When the smoke cleared the entire Grootbos Reserve, with the exception of a few forest patches, had gone up in smoke. What remained was a smouldering, desolate landscape. The Forest Lodge as well as three of the luxury free standing suites had been destroyed.
Given the enormity of the fire it was surprising how few dead animals we found. Somehow the vast majority of mammals and reptiles are able to escape even a fire as large as this. We were amazed to find tortoises trundling along in the middle of this massive, blackened landscape and Grysbok recovering amongst the burnt out Protea skeletons!
Already, within a day of the fire millions of Protea and Leucadendron seeds were being released from the protection of dried out flower heads on the dead parent plants. These were blowing with the wind and collecting in depressions on the ground.