Cape Reptile Institute
Namaqualand Expedition
5th World Congress of Herpetology

June 5th to July 2nd 2005

Map of coastal Western and Northern Cape Provinces, South Africa,
showing locations during 2005 visit (excluding Transvaal).
(click on map to enlarge)


Participants in Cape Reptile Institute
2005 Expedition to Namaqualand.
L-R (back row): Dr Mark O’Shea, Bina Mistry, Ryno Bezuidenhout, Johannes Els, Dr Cathy Pook, Dr Wolfgang Wüster; (front row): Maik Dobiey,
Dr Tony Phelps (team leader).


The main reason we were all in South Africa was for the 5th World Congress of Herpetology, which was being held in Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province. Herpetologists from all over the world were converging on the region and many were combining the visit with field trips and excurions to other parts of South Africa and other southern African countries.

I flew out to join my old friend Tony Phelps and his field colleague Johannes Els, for a trip to the De Hoop Nature Reserve. Tonyspent over 30years in southern England studying reptiles, especially the Northern adder (Vipera berus) but he had recently returned to southern Africa and had set up the Cape Reptile Institute. One of the aims of CRI was to study and work towards the conservation of the smaller members of the viper genus Bitis, several of which are endemic to Western and Northern Cape Provinces. Our trip to De Hoop was to find the Southern adder (Bitis armata), the southern-most viper in Africa.

Bina was due to arrive a week later and then linking up with Wolfgang and Cathy, their friend Maik, and Tony's friend Ryno, we were all heading north to Springbok to search for the Namaqua dwarf adder (B.schneideri), before returning to Stellenbosch for 5WCH.

Neither trip was a collecting trip, we were photographing herps and gathering data for Tony's research into southern African adders.

After that we were all going our separate ways, although Wolfgang and Cathy again when Bina and I went across to Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province, to stay with another old friend Donald Strydom. We would then return to Cape Town to fly home to the UK.


The 2005 trip to South Africa had several phases:

1. Western Cape Province
a) De Hoop Nature Reserve*
b) Stellenbosch & Jan Marais Nature Reserve (incl. 5WCH 19-24 June)
c) Cape Peninsula National Park

2. Northern Cape Province
a) Springbok
b) Goegap Nature Reserve
c) Port Nolloth

3. Limpopo Province**
a) Khamai Reptile Centre, Hoedspruit

The order in which these locations were visited was: De Hoop NR*; Springbok; Goegap NR; Port Nolloth; Stellenbosch & Jan Marais NR; Khamai RC**; Cape Peninsula NP.

* Tony, Mark and Johannes only,
* * Mark and Bina only.

Expedition Results - a full herp life-list of the herpetofauna found on the 2005 expedition.