Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Accounts and photos of non-captive reptiles in their natural habitat in South Africa. Try to record with your account details such as time of day/night, temperature, weather conditions, lunar cycle, sex, rough age of reptile, and so on.

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Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Durban Keeper » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:01 am

After a rather busy 2014 my girlfriend & I decided an early year break was in order. We opted to do a cross country road trip, one which saw us covering a distance of over 6300 kilometres in a space of 3 weeks. Right from the start she made it quite clear that this was not to be a ‘herping trip’, but a holiday. That of course didn’t stop me from flipping and cruising every time the opportunity to do so presented itself. Here follows an account of the breathtakingly beautiful places we visited and some of the animals I was fortunate enough to encounter along the way.

Our first stop was Golden Gate National Park near Clerens in the Freestate.
This would be our home for the next few days. Now I don’t know about you, but I would choose this over going 5 star any day of the week!
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There are some nice hiking trails in the area, one of which led up to this small cave.
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Sandstone formations on the cave walls
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My first snake species for the trip was an Egg Eater.

Dasypeltis scabra - Rhombic Egg Eater
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The next find happened on only the 2nd day of our trip and turned out to be one of the best finds of my life!
After this I just felt like no matter what happened from here on out, this trip was already a success.

Lamprophis fuscus - Yellow Bellied House Snake
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Our next stop was Graaf Reinette, a town in the Eastern Cape where we spent some time exploring the nearby Camdeboo National Park.
The town has one of the most impressive churches you will ever see.
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There is a viewpoint from within the nearby Valley of Desolation of the entire town.
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Valley of Desolation.
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I was pleased to find my first ever cape cobra.

Naja nivea - Cape Cobra
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Here are some of the other things I found in the area.

Lygodactylus capensis - Cape Dwarf Gecko
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Pachydactylus maculates - Spotted Thick Toed Gecko
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Chondrodactylus bibronii - Bibron's Gecko
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Pachydactylus capensis - Cape Thick Toed Gecko
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Trachylepis sulcata sulcata - Western Rock Skink
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Pseudocordylus microlepidotus fasciatus - Karoo Crag Lizard
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Agama atra - Southern Rock Agama
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Stigmochelys pardalis - Leopard Tortiose
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Vandijkophrynus gariepensis - Karoo Toad
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Karoo:
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We stopped over for two nights in Langebaan to spend some time in the magnificent West Coast National Park. Even though it was not flower season, the park is beautiful.
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During our visit to the park the most common reptile (or animal for that matter) that we encountered was Angulate tortoises.

Chersina angulate - Angulate tortoise
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Karusasaurus polyzonus - Karoo Girdled Lizard
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Pachydactylus geitje - Ocellated Thick-toed Gecko
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Psammophylax rhombeatus - Rhombic Skaapsteker
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Leptotyphlops nigricans - Black Thread Snake
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While on a hiking trail I decided to check out a derelict bird viewing hut. Upon nearing it I heard the tell-tale sound of a rat meeting it's fate & stormed inside to find a mole snake which had just caught it's prey! What a way to tick a lifer. I only managed a few poor quality shots before he disappeared out of sight to consume his meal in peace.

Pseudaspis cana - Mole Snake
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We made our way down to Cape Town for a few days.
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My girlfriend had mentioned back at the start of the trip that weather permitting, we should climb up Table Mountian. Unfortunately the sun decided to shine & so we did the hike. It wasn't easy, but the views made it well worth it.

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Pseudocordylus microlepidotus - Cape Crag Lizard
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Cordylus niger - Black Girdled Lizard
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Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon
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These cute guys also call the mountain home.

Procavia capensis - Rock Hyrax
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We also made a stop at Boulder Beach near Simons Town to see the African Penguins.

Spheniscus demersus - African Penguin
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Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled Leaf-toed Gecko.
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A very special moment of the trip was finally getting to see these guys:

Ouroborus cataphractus - Armadillo Girdled Lizard
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Pachydactylus mariquensis - Marico Thick-toed Gecko
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Goggia lineata - Striped Dwarf Leaf-toed Gecko
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Hyperolius m. verrucosus - Painted Reed Frog
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During our trip I was lucky enough to tick a tortoise species off my life list I have always wanted to find. Not only that, but I found 2 in very different localities.

Homopus areolatus - Parrot Beaked Padloper

Western Cape near Oudshoorn:
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Eastern Cape near Grahamstown:

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Some other reptiles that turned up near Grahamstown:

Acontias orientalis - Eastern Leggless Skink
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Lycophidion capense - Cape Wolf Snake
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Cordylus cordylus - Cape Girdled Lizrad
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And so out road trip came to an end.
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Thanks for looking.

Dean
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby reptile » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:14 am

What an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing! Nice colours on the skaap steeker!
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Mitton » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:16 am

Awesome awesome awesome!!

What an amazing post with amazing finds and showing our amazingly beautiful country!

That Skaapsteker is a real beauty with those blue spots.

Still love that Graaf Reinette church, where my parents got married.

Well done Dean and thanks for posting!
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Gabriel Martinez » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:52 am

What a very nice compilation of landscape and interesting species! The Lamprophis fuscus is simply amazing! Also very cool the Mole with prey, cape cobra, etc... fantastic! congrats!!
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Viper_SA » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:10 pm

Awesome photos. The cape cobra are my favorite shots.
Happy herping :D

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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Fooble » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:39 pm

Great post!

Some very familiar places ;)
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Westley Price » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:35 pm

Great work man.

For a non-herping trip you have certainly managed to tick quite a few boxes there! Well done!!!

Awesome photos too.
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Allen G. Liebenberg » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:31 am

Super Pics and finds.This is the kind of news that we need more of.
Congrats.Very kind girlfriend too!!!
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Durban Keeper » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:18 pm

Hi Everyone. I just want to apologise for the fact that the images are not showing up. I will just have to wait for the photobucket account to reset & then I will bump the post. In the mean time they are all up on my Facebook page.

Regards.
Dean Boshoff.
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby Durban Keeper » Thu Mar 19, 2015 5:58 am

Photobucket account has since reset. Apologies for the inconvenience. Dean
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby ichrd » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:35 am

what a beauty!!

a sight for sore eyes.

Thank you for sharing.
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby rolandslf » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:04 pm

Nice One Dean
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby levi_20 » Tue Mar 24, 2015 11:34 am

Mind blowing photos!! Nice to see a post with some Cape Town shots for a change :) Thanks for sharing
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Re: Freestate, Western & Eastern Cape 2015

Postby mania » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:46 pm

Great Photos. Really liked the pictures of the Cape cobra
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