Western Cape April-May 2016

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:05 pm

With a delay of 16 months I’m now presenting my trip report to Western Cape in South Africa.
As usual, this was a family trip with my wife and 2 teenage kids. We visited 7 locations in 12 days from the 24th of April until the 5th of May 2016 and we avoided long driving stretches. We visited several Nature Reserves both state and privately owned but we also spotted wildlife in parks and gardens.
South Africa was a great experience in many respects; the people, the landscapes, animals but also the food was great. The landscape was quite dry and the nights were getting cold but the weather was fine during the day. We managed to find a few reptile species but I had hoped for more snakes and at least one Leopard-tortoise. As for the amphibians, it was simply too dry and therefore I decided not to waste too much time with night searches.
We managed to find some great specimens and outside the scope of this site, we saw 30 species of mammals and 137 of birds most of wich I was able photograph.
The Trip started in Cape Town with a quick visit to the Cape of Good Hope where we lost a lot of time because it was Sunday and everyone was out on the road.
We stayed a few hours in Hermanus where we visited the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and headed East to The Hoop Nature Reserve. This is a great open area where we hiked by the coast and in the dunes.
After the Hoop Nature Reserve, we went to the Cape folding hills arround swellendam and Montagu. We hiked on those hills but also in the dry area known as Little Karoo.
The last few days were spent arround the Cederberg to the East of Clanwilliam and at the coast in the area of Doringbaai and Strandfontein. There I saw the only DOR snake of the entire trip, a (psammophis leightoni) from wich I do not present a picture.
I hope I’ll hike the same paths and a few new ones in the near future, to once again try to find the very interesting species that roam the great landscapes of South Africa.
Miguel.
Attachments
Western Cape.PNG
Western Cape.PNG (99.43 KiB) Viewed 498 times
1 Trachylepis capensis Cape Town.JPG
(Trachylepis capensis) was the first reptile of the trip. We saw 3 in the garden of our Hotel not far from the airport in Cape Town.
2 Cordylus niger Cape of Good.JPG
(Cordylus niger) is a species of very limited range but they are very common along the coast tot he South of Cape town and on the Cape of Good Hope.
2a Cordylus niger Cape of Good.JPG
3 Agama atra Cape of Good Hope.JPG
(Agama atra) was the most seen reptile in Western Cape.
3a Agama atra Cape of Good Hope.JPG
Habitat in the Cape
4 afrogecko porphyreus Hermanus.JPG
The first (Afrogecko porphyreus) was seen in Hermanus.
5a Chersina angulata Hermanus.JPG
We saw 5 tortoises (Chersina angulata) just outside Hermanus.
5b Chersina angulata hermanus.JPG
This one fell into a hole next to the road.
5c Chersina angulata Hermanus.JPG
One more in situ.
6 Agama atra De Hoop.JPG
Nice Male (Agama atra) in De Hoop.
7 cordylus cordylus De Hoop.JPG
We found some (Cordylus cordylus) in rocky areas in De Hoop.
8 pedioplanis lineocellata pulchella De Hoop.JPG
The only (Pedioplanis lineocellata) found in the area.
9 DSC_3595 trachylepis homalocephala De Hoop.JPG
This (Trachylepis homalocephala) was found just 10 cm away from the previous lizard.
10 goggia lineata De Hoop.JPG
Early morning I saw something moving between the litter bags. I thought it was a cockroach but I was rewarded with a very small (Goggia lineata)
11 De Hoop.JPG
Later on I found this……??? In the stone wall next to our house . Any idea what this 6-7 cm cricket might be?
12a pachydactylus geitjel De Hoop.JPG
This small (Pachydactylus geitjel) was also found in the Hope under a fallen signpost.
13 afrogecko porphyreus Swellendam.JPG
In Swellendam I saw again some (Afrogecko porphyreus)
14 Chondrodactylus bibronii swellendam.JPG
We saw quite a few (Chondrodactylus bibronii) in Barrydale to the Northeast of Swellendam.
15 Chondrodactylus bibronii swellendam.JPG
17 cordylus cordylus Montagu.JPG
Just outside the town of Montagu we saw a few (Cordylus cordylus)
18 pedioplanis lineocellata Montagu.JPG
In the same area I saw 2 (Pedioplanis lineocellata). These look a bit different from the one seen in De Hoop.
19 Bitis Rubida Montagu.JPG
This very little (Bitis rubida) was found just before sunset to the North of Montagu. I took a few pictures in low light but unfortunately I didn’t have my Macro Lens with me. Still I was very happy to have seen this little gem. It was about 30cm long.
21a Vandijkophrynus gariepensis Montagu.JPG
Not far from a dry river but active due to the heavy rain from 2 night ago I found one (Vandijkophrynus gariepensis) Toad.
21b Montagu.JPG
The landscape of the Little Karoo and on the foreground the white stone under which the toad was.
22 afrana fuscigula Montagu.JPG
Next to a lake nearby I saw 3-4 (Afrana fuscigula)
23 agama atra clanwilliam.JPG
In the area of Clanwilliam the (Agama atra) was widely seen.
24 trachylepis occidentalis clanwilliam.JPG
Next to the Cederberg Mountains I spotted 3 (Trachylepis occidentalis)
25 trachylepis sulcata clanwilliam.JPG
The (Trachylepsis sulcata) were much more common in the area.
26 trachylepis sulcata clanwilliam.JPG
One big adult male.
27 Strongylopus grayii clanwilliam.JPG
Along the local stream I found quite some (Strongylopus grayii) with some color variation.
28 Strongylopus grayii clanwilliam.JPG
29 Strongylopus grayii clanwilliam.JPG
Stream where the frogs were
30 Hemidactylus mabouia Clanwilliam.JPG
Here is a gecko I didn’t expect to find in Clanwilliam.
31 Hemidactylus mabouia Clanwilliam.JPG
(Hemidactylus mabouia) were present in good numbers on the walls of the Hotel where we stayed. It this a known population? It took me a while to find out what they were. Or am I wrong about the species?
32 cordylus polyzonus Doringbaai.JPG
Along the West coast from Strandfontein to Doringbaai we saw lots of (Cordylus polyzonus)
33 cordylus polyzonus Doringbaai.JPG
34 trachylepis variegata Doringbaai.JPG
(Trachylepis variegata) were also present in good numbers.
35 Doringbaai.JPG
Habitat along the coast.
36 psammophis notostictus Doringbaai.JPG
I saw one (Psammophis notostictus) but he escaped under same (Big) stones but I found a skin shed just next to where I saw it.
miguel santos
 
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:42 pm

Did you have to pay for entering private nature reserves? Are they being subsidized by state?
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:50 pm

Fore some reson I'm not able to place more pics at this time.
I'll try later on again.
My mobile and my computer can not access the page for some reason...
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:45 am

To answer you question Michal, I did have to pay to enter both types of reserves.
You pay a conservation fee to acess all state reserves in Western Cape including the Cape of Good Hope.
I also stayed for the night in a few reserves, you can camp or rent a room/house.
You can enter the Fernkloof reserve in Hermanus for free.
I avoided the Game reserves where you are not even allowed to walk because of Lions, Buffalo and other animals.
Half of my picutes were taken outside those reserves. You can safely walk in the Cederberg area or along the West and South Coast.
We also took a few hikes on the hills arround Swellendam and Montagu and there were plenty other hikers on the paths. we never felt unconfortable doing that.
I would not do the same just outside other towns closer to Cape Town....
That was at least my own feeling.

PS:I finally managed to place all the pictures but I kept the text to a minimum because I was afraid I would loose the connection to the site after editing.
I lost the connection quite some times in the process.
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:11 pm

Good job on finding that Bitis rubida! The grasshopper appears to be Dictyophorus spumans.
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:12 pm

Miguel, are these reserves fenced?
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:54 pm

I think they are all fenced to prevent bigger wild to roam agriculture lands nearby The Hoop is fenced for sure it is quite big 34000Ha see :
http://www.capenature.co.za/reserves/de ... e-reserve/
Fernkloof is not fenced (I think) and you have a nice parking area and info center in the valley in Hermanus.
I visited The African Game Lodge ( North of Montagu) about 5000Ha of Private reserve next to a few other state and private owned in a greater well defined conservation area. This one is really nice because they have a lot of hiking tracks through the dry karoo but also 2 dams that attract a lot of wildlife. They have no Lions therefore you walk along giraffes, wildebeest, kudos, springboks, aardvark, oryx and all other smaller wildlife.
In the Northwest (Cederberg and the coast) and in the Cape fold Mountains (Montagu and Swellendam) nothing is fenced except maybe for very small properties.
You don't actually need to go into fenced areas to see most or any herp type.
But there is a lot of other wildlife you can see on the reserves and also the habitat restoration taking place in some of them does provide shelter to many herp species.
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:05 pm

Thanks for info Miguel but do you know whether private wildlife reserves are subsidized by the state?
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:07 pm

Hi Bobby,
I was very happy to have found the (Bitis rubida), the local guide from the reserve had never seen one before, I gave him the pictures for reference. They keep a nice record of birds sightings and other animals but no rubida in it.
(Dictyophorus spumans)?
I think you are right!
Bedankt,

Miguel
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Re: Western Cape April-May 2016

Postby miguel santos » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:10 pm

sorry Michal I really don't know.
Maybe you can ask them on :

http://africangamelodge.co.za/

Good luck.
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