Cape Reptile Institute


Goegap Nature Reserve
Northern Cape Province

Map of Goegap Nature Reserve, Northern Cape Province.
(click on map to enlarge)


Goegap Nature Reserve,
near Springbok, Northern Cape Province.
The entry road belies the fact that although this is a small reserve it exhibits great diversity.
A clump of Quiver trees, Aloa dichotoma,
near the entrance.


Goegap Nature Reserve is a small (16,000 hectare) reserve 15kms east of Springbok. Goegap means 'water hole'.

The reserve is popular for its antelope and zebras, its birds, and its unique flora ranging from Quiver trees (aka Kokerboom, Aloa dichotoma) the branches of which were formerly used by the indigenous San for arrow quivers, to a wide variety of desert-floor succulents.

The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden is located within Goegap, as also apparently are 600 species of plants.







Although they are not as obvious as a quiver tree, an oryx or an ostrich, Goegap is also home to an interesting array or reptiles and amphibians.








The rocky habitat of Goegap Nature Reserve offering countless niches for herps.

The habitat consists of flat open valleys between small rocky hills.

A copse of Quiver trees, Aloa dichotoma.
Springbok, Antidorcas marsupialis Southern oryx or Gemsbok, Oryx gazella

We concentrated our searches on the rock hills. This being a nature reserve, we were very conscious of the maxim: Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. In fact we tried not even to leave those and any rocks turned to look for secretive species were carefully replaced exactly as we found them. We used heliographs to peer into crevices for rock-dwelling lizards.

Mark using a heliograph in the rocks at Goegap.
Trying to pursued a plated lizard, Gerrhosaurus sp., to come out and pose,
Mark on pole, Wolfgang on heliograph.
Cathy, Wolfgang, Mark and Bina with a scorpion. Mark photographing fat-tail scorpion.

The old fella, Tony ony herping in the rocks.

Even Bina started looking for lizards.

As would be expected in a rocky environment, geckos were much in evidence, once one looked for them. We found large, robust Bibron's thick-toed geckos (Chondrodactylus bibroni) and small, gracile Weber's thick-toed geckos (Pachydactylus weberi) and two species of the souhern African endemic leaf-toed gecko genus Goggia: the Striped dwarf leaf-toed gecko (Goggia lineata) and Namaqualand dwarf leaf-toed gecko (G.rupicola).

Bibron's thick-toed gecko, Chondrodactylus bibroni


Weber's thick-toed gecko, Pachydactylus weberi


Striped dwarf leaf-toed gecko, Goggia lineata


Namaqualand dwarf leaf-toed gecko, Goggia rupicola

The Karoo girdled lizard (Cordylus polyzonus) would not permt close approach and the Plated lizards (Gerrhosaurus sp.) remained hidden and refused to even be identified to species.

Karoo girdled lizard, Cordylus polyzonus

I have a particular fascination for fossorial herps and two species made my visit to Goegap well worth while.

Boulenger's blind legless skink (Typhlosaurus vermis) is an elongate pink burrower I was truely excited to photograph.

Boulenger's blind legless skink, Typhlosaurus vermis

Delalande's beaked blindsnake (Rhinotyphlops lalandei) was an additional bonus, both being species rarely encountered unless one looks hard for burrowing species.

Delalande's beaked blindsnake, Rhinotyphlops lalandei

The dangerous Granulated fat-tail scorpion (Parabuthus granulatus) and the Namaqualand giant centipede (Cormocephalus cf. multispinosus) were also found in the reserve.

Granulated fat-tail scorpion, Parabuthus granulatus


Namaqualand giant centipede, Cormocephalus cf. multispinosus