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Walk in Africa Blog - Capturing the Spirit of Africa and Nature
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13 Jun

The time of the Impala Lily

This is a very special time in the lowveld, because it is now that the beautiful Impala Lily flowers. For most of the year these plants are devoid of both leaves and flowers. This assists in reducing water loss in the harsh arid environment in which these plants survive. As an added adaptation to survive the harsh dessicating environment these plants store water in their stems and have a cylindrical shape - which minimises surface area (over which the plant loses water) relative to its volume....

9 Jun

What a start to a fantastic safari

Every safari is wonderful and each is unique but where else in the world can one be fly -fishing at sunrise and watching lions devouring a buffalo at sunset?   That is exactly what we did on the first day of my recent safari with Jacqueline & Grant Day. We were landing ( & releasing) four and five lb trout as the eastern horizon turned red. And when the sun set on the same glorious day we were watching a pride of fourteen lions feeding on a buffalo.   When I sort-out video editing, I'll...

2 Jun

Beautiful Desert Flowers

By the time you receive this newsletter I will be on a new adventure, about which you will receive news at a later date. However today I am thinking about the beautiful flowers which I saw earlier in the year in the Succulent Karoo. The genus Polygala is a very large genus with wide distribution throughout the world. They are recognisable by their wing-like flowers with stamens and style protruding like a brush. This Karoo specimen was clearly recognisable as a Polygala, but because of its desert habitat it possesses thicker succulent...

26 May

The story of Blitz & Chippie

I have posted about Cape Fur Seals before but this post is different and deals with a controversial character and his relationship with some seals. Seals are large animals with adult females weighing about 120 kg and males weighing between 200kg & 300kg. They possess large sharp teeth used for capturing and grasping their prey as well as for defence. Blitz is a heavily tattooed, cantankerous, scary-looking character who is often to be found at a local harbour. Over the years he has developed a relationship with the wild seals that frequent...

19 May

Look beyond

The Cape coast is characterised by having enormous forests of kelp (Ecklonia maxima). These remarkable plants grip the substrate with a holdfast and grow rapidly to the sea surface, where they maintain their position by way of a gas-filled bladder that ensures that their fronds are maximally exposed to sunlight for photosynthesis. Besides being a characteristic feature of our shores, these kelp forests are vitally important in the ecology of the area. They act as a baffle, reducing the strength of the high-energy currents and providing a protected zone in which...

4 May

A spider on the world wide web

My travels and guiding have prevented me from writing a newsletter for quite a few weeks so I feel that I owe it to you to write a special piece this week. On my most recent safari we spent a few days at Umlani Bush Camp and after the massive March rains the bush was still very lush. Most noticeable was the enormous numbers of Banded-Legged Golden Orb-Web Spiders (Nephila senegalensis) on their giant webs. They were present in such large numbers that it was impossible to avoid damaging some...

8 Apr

The Succulent Karoo

I have recently returned from an extended stay in the Succulent Karoo. one of the unique biomes of South Africa. To many people this arid region appears boring and of little ecological value however nothing could be further from the truth. This area has the greatest plant diversity of any arid area in the world and is home to a staggering 3,000 different succulent species. Many of these bear showy flowers when conditions are suitable and most (like that shown below) are members of the Mesembryanthemaceae (sometimes classified as Aizoacaea).   As...

17 Mar

A very clever fool

It is generally known as the April Fool but this strikingly beautiful flower is no fool. I was leading a group from KE Adventures UK. We were wading through a sea of fynbos when we came across this flower that stopped us in our tracks. If you look closely you will notice that the leaves of the plant have died-back but the flower is in full bloom. Right now we are experiencing the driest, harshest period of the year with dessicating South-Easterly winds. The leaves of these plants are broad and strap-like and have...

11 Mar

Back from the brink (part two)

In the past few months I have been extremely fortunate to see Cape Mountain Zebra several times. Many people think a zebra is a zebra is a zebra, but this is not true at all. The Mountain Zebra differs considerably from the Plains Zebra which is commonly seen in many parts of Africa. As you can see in this photo the Mountain Zebra have a distinct dewlap on their throat. Not only are their black stripes narrower and more numerous but they lack the faint shadow stripe seen in Plain's Zebra and...

3 Mar

Lies & deception in the plant world

Last week on another platform I promised to tell an intriguing story about  that beautiful Disa ferruginea (The Cluster Disa). The story is set in the Western Cape amongst the fynbos. This area is characterised by soils that are low in nutrients. An important character in this story is the Pride of Table Mountain (Aeropetes tulbaghia), a strong flying butterfly that is obsessed with the colour red. In its search for food this butterfly is attracted to the red flowers of Tritoniospis triticea (Mountain Pipes) from which it obtains a reward...