecosystem especially the Savannah biome…….Savannahs are home to grass species such as Themeda triandra that need to burn or they disappear from the system as they are pushed out by trees and grasses that cope better in shady conditions. The exact trigger that allowed savannas to expand across the world is still debated, but lightning fires certainly played a role in the opening up of forests and the subsequent spread of grasses. These newly opened landscapes invited our ancestors down from the trees and resulted in the spread and diversification of grazers – the descendants of which many of us enjoy eating today – cattle. Not only does this fire-driven landscape support domestic animals but it also supports a diverse array of wild grazers such as white rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, and hippos. #SefapaneMagic