Northern Cape 2013

Northern Cape 2013

Postby Durban Keeper » Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:54 am

I Recently got back from my second visit to the Northern Cape & Ill tell you what, the doctors say I should be fine once they manage to remove this Toyota Tazz from my backside! One tends to forget just how vast this country of ours is! Between my best friend & I we did just under 5000 kms worth of driving. Cant believe my couple days spent there have come & gone. I got to find and photograph some awesome reptiles & got to see parts of the country that are just mind-blowingly beautiful. As I sit here I feel really blessed & fortunate to have had the opportunity.

On to the photos! This post is 'Picture heavy' so maybe give the images a few minutes to load before scrolling down. On Friday the 4th we finished work at 8pm & hit the road after dark. Early Saturday morning we arrived in Bloem & after a few hours sleep pushed on further up North. The first stop was at the Augrabies falls where I wanted to see & photograph the colourful Flat lizards that live there.

Pictured is a male Augrabies Flat Lizard - Platysaurus broadleyi
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And a much less attractive female specimen.
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This dried up river bed tells the story of better times.
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Turf war between mammal & Reptile
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As we where approaching Springbok the sun was slowly setting on yet another day.
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One of the first reptiles I managed to find was this tortoise.

Angulate tortoise - Chresina angulata
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Although one of the most abundant reptiles, these proved the most difficult to photograph due to the sheer speed at which they move!

Namaqua sand lizard - Pedioplanis namaquensis
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These incredible little geckos where much more cooperative.

Rough gecko - Pachydactylus rugosus
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Rock koppies such as this one was abundant with lizard life.
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One of the most common inhabitants was the Girdled lizard.

Karoo girdled lizard - Karusasaurus Polyzonus
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Bibrons, Cape, Pigmy & Webers geckos where also right at home within them.

Bibrons Gecko - Chondrodactylus bibronii
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Cape Gecko - Pachydactylus capensis
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Namaqua pigmy gecko - Goggia rupicola
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Webers gecko - Pachydactylus webri
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I observed many Skinks such as the Western rock skink basking.

Western Rock Skink - Trachylepis Sulcata
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I came across this Dwarf Legless Skink while flipping rocks along the base of a koppie.

The Namaqua Dwarf Legless Skink - Acontias tristis
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The first two snakes I came across where found moving along the road at night.

Namib tigersnake - Telescopus beeetzi
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And then this interesting little fellow...

Schinz's blindsnake - Rhinotyphlops schinzi
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Geckos where also prolific on the roads & many where unfortunate enough to have been run over by cars.

Giant ground gecko - Chondrodactylus angulifer
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I suspect it's these beautiful Quartz geckos that the Tigersnakes where after.
They where by far the most common on the roads & I found myself constantly chasing them out of harms way.

Quartz gecko - Pachydactylus latirostris
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Even Though it's not flower season, the Nama-karoo is a magical place.
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We decided it was time to give the herping a short break and set up camp in Groen Revier along the most beautiful piece of pristine & rugged coastline.
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Hell it's tough living in Africa!
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But the next morning before the sun was up I was scratching around again looking to see what reptiles call this coastline their home.
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Cape Skink - Trachylepis capensis
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Delalande's Beaked Blindsnake - Rhinotyphlops lalandei
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Later during the day I witnessed this unusual sight of Ostriches running wild across the beach.
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At the river mouth these Flamingo's where chilling out, something I have also only ever seen in parks.
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As we where making our way back to civilization this cute Angulate tortoise decided it was a good time to cross the road.
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Once back in springbok it was right back to herping. That night we found this feisty little tiger as well as a house snake that got me all worked up!

Namib tigersnake - Telescopus beeetzi
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Brown House Snake - Boaedon capensis (mentalis)
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The next day I decided to pay Steinkopf a visit.

Luxury accommodation.
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My Tazz going where few Tazzes have gone before!
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Southern Rock agama - Agama atra
Female
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Male
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That night we headed up to Port Nolloth & set up camp. It was cold & rainy & not at all good for reptiles of any kind.
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These guys however didn't seem to mind the rain at all!

Namaqua rainfrog - Breviceps namaquensis
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Once agitated they inflate their bodies and become almost balloon like.
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They also have the most unusual call, this photo was taken mid-call.
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We packed up our tents that morning well knowing our trip was nearing it's end. I convinced my friend that we should book into a backpackers a few hundred kilometres away so that I could have one last shot at finding some reptiles before we hit the long road home...and it turned out to be a good call!

Egg eater - Dasypeltis loveridgei
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Namib tiger snake - Telescopus beetzi
Notice the much more red colouration.
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Two striped shovel-snout - Prosymna bivittata
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Leopard tortoise - Stigmochelys pardalis
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And as all good things come to an end...
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It was time to hit the road back to Durban.
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Can't think of a better way to start the new year!

Thanks for looking
Dean Boshoff
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby kfc223 » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:57 am

Wow Dean!

Now those are some really awesome finds. I but it must have been a treat for you to see those awesome Telescopus beetzi.

Keep up the good work.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Westley Price » Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:31 am

Dean, the wait for the pictures to load was worth every second (or should I say minute!)

A very impressive species list with a few nice rare finds also. Congrats!

I am sure you are mif from all the driving, but would do it all over again if given the choice.

Cheers man, thanx for taking the time to post. Best topic in a while, but of course I am slightly biased, haha.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Nick Evans » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:04 am

Stunning photos and some really nice finds!
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Lourance Klose » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:05 am

Great set if images, very cool. I am glad that you managed to find some cool herps, pity that the weather didn't co-operate when you went up to Port Nolloth.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Mitton » Sun Jan 20, 2013 9:55 am

What a post, great stuff Dean.
Some great finds shown through fantastic photography! Well done!
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Kev » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:20 am

The flat lizards at Augrabies are a sight to see, I haven't been there since I was a child and still remember them vividly.
Awesome post Dean, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby ClintonT » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:06 am

A fantastic post. Stunning pictures as usual. Looks like you had an amazing time.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Mr Venom » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:12 am

This is by far topic of the year!

Thank you so much for sharing your trip with us Dean, amazing work as always!

That telescopus beetzi is my favorite.

I'm sure that you really enjoyed the trip.

Can't wait to see another one in the future.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Westley Price » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:32 am

BTW, I still don't have the new P. weberi and P. serval taxonomy worked out, so maybe that is not weberi, but some newly described species split from weberi.

With a locality I could maybe give you a better idea.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Bushviper » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:38 pm

That must have been a dream holiday. I wonder how many people would have done the same route and said "we did not see anything of interest". Great pictures too.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby snarf » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:29 pm

Thanx for sharing Dean, awesome quality photo's. Some amazing animals living in our "back yards"
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Francois » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:28 pm

Wow is all I can say!

I go to Springbok almost every long weekend because my grandpa lives on a farm there, but I've never found as much snakes as that. It also looks like you've found every species on this trip that I have seen in Springbok my entire live (except for maybe a few gecko species). Would you say it's worthwhile to roadcruise the tar roads? And did you use a off camera flash to take the pics?
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby cpcg » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:55 pm

Wow,i give u 10/10,beautiful pics. Keep up the good work of taking pics outhere.
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Re: Northern Cape 2013

Postby Jason&Sam » Sun Jan 20, 2013 6:05 pm

What a great post Dean. Looks like a killer road trip you guys had. Very nice quality pictures too.
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