FILMING MEERKAT MANOR - Series Four blasted by wild weather!

After a massive downpour parts of the ‘dry river bed’ filled with water.

Usually an intense downpour is followed by a few days of calm, sunny weather so we were surprised, the next day, to see very ominous clouds building up again. At about mid morning we were hit by a massive thunderstorm that just kept on coming, dumping 3 hours of absolutely torrential rain.

In places the ‘Manor’ was transformed into a shimmering wetland. Meerkats hate the rain and at the first sign of it they will retreat underground and stay there until it has passed. Fortunately it turned out that none of their burrows had been flooded.

The heavy rain itself was soon weaving its magic on the desert transforming it into a sea of green grass and yellow flowers. The meerkats started getting plenty of food and before long many of the females were pregnant.

Storms are a dramatic feature of life on the ‘Manor’ and, after a slow start, 2007 was becoming very exciting on the storm front. So we tried to film them whenever possible – especially the spectacular lightning displays that precede the rain. And on November 29th we were hit by a real humdinger.

John Waters filming an electrical storm.

Lightning sometimes got very close to our living quarters.

In the afternoon we could see a storm brewing and drove over to ‘The Flats’ to see if we could film a herd of eland in the rain. As it turned out the rain was too heavy and driven by such a ferocious wind that it was impossible to film without risking the camera. We sat in the car until the rain had abated to the point where we could actually see out of the windscreen and then drove back to base to dry out.

Rob – the Project Manager – met us grim-faced as we pulled up. “ I’m afraid your house has been hit by a mini tornado!”