For interesting information on flowers, trees and plants please click on this link:

For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.
Videos: YouTube

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The best thing of all.....

20th October 2012

With all this packing and sorting, I discovered the best thing of all .... NO MORE IRONING CLOTHES!!!!!!! Now I can just wash them and were them creased as there is no one to see. Who discovered ironing anyway? They should be shot!!! LOL!! LOL!! How society decrees what we should and shouldn’t do with our lives!! Now, all their laws and rules do not apply to me anymore, I can do exactly as I want to!! WOW!! What an awesome thought!! I can even walk around naked and not wear clothes at all!! Now THAT is a magnificent idea!! That way I won’t have any washing either!! LOL!!

30th October, 2012

Well tomorrow is D-Day for me and I am off into the wild blue yonder – well actually right now it is the dark blue yonder. We are having very heavy storms with a lot of hail and I wonder how it will affect me?

Tomorrow I have my last use of a bathroom. Can you imagine not having a bath or toilet ever again?? I am sure that I will get by though so it is not a big worry to me. No fridge to keep things cold either. I balance doing without these things against all the pleasures I will have and they by far outweigh the loss of those few things.

I will be waking up in time to make my coffee and watch the sky get lighter and the sun come up. I will see a million stars at night. Be able to listen to the cricket and the frogs at night with no sound of motorbikes, cars or people to intrude on my peace and quiet. How damn WONDERFUL!! Love the thought of being able to hear the owls again and watch the moon dance across the sky. What absolute luxury!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Only two things I'll miss

This place is a mess!! There are boxes, suitcases and piles of things everywhere. This pile has to be given away, that pile must be kept, this one is to be sold. There are boxes half packed then there are things I put in one box and change to another. This has to be done so carefully. Some things I will use on a daily bases and need to be easy to get to, others are replacements for things which I will never be able to buy again if I get rid of them now, but I know I will need them sometime. Some things have to go in the car and some in the trailer ........ on and on .......

I guess that once I am on the road things will sort themselves out eventually but I would hate to on the road be having to scratch to find something I need but thought I didn’t. I am trying to anticipate my requirements but who knows what I will be needing a few weeks or months down the line? Shall I keep this, will I need that? How would I know as I have never done this before!! JI have probably packed a whole lot more than I will need anyway and will either get rid of it when I try to get it all into my car or 6 months down the line if I have not used it by then.
 There are only two things I am really, really going to miss and the first on that list is my bath!! This is something I use in the Japanese way: extremely hot both winter and summer and then I sit and relax in it until it cools down, wash and get out. It is my time to get rid of stress and strain. Now I have a rubber bag which I will fill with water, put it somewhere in the sun to heat the contents, hang it up in a tree, put a basin under it to stand in and have a shower. Sounds awful doesn’t it?? Well beggars can’t be choosers and it is either that or bathe with the crocodiles. LOL!!

The second thing is pizza!! Oh my!! It has been my staple diet for about 5 years now and living in the bush with no shops nearby, it is going to be hard tack or army rations for me from now on. About the only time I will get something fresh is maybe once a month when I go through a town.
Slowly but surely things are coming together and with only 10 days to go before I leave, there is not much time left. I am still working three days a week so have to fit everything in on the few days off. With all of this going on, I have not had much time for going out to find new things to post so have to make do with what I have.

Today we have had a lot of short hail storms and the weather has not been good this past week. I wonder about setting off on my trip: Will it still be raining or will it improve? Will I be able to set up my tent or will the winds blow it away? Can I keep things dry and out of the rain or will it leak in somewhere and damage something? So many questions and for now, I don’t have any answers ...... and you were thinking I am going be having fun????? LOL!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dreams can become reality

 15th October, 2012
By this time, not only entomologists but herpetologists, zoologists etc. were all encouraging me to start a comprehensive website for the identification of all our fauna and flora. A massive undertaking to be sure but one sorely need here. I was not in any kind of position financially to make this dream of mine come true but I guess if one wants something badly enough, all it takes is that first small step to reality.

Firstly I needed some kind of car as mine was over 15 years old and would not last me much longer so I purchased a small truck knowing that even though it would take me four or five years to pay off, in the end I would have something reliable and by having a canopy put on the back, could even sleep in if necessary. The day came when I made the final payment and now the doubts crept in. I would only have my small pension to live on with which I would have to use for fuel and food. Could I live off it? It would mean I would have no home anymore, I would have to get rid of all I owned which did not constitute much but was at least a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. Yes, I could continue to work for the next ten years but that was NOT where I wanted to be!! I wanted to be free again. To feel the warmth of the sun on my face. To be able to sleep under the stars and watch the sun rise and set with no walls, no phones, no noise. Just me surrounded by nature. So I resigned........

I had a hard time breaking away from my boss as by now I had been working for him for over 6 years and he did not want me to leave. We came to a compromise, I would work for him three days a week. This would give me the freedom to ride around taking photographs, allow him to still have me doing his work and I could afford to keep a roof over my head.

Although this arrangement was not what I really wanted, it had advantages and I decided to try it for a few months to see how it would work. The end result was that it did not. I was still restricted to how far I could travel in the four days and I wanted to go further to different biospheres and regions such as the semi-desert of the Karoo in the south-west so I resigned again, this time for good. Who knows at this stage how wise my choice is but I do know that I need total freedom no matter that I would basically have to be living off bread and water in order to fulfil my dream. Who cares anyway? As long as I can be out there living the life I want to, I will manage somehow.

My final pay check I wanted to put aside as a small nest egg and for use in case of emergencies but after careful consideration decided to blow it all on something better to live in than my car and this is it, my new home.
 It is a tent on top of a trailer which is pulled by the car. This is how it looks when the tent is erected. The window you see in this picture is by the double bed.
 As you come into it, there is a small room where I can put in a chair and table. All the sides of the lower part have windows with mosquito netting on them which allows a breeze through. It also has a flap which lifts up to give shade and I can either sit under it or park the car there.
I can fully open both sides if I want to and if I wanted, can buy another room which zips onto this. All of this folds down flat on top of the trailer for easy transportation.

Make no mistake, the way I am going to be spending the rest of my life may sound grand and glamorous but that is very far from the truth. I will have no bathroom facilities or running water and no where to keep food fresh. Africa is a harsh continent with extreme weather of hot, cold, windy and dry and if that doesn’t get me, the ants and mosquito’s will. Notice I do not mention crime, bad roads and freaks of nature I will have to contend with.......

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Getting rid of memories

12th October, 2012.

It is with some trepidation and anxiety plus a whole lot of excitement that I make my plans to head into the unknown. Where will I end up? What will I do? What will become of me? What does life have in store for me? All these questions and more go through my mind as I pack and I wonder if Burton and Livingston felt the same when they set off to explore?

The hardest things for me is getting rid of over 50 years of memories....... The one thing I am pleased about is that I have managed to capture most of my records on the computer. No matter what has happened in my life, I have always dragged my boxes of vinyl’s with me and having them stored for over 25 years, hearing them after so long brought back many things to my mind. If there is one thing I am sorry I have to let go of, it is this collection. They have been with me through all the ups and downs in my life and each song has a powerful memory of its own.

But I get ahead of myself, let me go back to the beginning.....

I spend over 23 years living and working in the African bush as a tour guide and loved every single minute. Contrary to belief, it is not the glamorous job everyone thinks it is. I worked an average of 12 to 18 hours every day, 365 days a year and there are tremendous pressures on you to see that each client has a wonderful trip, that they are taken care of and time limits are adhered to etc. Along the way, I met some of the most fascinating and wonderful people from all walks of life and from almost every country and culture in the world.

When the powers that be decided that my old face was not the image of a tour guide anymore, I came back to the city which I hate and started work in an office which I hated even more. You can imagine that this was like a cultural shock after so many years of open air, animals and freedom and I found it extremely difficult to settle down. Because of my lifestyle, all the friends I knew were gone, all my family passed away and I was completely alone for the first time in 55 years.

I had been doing slide photography of animals for years and joined a photographic forum to share my pictures, stories and experiences with the people on it. One man there started posting pictures of insects and I became hooked on macro photography but I was still back in the stoneage with my 35mm camera. It took me a year to save up for a digital camera and to start taking pictures of my own and I fell hook, line and sinker in love with this new and totally fascinating world I found myself in. Before, insects were a buzzing and annoying bane, something to be shoo’d away and ignored, now the colours, differences and variety became a source of wonder and excitement.

So began my journey. The more I saw the more I wanted to know and learn. I bought all the books I could find and started studying. I started pestering expert entomologists to tell me what I had found when I could not find them in my books and slowly but surely built up my knowledge. I met many interesting people in my quest for more knowledge, people willing to share their knowledge and expertise with me.

My dream began then..... the one which would enable me to go back to the bush I loved, the only place I belonged and called home.....

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dinosaur Park

Dinosaurs dominated life on earth for 150 million years. All dinosaurs lived on land, and had well developed hind legs.More than 350 different types of dinosaurs have already been identified, and many more will still be found. The biggest dinosaur is called Ultrasaurus, and was discovered in Mexico. It weighed in excess of 90 tones.
Although dinosaurs are classified as reptiles, many scientists believe that they were warm – blooded. If so, they would have been active, sociable and reasonably intelligent. Dinosaurs could move much faster than modern day reptiles. Some dinosaurs were always on the move, and must have had a fast metabolism.
The closest living animals to dinosaurs are birds. Small warm blooded dinosaurs 200 million years ago developed feathers to keep warm, and these creatures were the ancestors of birds. Like birds, dinosaurs laid eggs and had nests. Some even had communal nesting sites, and practiced parental care. Some dinosaurs had gizzard systems, like birds. Dinosaurs and birds have similar hollow bones and ankle joints
It is difficult to prove that dinosaurs had feathers, as feathers rearly fossilize, being soft tissue. Fortunately there is always a couple of exceptions to the rule, and distinctly feathered dinosaurs fossils have been found in Germany and more recently China.
Dinosaurs and crocodiles share common ancestors, and are thus related. BUT dinosaurs developed dramatically over time, crocodiles did not change much. They are perfectly adapted to survive, and can go for up to two years without having to eat at all.
They have a normal pulse rate of 23 to 24 beats a minute, And when it becomes very cold, the pulse can drop to between 2 and 3 beats a minute. Crocodiles did not become extinct when the dinosaurs died out. Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.

A huge meteorite smashed into the earth , resulting in a massive explosion, hurtling clouds of dust, smoke and watervapour into the atmosphere. These clouds obscured the sun, and the earth cooled rapidly. Plants died. Leading to the death of first plant eating and then meat eating dinosaurs. A huge crater has been found just off the coast of Mexico, positive proof of a major impact. Some smaller animals survived this ordeal, and as the sun set on the dinosaurs, it dawned on the age of mammals.
There were mammals during the time of dinosaurs, but they were small, inconspicuous, hiding from dinosaurs at all times. When dinosaurs became extinct, the mammals managed to survive. They can keep warm, as they have fur on their bodies. They are small, and don’t need much food.
Smaller mammals tend to store up food for hard times, and they have warm burrows in which to ward off the intense cold that killed the dinosaurs. The mammals went on to become the dominant animals on land. During the millions of years that have passed since the death of dinosaurs and before man, many different mammal species have come and gone.