Reading through the discussions recently, there seems to be a lot of frustration about the rain and the power dips and their effect on the camera. Having lived and worked in the region for some time I wish to attempt to put this whole thing in perspective.
Rain is crucial for the survival of everything that you see on the camera and the surrounding area (as it is in most of Africa). Man may be able to provide the animals with artificial water holes but there is not sufficient water (or money) around for the surrounding areas to be irrigated to keep the vegetation alive and which in any event would turn the environment from relatively natural one into a theme park.
It so happens that the Southern Hemisphere summer is when the area around Nkorho gets its rain, which is often in the form of a quick and heavy thunderstorm. Without that rain, the vegetation is unable to regenerate and grow denying the herbivores their food source. In winter the area receives little or no rain, which means that the browsers and grazers have to survive on whatever managed to grow during summer. A dry summer means that there is less for the animals to eat in winter and a drought sets in which can be devastating on animal populations. So far this summer the region has had a less than average rainfall and therefore every drop of rain they receive in the remainder of the growing season is crucial if we want to see healthy animals throughout the winter.
Power is generally supplied by long lines of overhead cables from South Africaâs power stations. These cables are not only vulnerable to lightning strikes but can also be affected by bird strikes (though this has been largely negated due to the redesign of the power cables) and even through an elephant pushing a tree onto the power line (which does happen from time to time). Underground cables are not an option as it is prohibitively expensive and will have a far greater environmental impact.
The electrical storms also have an effect on the telecommunications signal containing the cameraâs images and sounds being transmitted out of Nkorho, which would affect the image you see on your computer.
What I am trying to say here is that while it may be frustrating for all the Africam fans when there are problems with the camera caused by storms or power dips, please understand that the camera is situated in a wild and remote area and that without decent rain there would be nothing to watch. Enjoy the sightings when you see them (which is more often than not), appreciate that the rain brings life to that little corner of Africa and in any event you will have many uninterrupted hours in our winter to enjoy the cam.