Khamai Reptile Center, Hoedspruit (formerly Swadini Snake Park) Limpopo Province
Map of Hoedspruit and Khamai Reptile Center, Limpopo Province. (click on map to enlarge)
Khamai Reptile Center (formerly Swadini Snake Park), near Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province, is run by Donald Strydom, an old friend and contributor on two films (pre-OBA film Black Mamba and OBA Series 4 film Spitting Cobra). Bina and I planned to visit the newly re-branded Khamai Reptile Center after the 5th World Congress of Herpetology in Stellenbosch.
However, I was taken very ill in the middle of the night before we were due to fly to Hoedspruit and only just managed to make the flight with Bina's assistance. At Johanneburg I ended up in the airport clinic and almost in hospital.
When we eventually arrived at Khamai, Donald generously gave us his own room where I remained for almost four days, beign sick enough on the second day to require a doctor. It seems I had a virulent form of Cape flu, possibly the same strain which had laid several colleagues low at 5WCH.
On the first day that I was up and about again, a Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) entered the compound. We watched it come down a tree and after a long look in our direction, enter a hole. I decided trying to catch a snake of that calibre in my present condition was suicidal and let it continue on its way.
Whilst at Khamai we did get to see a few wild amphibians and reptiles around the area. There were three toads: Garman's toad (Ameitophrynus garmani), Guttural toad (A.gutturalis) and Red toad (Schismaderma carens), and the Angolan river frog (Ameitia angolensis). On the snake front we only found a Cape housesnake (Lamprophis capensis).
Angolan river frog, Ameitia angolensis
Eastern olive toad, Ameitophrynus garmani
Guttural toad, Ameitophrynus gutturalis
Red toad, Schismaderma carens
Cape housesnake, Lamprophis capensis
When Wolfgang and Cathy arrived from Kruger National Park, we photographed some of the captive snakes in the collection:
Aurora housesnake (Lamprophis aurora)
Boomslang (Dispholidus typus typus)
South African coralsnake (Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus)
Eastern green mamba (Dendroaspis angusticeps)
Black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis)
Zambezi gartersnake (Elapsoidea boulengeri)
Aurora housesnake, Lamprophis aurora
Boomslang, Dispholidus typus typus
South African coralsnake, Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus
Zambezi gartersnake, Elapsoidea boulengeri
Eastern green mamba, Dendroaspis angusticeps
Black mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis
And when I was properly on my feet again, Donald, his assistant Warren Klein, an herpetologist who participated in the OBA film Spitting Cobra in 2003, and I, gave venomous snake demonstrations to tourists and Donald showed Bina how to work with the boomslangs and a Puff adder (Bitis arietans).
Mark and Donald withBlack mamba, Dendroaspis polylepis