Hotfire lies within a summer rainfall region, but rainfall is unpredictable and often falls in heavy storms, sometimes with accompanying hail, particularly in November. Rainfall peaks during January to March.
Temperatures also vary greatly. Summer maximums reach 38°C, but frost can be expected between May to August. Strong north-westerly winds can be expected from July to September, while frequent southwesterly winds bring rain in summer.
The vegetation type on Hotfire is predominantly transitional valley bushveld with numerous small trees, shrubs, succulents and wild flowers. Many of the trees and shrubs flower from September to November and can give a spectacular display after spring rain. During the dry winter months the russet colours of the Sneezewood (Ptaeroxylon obliquum) thickets are interspersed with “red hot pokers” (Aloe ferox). Locally endemic shrubs include the Tambookie thorn (Erithrina acanthocarpa) and Kei Bottlebrush (Greyia flanaganii). Interesting trees such as Bushman Tea (Catha edulis) are common on the farm.
The warmer months of the year at Hotfire, from about November to March, provide lush green scenery in this part of the Eastern Cape, brought on by plenty of late afternoon thunderstorms or tropical rainfall rolling in from the warm Indian Ocean not too far away. The blazing midday sun should not be enjoyed without sun block lotion or insect repellent.
The hot, humid air and prolific insect life means that hunting is not possible at this time of year, along with the fact that this is when one can spot dozens of newborn lambs, calves and piglets amongst the herds of game.
With the hunting rifles packed away, this is a time for birding in the veld, or fishing and swimming at the riverside.
The cooler winter months at Hotfire, from April to October, are characterised by cool, nippy and frosty mornings with mild midday sunshine. While the sky becomes bluer, the grasslands begin to lose their green lustre as the rainfall decreases and the dry winds blow, increasing the risk of veld fires (so be careful where you throw that cigarette butt!). The increasingly brown grasslands are punctuated with the bright yellows, oranges and reds of the aloe ferox which blooms in the coldest months.
With the harsh African sun at its weakest, the game is active for most of the day.
Although the landscape is duller, there is nothing like the crisp cool morning air or the fantastic African sunsets that you can experience at this time of year.