SOUTH AFRICA 2005

Cape Reptile Institute

 

Springbok
Northern Cape Province


Map of Springbok, Northern Cape Province.
(click on map to enlarge)

The drive from Cape Town to Springbok too several hours but the roads are excellent. Tony and Ryno had hired a minibus sufficient to transport our entire group (eight persons) and our baggage in relative comfort. Apart from the stop at Cederberg Nature Reserve we made only brief stops enroute to Springbok where we were booked into several rooms at the Namakwa Chalets. Each monring we took breakfast at a café in Springbok and each evening we ate out at the Godfather's Restaurant on the other side of the road.

Namakwa Chalets - our accommodation in Springbok. Godfather's Restaurant - our dining place in Springbok.
clockwise: Tony, Wolfgang, Johannes, Ryno, Maik, Cathy, Bina and Mark.

 

Not our transport in Namaqualand !
but parked outside our breakfast café.

We did some herping around Springbok, mostly in a disused dump south of the town which proved to be surprisingly well populated with herps and surrounded by interesting rocky habitat.

Habitat around Springbok town dump.

One of our first finds, or rather Bina's find, was a Namaqua speckled padloper (Homopus signata signata) one of the smallest tortoises in the world. We eventually found three on this location.

Namaqua speckled padloper, Homopus signata signata

Lizards were also in evidence. We found one gecko species, Barnard's rough thick-toed gecko (Pachydactylus barnardi).

Barnard's rough thick-toed gecko, Pachydactylus barnardi

And two species of skinks: the ubiquitous Cape skink (Trachylepis capensis) and the sexually dichromatic Western rock skink (T.sulcata sulcata).

Cape skink, Trachylepis capensis

 

Western rock skink, Trachylepis sulcata sulcata male
Western rock skink, Trachylepis sulcata sulcata female

Tony saw what he believed to be a Southwestern spitting cobra (Naja nigricincta woodi) disappearing under a pile of old road, literally, great chunks of torn-up black-top still with white-lines in place. After a back-breaking hour or so trying to move this material to find the cobra we gave up.

Undoubtedly our best find was a beautiful little Many-horned viper (Bitis cornuta) that contentedly coiled and tongue-flicked until the photographers in the party were sated.

Many-horned viper, Bitis cornuta

We also found a few interesting arachnids, probably the best being a large and impressive Namaqualand flat rock scorpion (Hadogenes phyllodes). I told Bina it would not sting her, I did not tell her it would not pinch her.

Bina meets a flat rock scorpion.

Namaqualand flat rock scorpion, Hadogenes phyllodes

We also found tiny Common bark scorpions (Uroplectes carinatus) and the Granulated fat-tail scorpion (Parabuthus granulatus), both species one certainly does not handle, and the little Namaqua burrowing scorpion (Opistophthalmus pallipes).

Namaqua burrowing scorpions, Opistophthalmus pallipes
Slough of Namaqua burrowing scorpions,
Opistophthalmus pallipes

 

Common bark scorpions, Uroplectes carinatus

 

Granulated fat-tail scorpion, Parabuthus granulatus