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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South Africa

Fab beetle: Large, horned, colourful and unidentified

I had not seen such a large, colourful beetle before, and definitely not one with such an ornate y-shaped horn projecting from its face. This beetle is so large and distinctive, at least it should be easy to identify I thought. Continue reading “Fab beetle: Large, horned, colourful and unidentified”

Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden

Mostly I notice skinks when they are basking in the sun, but last week I watched one on a hunting expedition in the herb patch and understood what focused little predators they really are. Continue reading “Likeable lizards: Striped skinks in the garden”

The hopefulness of a baby bird

First we saw one of the handsome parents, and then we saw the long-legged fluffball: a baby spotted dikkop. How special to see the caring and attention lavished on this precious little chick. Continue reading “The hopefulness of a baby bird”

Camdeboo National Park: Resilience amidst desolation in the Karoo

Camdeboo National Park is best known for Desolation Valley with its panoramic viewpoints where tall columns of volcanic rock tower up to 120 m high over the plains of Camdeboo below. The aridity of the region gave rise to the name Desolation Valley. It is even more desolate now in the current drought emergency. Continue reading “Camdeboo National Park: Resilience amidst desolation in the Karoo”

Wild Rescue Nature Reserve: Step out in a peaceful floral kingdom of wonders

At Wild Rescue Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Reserve, we had the pleasure of staying in a beautiful stone-walled thatched cottage built in the Cape style. We had the opportunity to walk along narrow trails through intriguing vegetation in the reserve, which is classified as a Critical Biodiversity Area. Because of its variety of contrasting soil types, all the major plant communities of the Agulhas coastal plain can be found in close proximity in the 165-hectare nature reserve. Continue reading “Wild Rescue Nature Reserve: Step out in a peaceful floral kingdom of wonders”

Walking in the Gamkaberg

A morning walk following the Tierkloof Hiking Trail through a narrow gorge between towering sandstone cliffs was a highlight of our recent stay at Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Little Karoo region of the Western Province. Continue reading “Walking in the Gamkaberg”

The intertidal zone: Pooled assets

Receding waters at low tide reveal sea life in the lee of onshore reefs and in shallow rock pools. Snorkeling along reefs in even shallow water reveals a dazzling display, and rock pools too provide insights into subaquatic worlds within worlds. Continue reading “The intertidal zone: Pooled assets”

The time of the season: Guttural toads go a-courting

Guttural Toads and other frogs have been galvanised into springtime activity by sprinklings of early season rain. The males have been calling for mates culminating in pairs spawning in our pond. Continue reading “The time of the season: Guttural toads go a-courting”

Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful

Butterflies are widely appreciated for their beauty and their fleetness on the wing, as much as they are associated with transformation, hope, joy and love. Continue reading “Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful”

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