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, March 25, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (6-8/02/2014) Day 22-24

Jozini / Kosi Bay / Sodwana Bay
The road to Kozi Bay goes over a high mountain passed Jozini Dam which can be seen below.
There are many private game reserves in this area situated along its banks and a yearly Tiger fishing competition is held there.
Kosi Bay itself is unfortunately not available to anyone not driving a 4x4 vehicle so was not accessible to us although we stayed there overnight at a lovely caravan park and early the next morning, headed for Sodwana Bay.
For many years now, this Bay has been renowned for deep-sea diving and the excellent fishing so people flock there in droves all year long.
The weather had changed and it was overcast and rainy so the miles of white, sandy beaches did not lend itself to sunbathing however at low tide, there are many stretches of rock exposed which I found a delight to explore.
The tidal pools are full of tiny fish....
beautiful sea urchins....
and the most magnificent stones and shells.
There were a few Blue Bottles along the water line which people with bare feet have to watch out for as they STING!! J

The following day saw no improvement in the weather but we took chairs onto the beach and watched the boats taking people out to go diving and spent a relaxing day lounging around.
Of course we could not help but want to go exploring the rock pools again and after a long walk on the beach, made our way to the tidal pools again.
 We stayed at the Parks Board camping grounds which is huge and as there were not too many people there, we had a marvellous choice of prime spots to choose from.
Gaelyn did not want to go diving or swimming with the sharks (wonder why?) LOL!! Instead, we spent more time exploring the rock formations which look like mini mountain ranges.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (5/02/2014) Day 21

Badplaas Mineral Baths
Badplaas belongs to Forever Resorts and is situated on the R38 near Carolina in the Mpumalanga region.
 Our stopover there for one night en route from Kruger to St. Lucia was not enough to fully enjoy all the resort has to offer as this is a place the whole family can enjoy at least a two week vacation. There are many types of accommodation available to suit everyone’s needs from chalets, guest houses and log cabins......
a hotel .....
and a camping site with 300 stands where we stayed overlooking the surrounding hills.

The main attraction for us was the Hydro Spa in which we spent a few hours soaking our weary bones but as there was so much else to fit in, we could not tarry too long there.

Outside, there are various pools of different temperatures to suite all tastes including some shallow ones for the children.
I think that the waterslides and tubes are the most used and SO much fun!!

Gaelyn enjoyed them immensely! :D

The gardens are beautiful and a must to walk around in.
Being a warm water spring, there is a beautiful arch with some of the water flowing which come directly out of the ground.
The resort offers a complex where there is a small shop, bottlestore, beauty parlour, ATM’s, a restaurant, doctors, laundry, fuel station. etc. 
For those looking to find the ideal place for a conference, there are three available.
Activities range from game drives, paintball, go-carts, horse riding, putt-putt and many more to keep the children from being bored.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (31/1-4/02/2014) Day 16 to 20

Lower Sabie

Both Lower Sabie and Crocodile Bridge Rest Camps are very small and popular so it is advisable to make bookings if you want to stay there, especially when camping. I have stayed at each of these many times and the game viewing in these areas is brilliant and wonderful for photography.

On our first morning at Lower Sabie we came across a Tawny Eagle which had caught a snake which looked to be about 5’ (1.5m) in length. When we first saw him, he had obviously skinned it and was eating the meat surrounding the bones. 
I did not take many pictures while there as I wanted Gaelyn to get as many as she could because she was on holiday and I would always get another chance at them. On the main road to Skakuza one morning, I did however come across this beautiful Carman Bee-eater which I could not resist. There is one bank in the river where I know they make holes to nest in and stopped by to watch their activity.
Crocodail Bridge

Around Crocodile Bridge you can see almost every species of animal found in the park so one morning we decided to head for the Hippo Pool to see what we could find. During our stay in KNP, we saw at least one pride of lions every day but our mission was still to find a leopard. The water in the river  was very high with only one hippo seen in the distance.
In a shallow cave above the water, there is a sample of rock art but over the years, this has eroded and pieces have broken off the cliff leaving only this image for us to see.
However, the rock formations are worth looking at as there are some stunning places where higher water levels have wash away the soft sandstone. We had EXTREMELY good luck on leaving the pools as we found a leopard just busy climbing out of a tree!! No time for any pictures but Gaelyn managed to get three which were unfortunately lost a few days later when her computer was stolen.
Due to the extremely hot midday temperatures sometimes felt at this time of year, we always took a break during the hottest hours and this gave us time to catch up with processing pictures to post.
Crocodile Bridge is situated near the small town of Komatiepoort and was an ideal opportunity to do some shopping and stop for a good breakfast at the Wimpy there.
A fantastic sighting for me was to find this Long-crested Eagle sitting on a telephone pole. They are not often seen and almost never so close that I could capture an image with my miserable 300mm lens so I was pleased to get half decent shots.

Then, after two glorious and exciting weeks in the Park, it was time to head on down the road.......

List of animals seen – too many to mention all but a few are: Lion, Leopard, Kudu, Crocodile, Hippo, Elephant, Black and White Rhino, Buffalo, Hyaena, Rock and Water Monitor, Wilddog, Hyrax (Dassie), 4 species of mongoose, etc. plus at least 100 species of birds.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (27-30/01/2014) Day 12 to 15 – Part 2

Satara Rest Camp

In a small pool of water left by the rains, there was a small herd of buffalo wallowing in the mud.
It seems that two of them had been injured as one was bleeding from the nose and the other from the ears and I wondered if this was caused by them fighting or if it was maybe Bovine TB which first reared its ugly head in the Park during 1990. BTB is considered an alien organism as it is picked up along the southern borders of the Park from domestic cattle. It not only affects the buffalo but also the carnivorous species which feed on them such as lions, leopard, cheetah, hyaena and baboon. For more info on the testing done in the Park, please go to this link:  

A Giraffe had a strange-looking disease on his skin along his neck.
I do not know what it is nor can I find out anything about it.
The following three photo’s really made me chuckle. LOL!! This elephant decided to take a nap against a tree but his trunk kept getting in the way.
He shifted around a bit and finally got the pesky thing out of his way by putting it up. LOL!!
Even in sleep, the ears still flap to cool him down or was it to get rid of the flies? J
Monitor Lizards are the largest of the species found in South Africa and can reach lengths of up to 2m (6’). They mainly eat small prey such as birds and their eggs, snakes etc. and can often be seen in trees raiding nests during the breeding season.
No two giraffe have the same pattern and colour.
What luck!! I had been trying to find a leopard and going back to camp late one afternoon, here was a youngish one sitting on a bridge in full view!! Oh my!! What a BEAUTIFUL sight!!
He did not even stir for about 10 minutes which allowed us to take some great shots. It is incredible to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
The young Zebra foal had a very black face which looked like the hairs had been rubbed off the skin. A birth defect? No telling what might have caused it.
This is what a normal Zebra face looks like.
After a thrilling stay at Satara, it was time to move on......