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

Friday, May 30, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (3-4/03/2014) Day 47-48

Warmwaterberg Spa
For our visit to Warmwaterberg Spa, Gaelyn and I each had our different ideas of what we wanted to do there.
For me the main attraction was finding what plants, animals etc were found there and the beautiful walks but for her, the idea of relaxing in the Roman Bath and the wonderful Malva Pudding she had there last year.
Warmwaterberg Spa is a mineral hot spring situated between Barrydale and Ladismith on Route 62 from Montagu to Oudtshoorn.
The Spa is set on a 600Ha property and offers self-catering accommodation for those who wish to do-it-themselves, but also has a full-service licensed restaurant, bar and off-sales for those who want to indulge.

 A small kiosk supplies basic necessities, including braai-wood and ice alongside a selection of groceries.

 The main attraction is our unique hot water (44°C at the source). It is very high in iron content, making it extremely healthy and sweet-tasting. Many visitors claim to experience a soothing and calming effect after bathing in the water, which is completely untreated and fresh from the artesian spring.

In addition to the two hot pools, there is a cold pool and a number of roman baths (imagine “bath” for up to six people!) on the property.
 Think of it this way: at the kiosk you will pay a small amount for 500ml of bottled mineral water. Here you can step into a freshly-tapped roman bath containing 1000 litres of (many say superior) mineral water and bath in it! Try some of our specially-formulated bath salts to further enhance the experience.
 The other great attraction of the Spa is its location – set high up on the foothills of the Warmwaterberg Mountain, you will enjoy panoramic views over the little Karoo, clear from the Langeberg to the Swartberg. Barren and desolate to some, but to those with a little knowledge of the Succulent Plant Kingdom, unrivalled in specie numbers, diversity and beauty on any of the five continents!
Enjoy these special plants from close-up along our spectacular 6km walking trail on the edge of the mountain, and see how many of the over-2000 endemic species you can identify! The best season to see them in flower is spring, but this depends on winter rainfall. If we have a good season, they are spectacular!
  If you time your walk for the early evening or at daybreak you might just bump into Springbok, Duiker or Steenbok who also make the property their home.

For more information and pictures as well as contact details, please go to:

Sunday, May 25, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (1-2/03/2014) Day 45-46 Karoo NP – Part 2

Fossil Walk

The land of Dinosaurs has always been something of a fairytale one for me until you see actual bones of the creatures which existed then. The region of the central Cape has seen many archeological finds and seems to have been a prime site for living back in their days. Had to believe when looking at the semi-arid vegetation which now exists that once upon a time it was the bottom of a lake or sea and the vegetation was more lush.

This post was a difficult one to do and take photographs of as all of the exhibits are under glass (which was not very clean) which is a challenge itself. The sun was also shining on all the boards which had to be taken at an angle to avoid the glare. Instead of writing all the information over again, I have just included the information boards themselves. All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them. 
The statement above is very difficult for me to accept and I sometimes think that us humans assume too much and write things as fact when we do not actually know if it was so. For example, this extract from one of the boards says it was the first animal to stalk its prey – how do we know that? We assume it might have been but do not know for sure. We also do not know what it preyed upon as we were not there to watch and certainly could not track them and find out if they had a good sense of smell.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

SA Diversity Tour (1-2/03/2014) Day 45-46

Karoo NP – Part 1
It is amazing to find such diversity here
Not having been to Karoo National Park before, I was not sure what to expect. The Park is situated in a very arid region and the terrain varies between flat grasslands and high mountains.

The vegetation is very much the same as in most of the Karoo region, mostly hardy plants which can survive the low rainfall and almost all have thorns to prevent them being eaten.
Amongst the animals seen there were zebra
and Mountain Rhebuck
 with evidence of Dassies (Rock Hyrax) everywhere.
During the year, flowers are seen throughout different season and they are really spectacular.

Most of all I was thrilled to find a Wild Pomegranete in bloom, a species I had been looking for for ages.
While setting up camp, we spotted this huge tortoise feeding on the grass. He is so used to people in there that I went to lay on the grass in front of him to take pictures and he just carried on eating.
One of the common beetles there is the Toktokkie or Tapping Beetle which taps with its rear end on the ground to advertise that he is near and waits to hear if a female will tap back.
They sure have huge Corn Crickets there and this one was determined to get away and not let me take his picture but I did anyway. J
I was happy to also find this beautiful Emperor Moth