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Nature Stories Archives - Walk in Africa
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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...

30 Dec

An adventure with David Livingstone

This week I enjoyed a peach of a day with David Livingstone - Seriously! His family came along as well, and his wife's name is Debbie - not Mary Moffat. He hails from New York rather than Scotland and he is not exactly a protestant missionary. You see this is a contemporary David Livingstone but nonetheless he was exploring Africa and we hiked in the Table Mountain National Park on a fat juicy perfect day. [caption id="attachment_2477" align="aligncenter" width="300"] A peach of a day in paradise[/caption] We were fortunate enough to see two...

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...

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...

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. ...

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...

24 Jun

Cape Fur Seals and Great White Sharks

In False Bay, not far from Cape Town city lies a small island called Seal Island, which is home to about 64,000 Cape Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus). The pups are born in early November and are dependent on their mother's milk for 9 months, during which time they build up enormous fat reserves to sustain them when they take to the sea and have to learn to feed for themselves.     Around about now is the time that theses young inexperienced seals begin to leave the island on feeding forays. And this...

17 Jun

Beautiful Cape Winter Days

We have had the most beautiful warm sunny days in the midst of a wet winter. Since I will soon be departing on an exciting safari I'm fitting-in as many walks with my furry Belgian friends as possible before my not-so-furry Belgian friends (especially Jan) drag me off on safari.   This time of year heralds the start of the flowering season in The Cape (although there are ALWAYS beautiful flowers out here). One of the first flowers to appear is Chasmanthe floribunda, the Cobra Lily or Pimpiempie. In my first year living...