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nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South Africa

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”

Skeletons in the garden Pt 1: Terracotta cicadas

Cicadas are best known by the loud high-pitched sound adult male cicadas make mostly during the months of summer. Even though they are loud they are hard to locate and so well camouflaged they are difficult to spot, and typically we only see cicadas that have accidentally bumbled indoors. But sometimes we may come across exoskeletons left behind by cicada nymphs at the time of their last moult into their winged adult form. Continue reading “Skeletons in the garden Pt 1: Terracotta cicadas”

Watching butterflies emerging and getting ready to fly

To see a butterfly emerging from the pupa to uncurl and spread its wings is akin to watching a miracle. Following on from last week’s post, here is my record of what might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: witnessing individual butterflies emerge from the pupa (chrysalis). Continue reading “Watching butterflies emerging and getting ready to fly”

The blues is alright: Butterflies and flowers

Members of a subfamily of gossamer-winged butterflies known as “the blues” are common in our garden. It is only when they open their wings that their blue colouration is revealed. Although these butterflies are small – in the region of about one inch across from wingtip to wingtip – their markings can be intricately detailed. Continue reading “The blues is alright: Butterflies and flowers”

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