Lily Lion Heart

Sunday, 22 December 2013


The Knersvlakte is an arid basin at the southern extremity of Namaqualand in South Africa. I had the pleasure of visiting this succulent rich region this past Aug-Sept., which was winter in the Southern Hemisphere. It is approximately 50km across, and is surrounded by glittering quartz pebbles. The annual rainfall in this dry bowl is less than 150 mm. The vegetation of this extraordinary region is largely a special type of dwarf succulent shrubland called vygieveld in Afrikaans. Vygies are otherwise known as Ice plants/Mesembs to put it in simple terms. These unique quartz patches support an array of cushion forming leaf-succulents and bulbs, with high endemism. All species of Argyroderma, Dactylopsis, and Oophytum are only found here. These Mesembs, or bubbles as my friend affectionately refers to them as are beautifully adapted to the shallow soils, and high light intensities. Typical of Mesembs many of them remain partially buried to avoid the heat, and have developed transparent windows that allow light for photosynthesis to penetrate into the leaves. This place is truly unique!
Argyroderma delaetii

Argyroderma testiculare
Dactylopsis digitata ssp. littlewoodii

Dactylopsis digitata

Knersvlakte natural quartz patches

Oophytum nanum


Monday, 9 December 2013

Avifauna of South Africa

African Spoonbill

Blue Cranes
Grey crowned Cranes

Bokmakierie Shrike
Pied Avocets
Female Spotted Eagle Owl

Male Spotted Eagle Owl

Sentinel Rock -Thrush
Cape Gannets

Lesser Flamingoes 

Sacred Ibis

Hadeda Ibis

Blacksmith Lapwing

Swift Terns

African Penguins

Immature African Penguin

Cape Weaver

Cattle Egret

Spur-winged Goose

Cape Bulbul

Cape Spurfowl

Cape Weaver
Southern Masked-Weaver

Pin-tailed Whydah

African Fish Eagle

Greater Double- Collared Sunbird

White Stork

Secretary Bird

Malachite Sunbird

Amur Falcons

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Fauna of South Africa



Eland with Bontebok in the foreground



Rock Hyrax-Dassie

Cape Fur Seals


Large Snail