Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Slice of South Africa at 109.8%

This weekend my husband and I joined thousands of  'tourists' on a quiet rural road near Vereeniging in Gauteng. Well, it's usually quiet, but as you can see from the photo, on Saturday it was a mass of cars and people. Windscreens glinted in the sun, a helicopter and a microlight flew overhead, country music harmonised with the chatter and the aroma from the impromptu braais (barbecues) wafted through the air. The Vaal Dam had burst its banks, the flood gates were open and everyone had come to see the sight.

We parked on the verge and walked the last kilometre to the bridge just below the dam. A cloud of spray high in the air marked the spot of the dam wall.
I'm not a facts and figures person, so suffice to say the Vaal Dam, south of Johannesburg, has approximately 800 kilometres of shoreline and is the second largest dam by area and third largest by volume in South Africa. It's essential to the South African water supply and economy.

On Monday last week the Vaal Dam was 96.2% full, but heavy rainfall in the catchment area filled it to 109.8% by Saturday. Okay, I know that's a couple more facts, but they are too amazing to leave out. 14 sluice gates were opened to lower the level of the dam. What a sight to see the water in all its might and majesty surging under the bridge and rushing in torrents downstream.

A carnival atmosphere added to the occasion and several enterprising folk set up stands on the side of the road. Biltong (strips of salted and dried meat) was one of the popular snacks sold.

A local farmer braaied (barbecued) boerewors (a type of country sausage)

and we sampled them. Mmmmmm!  Delicious!

I bought a pot of honey from these entrepreneurs

and green mealies for our supper from these cheerful young men.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing this small slice of life in South Africa through the lens of my camera.

On a more serious note, the beauty and power of water-  oceans, rivers, dams, lakes, waterfalls, thunderstorms-  always make me aware of the glory and wonder of God and draw me closer to Him. The Bible tells us that He draws up drops of water to form clouds which He spreads out in the skies. He sends the rain to fill the streams and gives us showers (Job 36: 27-30). Who but God can count the clouds, tip over the water bottles of the heavens and control the bolts of lightning? (Job 38: 35-37) Who else but God can measure the waters in the palm of His Hand? (Isaiah 40:12)

Do the wonders of nature reveal God to you? Please leave a comment and tell me how God's creation speaks to you.

Ruth Ann Dell writes children's stories and international Christian fiction from her home in a sunny South African suburb. She is a member of several writing groups including the American Christian Fiction Writers and Writer's Ink. Her desire is to craft gripping stories to draw her readers into a closer relationship with God.

Ruth Ann and her husband have lived in several countries and are renovating a cottage in the heart of Ireland.

Find out more about Ruth Ann at www.ruthanndell.blogspot.com


  1. Nature is a never-ending source of wonder and gratitude for me, Ruth Ann, particularly the garden. On my knees in barren dirt I hold a tiny, dried up seed in my hand, yet that tiny seed can grow a hundred tomatoes, or a giant pumpkin or cover the rocks with flowers. Awesome.

  2. Oh now you have me planning my next visit back! I could sit and eat biltong all day!! I now live overlooking the ocean, and I am (thankfully) reminded every morning of God's greatness when I look outside. It stretches for miles - some days it is calm, some days stormy and some days I can see only gray. But every day it is God's. And so am I.

  3. We just need to look up. The heavens declare the glory of God! [we did Louis Giglio at cell group last night :)]

    Thanks for sharing the pics ... I'm just up the road (well an hour's drive) from the Vaal dam and didn't realise there was a party going on there!

  4. I have a recipe for biltong I've been meaning to try, but I hear the smell of curing will drive me mad. U.S. immigration always asks about it if SA is on your passport, and they won't let it through.

    I have a woods outside my window. At this time of year the leaves are gone and I can see all the way to the lake. The view never fails to remind me of God's peace and goodness to let me live here.

  5. Ruth, the photos are amazing. It's great to see you have so much water in your dam - we get excited here if our dams are half full :-) Heavy rain fell today and I stood watching it fall, reminded of God's provision for us.