Saturday, 24 July 2010

Guidebooks: Australian Wildlife

This guide to the wildlife of Australia by Stella Martin is the latest in the colourful Bradt series. The Introduction and the first chapter The Backdrop, are fascinating and valuable reading to a continent which has had 35 million years of evolutionary isolation. All the main animal groups are covered in chapters which include Habitats, Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians and Freshwater Fishes, Invertebrates, Marine Environment, Where To Go and Top Tips. Its 192 pages are packed with colour photos and there are many maps. All in all, this is a beautiful book and one packed with facts and insider info for the visitor wishing to see the incredible wildlife of this remarkable place.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Rockjumper Birding Tours

South African offers, quite simply, some of the very best wildlife and birding experiences on the continent. Indeed, South Africa boasts the highest total of endemic bird species of any African country. Key birds are Southern Bald Ibis, Black Harrier, Short-clawed, Red, Sclater’s & Barlow’s Lark, Drakensberg Rockjumper, Cape & Gurney’s Sugarbirds, Black-headed Canary, African Penguin, Taita Falcon, Blue Crane, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Ground Woodpecker. In addition, a rich seabird assemblage and large numbers of more widespread, yet no less spectacular, African birds and large mammals occur. Add to this the rich botanical heritage and scenic splendor of Africa’s most varied country, fine food and wines, comfortable accommodations, first-world infrastructure and superb value for money. South Africa is the "backyard" of Rockjumper Birding Tours, a company with a team of guides which includes some of the country’s most experienced birders. They have specially designed tours to maximize various aspects of their magnificent country. If going to SA, then drop them a line.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Destinations: Kruger National Park - South Africa

The Kruger National Park is one of the main destinations in South Africa for wildlife tourists. Each year there are more than half a million visitors. The park is in the NE and stretches from the Crocodile River in the south up to the Limpopo River in the north, which is an international border. Altogether it is 350 km long, 65 km wide and comprises an area of about 20,000 sq km. A network of roads of 1863 kms crosses the National Park, 697 km of them being tarred. For the visitor there are numerous differently equipped rest camps, most of them scenically positioned. Within the park boundaries, travel is only allowed between sunrise and sunset. After dark one has to stay in one of the fenced camps. The best time for observing the large mammals - Lion, Leopard, various Antelopes, Zebra, Elephant, Buffalo, White & Black Rhino, etc - is the dry winter season as the grass is low and bushes and trees don't have leaves. Because it virtually doesn't rain in winter, the animals come to the waterholes to drink in the mornings and evenings and can easily be watched from vehicles. Krugar is also a great places for birders.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Wildlife: Swallowtail butterfly

The Swallowtail Papilio machaon is one of Europe's most beautiful butterflies. It is fairly common in the south, particularly around the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins.