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Khamai Reptile Park
15 Nov 2012

Khamai Reptile Park

This beautiful Burmese python is one of hundreds of snakes and other reptiles that live at the Khamai Reptile Park, just outside the Limpopo town of Hoedspruit. The centre does really valuable conservation work in an area with a particularly high concentration of snakes. Allowing visitors to handle one of their non-venomous snakes is part of Khamai’s educational tour, which helps address fears and misconceptions about snakes, chameleons and other reptiles that often lead to them being killed. 

These unnecessary deaths place additional pressure on reptile populations already affected by agricultural development, urbanisation, mining, erosion and pollution. The centre also conducts important reptile-related research and helps lodges, farmers and local communities within the region to relocate so-called ‘problem’ reptiles into the wild. 

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

p.s. Thanks to Warren Garvie for the edit.

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Beautiful Dancers
12 Nov 2012

Aren't these guys just the most beautiful dancers..?  Although our Facebook commenters note that they pack quite the bite!

Grey Crowned Cranes at the top of Naude's Neck; Eastern Cape.

Image from the Nightjar Gallery

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Waiting for the Woodies...
7 Nov 2012

Any day now, the woodland kingfishers will be back. Their annual return, generally signalled by their loud, trilling call (treet teerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr), heralds the halcyon days of summer in the lowveld and other areas in the north of South Africa. We place friendly bets on the much-anticipated arrival of the birds, affectionately known as ‘woodies’. It usually happens in the second week of November, when the first ones make their return from Central Africa known. Within days, the area is full of them and the males start aggressively securing nest sites and partners, spreading their wings to look more impressive, and calling incessantly. Breeding starts in December and after that the birds become quieter, although you will still spot the tiny blue comets in the tree tops right up until mid-April. Note that despite their name, Woodland Kingfishers seldom eat fish; their staple food is insects.

- Dianne Tipping-Woods

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Beautiful Africa
6 Nov 2012

Just another reminder of how much beauty there is to appreciate in Africa. This stunning hillside was snapped between Kenya and Tanzania.  They say photography is a patient art, and a photo like this really illustrates that - in harsh light this would have been a photo of a muddy puddle, but with the cloud reflections it becomes something entirely different!

Photographer: Wajahat Mahmood - [License]  [Gallery]

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Jenman Safari's Save the Rhino Charity Calender
5 Nov 2012

And now for a different kind of nature ;-) This is Jenman Safaris' Save the Rhino Charity Calendar !!! We're so impressed by the bold step these guys have taken with their tasteful yet sexy calender, which goes for ZAR120 and the full selling price goes towards saving our rhinos. Very cool - do check our their page on Facebook!

Mama Nightjar and The German (4)
3 Nov 2012

Recently, Mama Nightjar came to Cape Town with a German friend to show her a local's perspective... Well, here is the German's version of the story ;-)

Anfang Oktober waren wir unterwegs von Kapstadt, über Bettysbay nach Hermanus um endlich Wale zu sehen. Kurz vor Bettysbay sahen wir dann unseren ersten Wal. Er schwamm im seichten Wasser langsam und gemütlich umher, tauchte ab und rekelte sich dann wieder. Er strahlte eine Ruhe aus, die nicht in Worte zu fassen ist. In Hermanus bestiegen wir ein Boot, welches wir schon vorher gebucht hatten. Wir waren kaum aus dem Hafengelände gefahren, da sahen wir schon den ersten Wal. Erst schwamm er nur, tauchte ab und prustete dann seine Fontäne heraus. Und dann sahen wir ihn drei mal hintereinander springen. Es war so schön, wie ich es schon einige male im Fernsehen gesehen hatte. 

Nach der Bootstour aßen wir in einem Restaurant in der Bucht von Hermanus und sahen immer mal wieder Wale, wie sie schwammen, sich drehten, abtauchten und nur ihre Schwanzfloße zu sehen war. Das Essen war ganz in Durchschnitt und für die Qualität zu teuer. Die Lage aber ist genial.

Am nächsten Morgen sahen wir dann von unserem Balkon des B&B Misty Waves (sehr zu empfehlen) erneut Wale

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2 Nov 2012

Nature - beautiful, but hard. These gorgeous Greater double-collared sunbird chicks, spotted in the Giant's Castle Game Reserve, are so beautifully huddled on this branch... because a troop of baboons destroyed their nest in search of food. Sadly, this makes their chance of survival slim.

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Crested Guineafowl
29 Oct 2012

Did you know that Crested Guineafowl are monogamous, with long-lasting pair bonds?  Males are often seen running meters and meters with food in their mouths to feed females during courtship. Gives a nice story to this photo from the Nightjar Gallery [taken at Cape Vidal] - although, with my luck, these two are probably totally just friends :-)

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