Tag Archive: Eastern Cape

Ufumene Game Lodge

A favorite destination for our family is the Ufumene Game Lodge. Ufumene is located in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) on the Cradock side of the Olifantshoek pass. The lodge is very family orientated, whether the kids go horse riding and the adults go for a long tranquil walk, its a place to relax and get yourself recharged.
The following photos are a collection of some of my favorites from the area surrounding the lodge:

Mother and Child. Newly born giraffe. Such serene animals.

Giraffe mommy and baby


This is a macro shot of a Lavender flower. I shot this with a 500mm Sigma lens with a 25mm extension tube attached so I could get in really close.

Lavender macro


On receiving my new Canon 7D mark II, the first thing that went through my mind was; how much noise am I going to get with a starscape. This was a 30 second exposure with an ISO of 4000.  I was truly impressed by the minimal noise that I got in this shot.

Starscape at Ufumene


This is an Hadeda Ibis, a pretty common bird in the Eastern Cape.

Hadeda ibis


One of the landscape picture I took of the surrounding area around Ufumene Lodge

Mountains At Ufunmene


One of the many birds of prey in the area.



A beautiful sunset at Ufumene. Everyday has a unique sunset.

Sunset at Ufumene


One of the great animals to see when visiting Ufumene, is the Sable Antelope. They are magnificent animals.

Sable Antelope


The Cape Sparrow is one of the many birds you will encounter at the lodge. Ufumene is a birders’ paradise.

Cape sparrow


Another landscape over the small dam outside the lodge. It can really produce some stunning effects

Sunrise at Ufumene


Road to tranquility.  Another landscape shot with touch of HDR

Mountains At Ufunmene


Another shot off the dam. Love the clouds.

Dam at Ufumene

Red Tide – Blue Bioluminescence

A few of us photogs heard that the red tide was causing a beautiful display of blue luminescence in the water along the Port Elizabeth and Eastern Cape coast-line.  The opportunity was immediately snapped up to try out some long exposure shots of the water and surrounding area. Having not really done any long exposures before, I needed a little help from some fellow photogs and here are two of my favorites coming from this shoot.
The first picture is deliberately under-exposed in order to bring out the colours better.

Maitlands Red Tide Bioluminescence

This second photo was taken with a colder white balance to bring out the blues of the luminescence.

Maitlands Red Tide Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. In this case, the plankton.

A red tide is the common name for an algal bloom involving large concentrations of red or brown-coloured microorganisms, caused by a few species of dinoflagellates . Red tides are events in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in coloration of the surface water.

These algae, known as phytoplankton, are single-celled protists, plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface. Certain species of phytoplanktondinoflagellates, contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from green to brown to red. In this case, mainly blue

When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink, normally being red or green. Not all algal blooms are dense enough to cause water discoloration, and not all discolored waters associated with algal blooms are red. Additionally, red tides are not typically associated with tidal movement of water, hence the term algal bloom.

Some red tides are associated with the production of natural toxins, depletion of dissolved oxygen or other harmful effects, and are generally described as harmful algal blooms. During Red Tides, it is often advisable NOT to eat various shellfish (filter feeders such as mussels and oysters) as these may contain toxins that might harm us.  Some of the symptoms of red tide poisoning are headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and pain. Other more severe problems may develop depending on the toxins, like difficulty swallowing, sense of throat constriction, speech incoherence or complete loss of speech and even paralysis.
Some of this information supplied by Wikipedia

Flatties – Family Selenopidae

Here are a few shots of the Wall Crab Spider, often known as the Flattie spider. Flatties comes from the Family Selenopidae. The wall crab spiders  are members of a group of families collectively called crab spiders because of their laterigrade (sideways-moving) legs. This family consists of about 175 species in four genera, of which Selenops is the best known. The family is primarily tropical with the genus Anyphops confined to Sub-Saharan Africa and the genus Hovops confined to Madagascar. The spiders are very flat and are commonly found on walls or under rocks. They are very quick and very difficult to capture and their coloring makes them often quite difficult to see. All of this family have eight eyes.

This first Flattie was photographed at Ufumene Game Farm, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

flattie spider on rock

The next two photos are the same spider, just a very close macro of its face. It is sitting on top of a drum skin.

flattie on a drum skin


flattie macroThanks to Wikipedia for some of the information used here.


Garden Bokmakieries

These are two Bokmakierie pictures shot in my garden in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Its latin name is Telophorus zeylonus and it belongs to the Malaconotidae bird family group which includes birds such as Bush-shrikesPuffbacksTchagrasBoubousHelment-shrikesBatises and Wattle-eyes.
This shot was taken with a Canon 7D with a Sigma 150-500mm Lens
Garden Bokmakierie

… and this one was taken with a Canon 7D with a 100-400mm L IS lens

Garden Bokmakierie

Limestone Sugarbush – Protea obtusifolia

The Protea obtusifolia or the Limestone Sugarbush belongs to the Proteaceae family. Other names for this include the Bredasdorp protea, limestone protea and limestone sugarbush. This is the white form of this Protea and they vary from white to vivid shades of red. The leaves on the rest of the plant are dark green, elongated and leathery. They grow upwards of two to four meters in height and usually takes the form of a large, roundish shrub.

Protea obtusifolia

Protea obtusifolia is a vigorous, robust species forming a rounded shrub and is easily raised from seeds. It  is a relatively long-lived, large bushy evergreen shrub and does well as a screening or informal hedge plant. It produces beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers during the winter months, still looking good after 20 years. Unlike most proteas it thrives in clay and alkaline soils. It is equally at home in acidic ‘fynbos’ soils. It is also tolerant of coastal conditions and withstands salt-laden winds. It is drought tolerant and requires little supplementary watering when established. It requires protection from frost.

Photo taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

References: http://www.plantzafrica.com



A Collection of Stinky Stink Bugs

Over the past few years I have collected various macro photos of different bugs. A number of those bugs smell pretty terrible when disturbed or threatend. Here are a few of those stinky insects:

Green Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Green Stink Bug

Brown Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Brown Stink Bug

Another Brownish Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Light Brown Stink Bug

Twig Wilter Bug (Family: Coreidae)

Twig Wilter Bug

An Eastern Cape Harvestman

We recently went on an outing with The Spider Club of Southern Africa to a place outside Port Alfred called Riet River. Part of the outing was to go to a place nearby called Pig Island. I am not too sure where the name Pig Island came from although it was an interesting and very informative outing to say the least. Whilst on a walk of the area, we came across this little critter, the harvestman. What an awesome looking arachnid.

Harvestman are sometimes called Daddy Longlegs. It is an arachnid related to the spider and has the usual eight legs. They are from the class arachnida and order Opiliones (formerly known as Phalangida). Unlike a spider, a harvestman has long, stiltlike legs and a segmented abdomen, but has no silk glands. They can also run pretty fast. They do not have venom glands or fangs. Harvestmen have tiny mouthparts that allow them to grind up their food which consists of insects and plants. Harvestmen do not bite which means they are totally harmless to humans. Some harvestmen can, however, give off a bad odor from their stink glands if they are disturbed.

Garden Inspector or Commodore – Precis archesia archesia

The Garden Inspector or the Garden Commodore is from the genus Precis. This genus consists of robust, medium-sized and brightly coloured nymphalines. These are similar to Junonia (the Pansies), but they don’t have eye spots and great difference in colour and markings of the wet season form and dry season form. Their flight is fast and agile; often found sitting on the ground opening and closing their wings. They are fond of flowers.

Eggs are laid on Lamiaceae ( The mints, taxonomically known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae, are a family of flowering plants ), are bulb shaped, green to yellow, with 10-16 prominent glassy longitudinal ribs and sometimes 25-40 cross ridges.

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia


The wingspan of the male ranges from 45-50mm and the females range is from 50-60mm. They look pretty similar, but the female’s wings are rounder. The dry season form colours of Precis archesia archesia are brown , maroon and blue and the wet season form colours are brown with cream to buff postdiscal bands.
Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia


The distribution: Savanna, grassland and forests from Western Cape (knysna area) to the Eastern Cape and up to Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and NW Provinces.

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia


Habitat: Forest Edges, parks and gardens, hill tops, hillsides, rocky slopes and gullies.
Flight period: All year round
Food Plant: Plectranthus spp. ( a genus of warm-climate plants occurring largely in the southern hemisphere, in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, India and the Indonesian archipelago down to Australia and some Pacific Islands )

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia


These photos were taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa



A Collection of Ants

Over the years, I have taken many macro shots, some being ants. Here are some of the shots  have taken mostly with a Canon 7D with a Raynox DCR250 filter attached to give a little amplification.

3mm Ant with its lunch

Ant with lunch



Less is more ( an entry for a local competition )
less is more


3mm Ants having a morning chat.

Ants having a morning chat


A really upset ant taken at Koffylaagte Game Lodge in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This ant is commonly known as the Bal-byter ant (Camponotus fulvopilosus)

Bal-byter ant