Nomads Nature Photography and Travel Reviews
Husband and wife team capturing the beauty of South African nature and reviewing the hospitality industry
Plunge - The Lisbon Falls are the highest waterfalls in Mpumalanga, South Africa. They are located close to God's Window and the many other waterfalls in South Africa's Mpumalanga province, like Berlin Falls, Lone Creek and the Mac-Mac Falls. The Lisbon Falls are just three kilometres to the south of the Berlin Falls on the Lisbon River. The Lisbon River plunges down in a double stream, 90 meters high, over a semicircular rock face. There is a 100-meter footpath leading from the parking area.
Camouflage - Giraffes are fairly social animals and get together in herds from time to time. However, there is no group bonding. Because of their very long necks, Giraffes are able to feed on the foliage of trees that is not accessible to other herbivores. The long prehensile tongue is used to pull pods and leaves into the mouth which are then stripped from the stems with the spatulate incisor teeth. Their skin colour is tan with light brown patches on females and dark brown patches on males.
Caution - The Nile Crocodile is a large and aggressive species with a broad snout, especially in older animals. It has a dark bronze colouration and darkens as the animal matures. Lives in a variety of freshwater habitats but is also found in brackish water. It is an apex predator that is capable of taking a wide array of African vertebrates, including large ungulates and other predators. Crocodiles are ambush predators, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack.
Concentric - The red-knobbed coot is an omnivore and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds. Its main food in most waters, however, comprises various waterweeds for which it commonly dives. Where it is disturbed it is likely to bully any intruder, even large birds such as Egyptian geese, if they do not defy its challenges. It can be seen swimming on open water or walking across waterside grasslands. It is an aggressive species and strongly territorial.
Illusive - The Burchell’s Coucal is more often heard than seen. Its call, which is a cascade of bubbling notes, usually emanates from the deep undergrowth, the habitat that this species prefers. It mainly calls in the morning, but it will also call throughout the day and even on moonlit nights. It is sometimes called the Rainbird because it calls before, during and after rains. This Coucal occurs in most of South Africa, except the arid west. It is common on the Highveld. It is found in thickets
Dishevelled - One of the characteristic predators of the African savanna the Spotted Hyena was long thought to be solely a scavenger, but it is now known that it is one of the most successful hunters. Its sloping features and ungainly walk, together with its eerie call have earned the Spotted Hyena a bad reputation. Long thought to be of the dog family the Hyena is now thought to have more cat-like features. The Spotted Hyena is well known for its macabre chuckle or "laugh".
Disturbed - Banded Mongoose males are only heavier than females during the immature stages. In adulthood both sexes are similar in size and mass, weighing about 1.5 kg. This Mongoose is characterised by triangular shaped, pointed faces and flat broad ears. They have long bushy tails and a long coarse coat. Colouration is greyish-brown with an unmistakable series of light and dark vertical bands across the back and flanks. Underparts are lighter with elegant dark legs.
Curled - Kudu bulls bear massive, long, spiral horns which reach record lengths of up to 1.8 m. Horns grow to their full length at the age of six years. Bulls also attain much larger sizes than cows. Bulls can weigh as much as 300 kg with a shoulder height of 1.4 m and cows weigh 210 kg with a shoulder height of 1.25 m. Tawny-brown to grey-brown coat, marked with white stripes on flanks which vary greatly in shape, size and pattern. V-shaped band on the forehead and white spots on cheeks.
Bastion - Robberg Nature Reserve is a national monument steeped in history, with prehistoric rocks and Stone Age artefacts. The reserve, situated 8 km south of Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route, is not only a nature reserve but also a national monument. Rocks from this region date back 120 million years to the break-up of Gondwanaland and evidence of middle and later Stone Age inhabitation has been found in a few of the caves along the peninsula.
Alert - One of the more common antelope of the African savannah, Impala have been referred to as the Macdonalds of the bush as they are of the most common prey for predators. The distinctive markings on the rump also resemble the company logo to a degree. The Impala is preyed upon by most of the large carnivores and the young often fall prey to Pythons. The Impala is therefore on constant alert. Should one of them spot danger, it will snort an alarm and the whole herd will scatter.
Haze - Plettenberg Bay is a seaside town on the Garden Route in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The sandy Central Beach and Lookout Beach both have surf breaks. To the south, Robberg Nature Reserve is a rocky peninsula with trails and the Stone Age Nelson Bay Caves. Northeast is Birds of Eden, a free-flight bird sanctuary in the indigenous forest, and an elephant sanctuary. Whales come near the coast in migration season.
Prickly - Elephant trunks have multiple functions, including breathing, olfaction, touching, grasping, and sound production. The trunk's ability to make powerful twisting and coiling movements allows it to collect food, wrestle with other elephants, and lift up to 350 kg. It can be used for delicate tasks, such as wiping an eye and checking an orifice, and is capable of cracking a peanut shell without breaking the seed. With its trunk, an elephant can reach items at heights of up to 7 m.
Flutter - Gull nests are usually mats of herbaceous matter with a central nest cup. Nests are usually built on the ground, but a few species build nests on cliffs, including the kittiwakes, which almost always nest in such habitats, and in some cases in trees, and high places like Bonaparte's gulls. Species that nest in marshes must construct a nesting platform to keep the nest dry, particularly in species that nest in tidal marshes. Both sexes gather nesting material and build the nest.
Joyous - Like most members of the horse family, zebras are highly social. Their social structure, however, depends on the species. Mountain zebras and plains zebras live in groups, known as 'harems', consisting of one stallion with up to six mares and their foals. Bachelor males either live alone or with groups of other bachelors until they are old enough to challenge a breeding stallion. Unlike the other zebra species, Grévy's zebras do not have permanent social bonds.
Furl - Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern, harvested for use as a vegetable. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond. As fiddleheads are harvested early in the season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground. The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a violin. It is also called a crozier, after the curved staff
Silky - When the sun is low on the horizon during sunrises and sunsets, the sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere. Shorter wavelength colours (blues and violets) get scattered out. This leaves more of the longer wavelength colours like yellow, orange, and red. This is why sunrises often take on such colours. When the sun is higher in the sky, smaller particles scatter much of the blue wavelength, which is why the sky appears blue. The human eye is more sensitive to blue than violet.
Poise - The cattle egret feeds on a wide range of prey, particularly insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, flies and moths, as well as spiders, frogs, and earthworms. In a rare instance, they have been observed foraging along the branches of a banyan tree for ripe figs. The species is usually found with cattle and other large grazing and browsing animals and catches small creatures disturbed by the mammals. Studies have shown that cattle egret foraging success is much higher when foraging.
Jubilant - Hippos are remarkably agile and aggressive. They occasionally kill or scavenge impala, kudu and buffalo. Sometimes they even kill humans. On nightly sojourns out of the water, hippos trek miles to nibble on tasty vegetation – including crops, making humans and hippos uneasy neighbours. Most grazers rely on sharp incisors to carefully nip the top of vegetation. Hippos do have lengthy incisors and canines but their purpose is combat, not grass mowing. These mammals have to clip grass.
Trust - The Cheetah's coat varies from a tawny to golden tone covered in a pattern of solid black spots. The fur is coarse to the touch and not silky as it appears. The Cheetah’s long thick tail has spots, which turn into rings and at the end is tipped with white. The throat and abdomen are a creamy white in colour. The Cheetah has a small head with high set eyes and short rounded ears tipped with white on the back. The most well-known characteristic is, however, the distinct black “tear mark”.
Prime - The waterbuck is known for its trademark white ring around the hindquarters which they use as a 'follow me' sign. Only the males have horns which are handsome, long and prominently ringed, sweeping backwards and up. The eyes and nose of the waterbuck have beautiful white markings and it has a noticeable white collar under the throat line. Waterbuck has a brownish–grey shaggy coat with a lot of hair around their necks. This neck hair is hollow which allows for extra buoyancy when swimming
Caged - Lions are in serious decline across most of the African continent. According to the most recent International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessment, as few as 20,000 lions remain. The increasing trade in lion bones and other body parts is recognized as a major threat to existing lion populations, alongside habitat and prey loss, human/wildlife conflict and poorly regulated trophy hunting.
Markers - Umhlanga has many luxury hotels and apartments right on the beach, including the Cabana Beach Hotel, the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Oyster Box Hotel, the Umhlanga Sands Hotel and Pearls of Umhlanga apartments. Many of these have views of the landmark lighthouse. It has a large increase in population during the summer months.
Peak - Clarens is a small town surrounded by its main attraction - mountains, especially since the village itself is situated in the foothills of the Maloti Mountain range of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The never-ending landscape of mountains such as the Rooiberge, the range encompassing Clarens and Maloti, also spelt Maluti, is just some of the town’s tourist attractions. The Maloti Mountains are often referred to as ‘majestic’ due to its shades of purple and blue.
Proud - Egyptian Geese - also known as Nil Geese named for their place of origin (the Nile Valley in Africa) - are large, very distinctive waterbirds with conspicuous dark chocolate-brown eye patches. These water birds are excellent swimmers, but are mostly terrestrial and can be seen perching on trees and buildings. Their maximum recorded lifespan in captivity is 25 years. The ancient Egyptians considered the Egyptian Geese sacred and these geese appeared in much of their artwork.