Penny sent this from Gauteng:
I’ve come to visit my daughter (who lives in Pretoria) for the weekend, and due to the presence of my ‘granddaughter’, an 8 month old boerbul puppy, she and her boyfriend have brought me camping to the nearest public dam where dogs are allowed. It is called Klipdrift dam, and is situated outside Potchefstroom.
I sit on short green kikuyu grass under a giant old ghost gum, one of a row lining the shores of an attractive dam, possibly the size of Midmar. Across in the distance a row of bush clad hills lie under the Highveld sky, afternoon thunderclouds building in masses of white cotton wool puffs. Doves are cooing in the trees, a kingfisher hovers and a Fish Eagle’s call floats across the water. The shores are lined with weekend campers, tents pitched, the smell of braai fires wafting in with the breeze. Families dozing on a hot African day with groups of fishing rods every 50 or so metres along the shore. Small inflatables or canoes are used to take the fishing lines far out onto the water.
Peace and quiet, seems all is well with the world – just don’t go too close to the water. Then you notice the difference – green algae in profusion, turning the seemingly clear water into what looks like pea soup stretching out a couple of metres from the shore line. The fishermen wade in and come out with green hands and legs – and I was going to swim here! As the afternoon progresses and the light changes, I realise that the whole dam has a green hue.
After strong winds in the night, dawn reveals a white line of foamy scud lining the shore the length of the dam. Possibly the saddest indictment : the fishermen carry on regardless, this green dam and foam, for them, seems to be normal!
Now I appreciate the clean waters of Midmar Dam even more than before.