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Walk in Africa Blog - Capturing the Spirit of Africa and Nature
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3 Nov

When is a Mole not a Mole

In southern Africa we do not have any true moles. Instead we have beautiful, silky, cute Golden Moles. Since they live underground they are seldom seen but this week I was very fortunate to find a Cape Golden Mole - (Chrysochloris asiatica).   These beautiful creatures look remarkably like the true-moles which are found in America, Europe & Asia. While they are also primarily insectivorous they are quickly differentiated by the fact that our Golden-Moles have four digits on their front feet compared with five claws in the true Moles. The similarity...

21 Oct

Flying pink whales

At the risk of being boring, I must mention once again that I live in an incredibly beautiful part of the world. This picture of a flock of Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber) was taken just a few minutes away from my house. These elegant birds feed on tiny insects, crustaceans and diatoms, which they obtain by filtering the water through fine bristles in their bill. This is precisely the same technique used by Baleen Whales to extract their tiny food species from the water. In fact many fish species as well...

14 Oct

Humpback Whales in Mozambique

Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are enormous baleen whales measuring up to 16 metres in length and a weight of about 30 metric tonnes. They produce a complex song that lasts for approximately 10 minutes and is repeated. This song is thought to play a role in courtship. These whales spend the summers in polar waters and migrate to tropical and subtropical waters to bred and to give birth. The numbers of these magnificent animals were drastically reduced by whaling, but have recovered well since the 1966 moratorium. While out at sea on...

6 Oct

Half man, half goat – entirely flower

The Cape Peninsula is home to an astonishing number of indigenous plant species. It is believed that there are approximately 2,285 species on The Peninsula. Amongst this ridiculously large diversity of plants are over 100 species of orchids. Right now is the time for the members of the genus Satyrium. This genus is named after the mythological hedonistic Greek creature the Satyr, because it too has two horns in the form of spurs on the lip of the flower. Unlike the classic ostentatious flower that most people associate with orchids, the...

24 Sep

Rolling the frontiers of conservation forward

I was on safari again in the Parque Nacional do Limpopo. In spite of the enormous challenges facing the establishment of this National Park in Mozambique I find it to be an incredibly exciting initiative. We have a constant barrage of negative environmental news and in the face of that an initiative that creates vaste tracts of new space (1.1 million Ha) for wildlife is nothing short of a miracle. The animal numbers in this National Park are not yet very high but the diversity is there and it will not...

9 Sep

An exquisite new species (for me)

Last week, while walking in the mist, I came across this exquisite Pincushion Protea. This is Leucospermum lineare and  have never before seen it in flower.   It is no secret that I have a soft spot for Leucospermums and find them wonderfully photogenic. So the remaining photos are simply my celebration of this beautiful flower and a celebration of the spring. I hope that enjoy these pictures as much as I do. ...

12 Aug

Why are the rhino poachers still out there?

This morning I was fortunate enough to be watching three of the surviving square-lipped rhino in the wild. It was simultaneously a thrill and a time of sadness and dread. I wondered whether these three magnificent animals would still be alive next week or next month. This is no melodramatic hyperbole! At the current rate of slaughter of these remarkable and iconic beasts, the survival of these three, beyond the next year, is slim indeed. I have been involved in the wildlife & conservation arena for most of my life and...

29 Jul

The sweet smell of fresh water

Elephants have a remarkably well developed sense of smell. In fact the acuity of their sense of smell is beyond our comprehension and it is only through observing them in the wild that we can begin to imagine how sensitive is their olfactory ability. They also have a preference for fresh water and their remarkable sense of smell allows them to detect where the underground water is closest to the surface. In order to reach the sweet sand-filtered subterranean water they regularly dig holes in dry river beds. The length of...

22 Jul

The problem with being tall

Those of us who have grown-up watching Giraffe don't realise it, but they really are weird looking animals. Most of us have been told since childhood that the incredible height of a giraffe (up to 5.5m or 18 feet!) is an adaptation to allow it to reach food material beyond the reach of other browsers. Personally I'm not convinced that this was the driving selective force for that great height. I think that excellent vision combined with great height provide giraffe with their best predator-avoidance mechanism and it is this advantage...

15 Jul

At the movies

I've just returned from a wonderful safari with a very small, super-talented film crew consisting of Jan Stevens, Stijn van der Veken & Patrick Verbraecken who were working on a documentary on the life & times of Steve Bolnick. We started in my coastal fynbos home . . . . . . and proceeded to my bush home Amazingly the very first animals we saw on this safari were three Cheetah. This photograph clearly illustrates how well camouflaged these regal animals are when in their natural habitat.     We worked hard and had some...