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Posts Tagged ‘wild life’

wonderboom2

This tree is really big! It’s the Wonderboom….it’s huge! We used to go to this nature reserve to have a picnic, sometimes with school children as well- as an outing. Read about this “wonder/miracle tree”…this is in Pretoria, on your way to the northern part of the city, depending which way  you go.

Wonderboom Nature Reserve

Situated in the northern part of the city, and straddling the Magaliesberg Mountains, is the Wonderboom Nature Reserve, a 200 hectare reserve famous for its magnificent specimen of the Wonderboom. The Wonder tree is a wild fig (Ficus salicifolia) that grows at the foot of the northern slope of the Magalies Mountain area.

The large Wonderboom fig tree at the Wonderboom Nature Reserve is more than 1 000 years old, and legend has it that it grew this big because the chief of an indigenous tribe lies buried beneath its roots. It is recorded that the tree was once big enough to shade 1 000 people at a time, or 22 ox-wagons with 20 oxen in front of each! Today, it is much smaller – probably because of the devastating fire in 1870 started by a hunting party or because of infestation by a parasite, which put it in quarantine for 20 years. Over the years the branches have grown longer, hanging lower and lower until they touched the ground, rooted and produced a circle of daughter trees. There are now three circles of daughter trees surrounding the original tree.

Wonderboom Nature Reserve has a large number of Dassies (Rock Hyrax) living in caves overlooking the Apies River. They provide a food source for a breeding pair of Black Eagles that nest on a rocky ledge nearby and that can often be seen circling above the reserve.

At the top of the Wonderboom Hill are the ruins of the Wonderboom Fort, one of four forts built by the former Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek at the end of the 19th century to defend the city against the British. It was never used. It was blown up, probably on the instructions of Prime Minister Jan Smuts himself, in the early days of World War 2, lest it be used by anti-government dissidents as a springboard for an attack on the state. At the foot of the hill near the Wonderboom is an important iron age site and nearby is one of the best stone age sites in the area.

 Source: Click the link and it will open in a new window.http://www.sa-venues.com/game-reserves/ga_wonderboom.htm

Image: cybertonature.co.za
wonderboom-steenbokkie

Steenbokkie
The Steenbokkie is one of our smaller antelope in SA and on
THIS LINK on my blog you can see the smallest antelope in South Africa…the dik-dik! If you go to this nature reserve, you will see the Steenbokkie in its natural environment.

Image: sa-venues.com

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As it has for the past four years, an adult bald eagle returns to its nest that has been so diligently built, to feed and tend three new chicks. Enjoy the video!

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Read HERE more about South Africa’s wildlife and also about the Rock Jumper!
The Klipspringer (‘rock jumper’ in Afrikaans) is a small African antelope that lives from the Cape of Good Hope all the way up East Africa and into Ethiopia.

Reaching approximately 58cm at the shoulder, klipspringers are relatively small animals compared to some of their larger antelope cousins. Males have fragile horns that are usually about 20-25cm long. With a thick and dense speckled patterened coat of an almost olive shade, klipspringers blend in well with the rock outcrops on which they can usually be found.

Klipspringers are herbivores, eating rock plants. They never need to drink, since the succulents they subsist on provide them with enough water to survive.

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A dik-dik, pronounced “dĭk’ dĭk”, and named for the sound it makes when alarmed, is a small antelope of the Genus Madoqua that lives in the bush of southern and eastern Africa and Southeast Asia. Dik-diks stand 30–40 cm at the shoulder and weigh 3–6 kg, making them the smallest of the ruminant suborder. They have an elongated snout and a soft coat that is grey or brownish above and white below. The hair on the crown forms an upright tuft that sometimes partially conceals the short, ringed horns of the male.

The Dik-dik is one of South Africa’s smallest antelope.   The Suni is the smallest. I haven’t seen both in their natural environment, I think they are too small!  On the links you can read more about these two small animals!

Read HERE more about the Dik-dik.

dik-dik.jpg

On the last picture you can see the Suni, the other two are the Dik-dik.

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I’m still busy sorting zillions of pictures, here are a few pictures from Pretoria…I liked this taxi..the yellow was striking and the number plate…just right!

This is where the road from Akasia split, turn off to Gezina and the Market and other routes….when you take this turn off and turn left again, you cross the Apies River, before entering Gezina ….I think from Van Heerden Street…is the one way …from West to East…”Apies” is the Afrikaans for “ape”….the river is named after the many apes that were found in this area when Pretoria was founded in 1855…this Apies River can be a “mighty” river! With heavy rains, places alongside the river get flooded, but that doesn’t happen very frequently though.
This is a very familiar “landmark” ….the cement factory as you leave Pretoria and you travel north to Pretoria North/Akasia….or on the Mabopane highway..traffic on the road can be quite heavy…if you look at the lanes on the right…you can see….rush hour is a nightmare on this road…! We were heading towards the city….and it was after rush hour….
Traffic in Pretoria, paper boy on his way to his post…just sold us a paper!

.Gezina if you turn left…Harties (Hartbeespoort) if you keep going…..more traffic, 10-ish in the morning…
I know this road like the palm of my hand! Travelled this road for a couple of years from school in the afternoon…..Zoo coming up on your left….Langenhoven High school as the sign board indicates…always a speed trap when you go down! I missed them most of the time, but got ONE once….it is a 60km/h zone and I drove 70….think my fine was something like R60! wasn’t much anyway….
Now, if you live in Pretoria, you know Boom Street very well!! Buses…zillions of them, because, this is Zoo-area ….and….a main route for the buses to travel to other areas easy accessible for them. There is parking for coaches at the Zoo…and as you can see by looking at the trees: It was Winter!! July/August…”boom” is the Afrikaans word for “tree”….this is also a VERY busy and “dangerous” street…crime! Though the police claimed that crime isn’t anymore that high in this area, they (the police) also claimed that they are very visible….because of all the tourists visiting the Zoo…we didn’t see them…perhaps they were around….
This is the same road…the one I travelled a couple of years from my school, just a few meters back…all these pictures were taken from inside the car…perhaps yo can see the wipers of the car!…..there wasn’t time to stop every now and then to take a shot….so, they are not as good as they should be! I was in a moving car!!…hahaha
ZOO! entrance….Boom Street…this is really a MUST if you go to Pretoria. I’ve been to London’s Zoo and it’s not a patch against Pretoria’s…I must truly say, I was a bit disappointed the day when visiting London’s Zoo….visit the Pretoria Zoo WEBSITE here.
Click on this link to see beautiful pics and a video about Pretoria….https://chessaleeinlondon.wordpress.com/2007/09/30/jacaranda-cityjakaranda-stad/

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If you know only about the BIG 5….you know a bit less than other people…South Africa also have the Baby 5 On this link you can see them all and read about them! The link will open in a new window.

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Lydenburg Heads..about 310 km from Pretoria

Lydenburg Heads..about 310 km from Pretoria

Lydenburg Heads… image: metmuseum.org

Lydenburg is the town where I grew up since my 5th birthday….on the farm “Goedgedacht” about 15 km outside the town, near Pilgrim’s Rest. Follow this link to read about the Lydenburg Heads….

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/lyde/hd_lyde.htm

This group of seven fired earthenware heads is named after the site where they were discovered in the eastern Transvaal of South Africa. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal samples from the excavation site has established that the heads were buried there around 500 A.D., making them the oldest known African Iron Age artworks from below the equator.

The reconstructed heads are not identical, but do share a number of characteristics. Modeled strips of clay form the thinly opened oval eyes, slightly projecting mouths, noses, and ears, and raised bands decorating the faces, while the backs of the heads are adorned with incised linear patterns. The columnar necks are defined by large furrowed rings. Necks ringed with fat have been and continue to be viewed as a sign of prosperity by many African peoples. However, it is currently impossible to know whether the rings on the Lydenburg heads were intended to be read in this way due to the scant information available on the ancient culture that produced them.


Two of the largest heads could have been worn like helmet masks. They are differentiated from the smaller heads by the animal figures poised on their peaks and the small clay spheres that articulate what appears to be raised hairlines. The animals, once covered by a heavy slip, are now difficult to identify but have disk-shaped faces reminiscent of a lion’s mane.

The five smaller heads are similar to one another, with the exception of one that has an animal visage with a projecting snout. Too small to have been worn as helmets, these heads all have small holes on either side of their lowest neck rings that may have been used to attach them to something else.

For a variety of reasons it has been speculated that the heads were used in initiation rites, perhaps even worn. Specularite, a variety of hematite whose crystals glisten when rotated, was placed strategically on the masks in incisions and raised areas such as the eyebrows. This has been cited as a possible indication that the heads were used in public ceremonies, as they would have shimmered impressively when moved in the light. The holes in the five smaller heads and the helmet size of the two larger ones could also indicate that these earthenware heads were masks worn for various ceremonies. None of this can be known for certain, however, and the use and meaning of the heads remain a matter of conjecture. Nevertheless, it is clear from the deliberate manner in which the heads were buried that whatever significance they may have held, they were respected enough to be interred with care.
Resource: metmuseum.org

This tunnel is in the Eastern part of the country….on the road from Lydenburg to Tzaneen… awesome views in this area! Read more about Advocate J G Strijdom, one of the Prime Ministers of South Africa:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johannes_Gerhardus_Strijdom

If you follow this link….http://www.griquas.com/2006/6.htm you will find fantastic pictures of places in South Africa, historical sites…very interesting!

Click for larger view


The first school in Lydenburg— built in the 1850’s!

The Dutch Reformed Church, built in 1890

 

The town of Lydenburg (55 km from Sabie) have a rich history associated with the Voortrekkers and the Anglo-Boer War. The name “Lydenburg” means Place of Suffering and the town was so named after the many deaths of Voortrekkers at Ohrighstad due to malaria. In 1856 De Republiek Lijdenburg in Zuid Afrika was formed with Lydenburg as the capital. A year later this independent republic merged with the republic of Utrecht (in KwaZulu-Natal) and in 1860 became part of the ZuidAfrikaansche Republiek once again.
 

The first church in Lydenburg was completed in 1853. It is the oldest church outside of the Cape Province that survived the wars of the country. Near the church is the original Voortrekker school. It was built in 1851 and was also used as a church building before the church was completed. The Dutch Reformed church was built in 1890 and features a superb pulpit (made from kiaat wood) which is an exact replica of the Stellenbosch Church pulpit.


Lydenburg and areas around is the home of the black leopard!

Love mountain biking/hikes/birdwatching …..and other outdoor sports….read here…

http://www.sabie.co.za/about/mountainbiking/index.html

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