All text copyright  Eitan Grunwald.  All photographs copyright  Eitan or Ron Grunwald  except photographs by others are copyright per photo credits.  All rights reserved.  Terms
AFRICA
October 2014
 1 of  3
AFRICA
October 2014
 1 of 3
This was a family vacation with my wife, a safari in South Africa to see charismatic megafauna before they’re all gone.  Because the trip was mostly about mammals, we went at the end of the winter dry season, when animals are more concentrated near water and there’s less vegetation to obscure wildlife viewing. Consequently, not too many reptiles, but those we did see are posted in this report.  Masochists who are interested in seeing the rest of our 765 photos and videos mostly mammals, birds, and landscapes are welcome to suffer through an album of the entire trip. Our first eight days were spent in Kruger National Park, where virtually all wildlife viewing is done from a vehicle between dawn and dusk.  Except for certain designated areas, or on bush walks led by armed rangers, you’re not allowed to get out on foot, because there are things that will eat you.  And unless you’re on a guided KNP night drive, all visitors must be inside the fenced-in rest camps before dark. So, not many opportunities to see reptiles up- close in the national park, but every one we saw was a lifer, and a quite a few were quite cool. From the car we saw mostly crocodiles, tortoises/turtles, and some lizards.          While we were facing one direction, watching a pair of lions being chased by a charging elephant, this monitor crawled across the road behind us.  Didn’t notice until we turned around, just in time to see it disappear. Shining trees by the road on a guided night drive, we did manage to spot this one small chameleon.   Walking around the fenced-in compounds of our camps and lodges did give us a better chance to see herps at closer range.  This monitor was sleeping off a big meal in the tree next to our rondovel (a circular hut with a conical thatched roof).  We were told it had been there for a week already without hardly moving its position.     The view from our porch included crocodiles.    These common lizards were everywhere we stayed.     Amphibians would take advantage of the artificial pools at the lodges. Our rooms frequently housed House Geckos.  Snakes, on the other hand, were rarely seen.  One of the few we did see was found as we were walking the grounds of a camp.  I was looking up, shining the trees, when my wife, Karyn, spotted this snake practically under my foot, just as I was about to step on it.  My first thought was, “Tantilla, and interestingly enough, it’s also a mildly-venomous centipede specialist, just like its doppelgängers in the States. How cool is it to see Nile Monitors instead of chipmunks running around on the lawn?         
Leopard Tortoise Stigmochelys pardalis
Nile Crocodile Crocodylus niloticus
Serrated Hinged Terrapin Pelusios sinuatus
Nile Monitor Varanus niloticus
Flap-necked Chameleon Chamaeleo dilepis
Rock Monitor Varanus albigularis
African Striped Skink Trachylepis striata
Olive Toad Amietophrynus garmani
Grey Foam-nest Tree Frog Chiromantis xerampelina
Tropical House Gecko Hemidactylus mabouia
Black-headed Centipede-eater Aparallactus capensis
Speke's Hinge-back Tortoise  Kinixys spekii