For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sterkfontein Caves - Part 3

Part of the complex consists of six cathedral chambers, largest of which is the dripstone-decorated Hall of Elephants, 23 m (75 ft) high and 91 m (300 ft) long.
Other chambers include Fairy Chamber, Bridal Arch, Lumbago Alley and the Graveyard.
Dr Robert Broom, of the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria, began excavations of the cave in 1936 and made several discoveries of bones and other fossils.

His great find came in 1947 – the exceptionally well-preserved skull of a species of early man-ape which he called Plesianthropus transvaalensis, who lived about two million years ago.

The skull was that of a female and became known as ‘Mrs Ples’.
The species has subsequently been reclassified as Australopithecus africanus when the skull was positively recognized as belonging to the same species as the 'ape-child' skull discovered by Professor Raymond Dart at Taung in the northern Cape in 1924.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sterkfontein Caves - Part 2

Discovered by an Italian prospector Guigimo Martinaglia, who was searching for gold and lime in 1896, this labyrinth of interconnected caverns was formed over millions of years by underground waters slowly dissolving the dolomitic rock.

Now the water table has dropped and the spectacular eroded shapes of the dolomite can be seen as one walks through a vast chamber to an under ground lake which fills other extensive caves beneath its surface.
Its tranquil, crystal-clear waters extend some distance into unexplored chambers.

Several interesting dripstone formations are to be seen; although, sadly, many of the cave's more spectacular stalactites and stalagmites were removed or damaged by early limestone-mining activities.
In one part of the cave, visited by tourists, is a portion of an ancient consolidated infill that collapsed about 2 million years ago from an older and higher cave.
Above this infill is a long shaft which leads up to massive deposits which are currently being excavated by scientists.
Other deposits being worked in one part of the underground cave system date back to 3 million years.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sterkfontein Caves - Part 1

The Sterkfontein Caves - about 50 (30 miles) km from Johannesburg - is the site of some of the most important discoveries concerning the evolution of man and has been declared a World Heritage Site.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dahlias - Part 1

I love flowers!! There is no end to the variety and color of them. These dahlias are amongst my favorites.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Caveman days - The fire plant

This plant dates back to caveman days and was frequently still used up to about 100 years ago. Now, with the advent of electricity, the usefulness has died out but if you every find yourself stranded in Africa, remember it.
We call it "the Baboons Tail" and even after a veld (bush) fire, new leaves still pop out.

It grows to about 3-4 feet in height.
There is not a place in South Africa where I have not seen it growing.
If you seperate the very fine parts of the stem.....
you can see how fibrous it is inside.
What cave dwellers did was take one of these "tails" and soak it in animal fat for 3 or 4 days. The fat would draw into the fibre and when set alight, would burn for about 4 hours depending on the lenght of it.So, when we go back to living in caves, remember to have some of these useful plants around.