Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sharing Saturday Critters with Eileen

Continuing to post on our biking tour in South Africa last month, I'm joining Eileen in her Saturday Creatures Party Meme. 

Just below Lesley and Derek's seaside home, I watched as a colony of Dassie (Rock Hyrax or Rock Rabbit) frolicked on the vegetation. While they are cute critters, I think they wreak havoc to any serious gardener's efforts. Interesting fact about the dassie is that its closest relative in the elephant!

The dassie (Rock Hyrax or Rock Rabbit) 

Down at the Sanparks Ebb and Flow Nature Reserve, Wilderness, in between spotting lbj's (little brown jobs/birds,) I also photographed other wildlife.
A pair of Helmeted Guinea fowl intent on showing me what they thought of me and my camera! 

Later that afternoon, as we had our coffee on the teeny deck of our cabin, we watched a family of Egyptian geese near the pond below. I was fascinated to see that the male took over babysitting duties while the female relaxed on the grass nearby.

 The male Egyptian Goose (Gander) watches over their brood of goslings while mum relaxes nearby

Although the sexes of the Egyptian geese are almost identical, you can normally tell the male by his larger body and thicker neck

The next morning before dressing in our bulky-ish biking gear, Grant and I walked around the camp once more. I was in search of a good photo of the local iconic bird: The Knysna Turaco (Previously known as the Knysna Lourie) 

Although we saw many of these birds around, they flew into the heavily leafed trees where they seemed to be gorging themselves on certain berries which were ripe at the time. Turacos hop from branch to branch and make it very difficult for a novice photographer like me to get a decent photo  a photo at all! 

I did console myself with a photo of a tortoise whose slow traverse across the lawn, gave me ample time to snap it at leisure!
Angulate Tortoise at Ebb and Flow Park, Wilderness

We later loaded the bike, and set off up the road to Knysna. As this is only about forty minutes drive away, we ended up arriving just after Mart and Pete had served their guests with breakfast. We subsequently spent two wonderful days with these dear friends, lunching in local restaurants, enjoying Pete's BBQ's on the Guest House deck and generally catching up on news.

While having tea on the deck on the first day, Susan  one of Mart's house ladies called Pete to come and "kill the snake". Of course, we all dashed out to the back garden where Susan had seen the snake. I had my camera ready and took a photo of it before Pete placed it in a pillowcase. He and Grant walked out of the Guest House property to a nearby nature reserve and released this almost harmless reptile. (It's vital to remove the live snake far away and release it in a safe place - i.e. the bush. Unfortunately the local people kill all snakes on sight!)
A young night adder sunning itself on Pete and Mart's sunny patio behind the Guest House. If this snake bites you, and you don't attend to the wound, you can end up in serious trouble

From Knysna we rode up the N2, stopping over at friends in Port Elizabeth for lunch. We left the windy city shortly after 1pm as was a storm brewing; being on a bike in inclement weather is nothing new to us, but we didn't feel like enduring it this day.

We arrived in Port Alfred to sunny skies and booked into a Guest House which we always patronize when in this beautiful town.

We didn't feel like a heavy meal that night, so we popped into the local supermarket and bought a variety of strong, cheeses, a small bottle of figs in syrup and a packet of savory biscuits. This we enjoyed on our small veranda while watching the birds and other [wild]life in the garden.  
A pair of Hadeda Ibis kept us entertained (and me focused - LOL!) while we enjoyed our light supper of cheese and biscuits

And as I take photos of cats wherever I travel, I just had to post this lad.  (Apparently he's a visitor - not a resident cat)

For more interesting posts of bloggers joining Eileen's Saturday Critter party, please click here


  1. On one sight you have a whole zoo around you ! I have never seen a dassie, the birds are unknown to me, the only critters I know are the turtle and the snake, but only in a zoo. Except turtles some people keep them as pets.

  2. The Dassie is a cute critter, he/she is looking right at you. Great pose. It is cute seeing the Guinea fowl, even if it is their backsides. I can see their helmets. Love the cute ducklings, a nice geese family. The tortoise is one of my favorites, I only see them at zoos here. Great post, Jo. Thank you for sharing on my critter party. Have a happy day!

  3. Interesting and enjoyable to see this variety ! :)

  4. cute critters. are they freely roaming? don't they eat each other?

  5. Amazing to think of that little Daessie being related to the elephant! Love all the variety live in a critter-rich area!

  6. This is my idea of a great tour ... new scenery and critters critters critters. Fun series. Happy Critter Day!

  7. What a marvelous post for Sat Crits ~ Your photography is excellent and such a wonderful array of nature's gems ~ thanks, Happy Weekend ~

    artmusedog and carol

  8. What fascinating and exotic to me) animals and a cute tabby cat! Great shots.

  9. How fun to see so much wildlife in this area. The dassie is new to me, and I don't see how it can be related to elephants.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo