Estimated reading through time: 2 minutes, 11 seconds.

Published by Grace Warner

Thilo Beck and Grace Warner, postgraduate learners from the University of the Witwatersrand, have exchanged their fieldwork “home” in the Kalahari for the greener pastures of the Backyard Route. Thilo, a PhD student, spent the past three several years amassing data on the ecology of Cape Cobras in the arid, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, to forecast how local weather modify may well affect their exercise styles in the foreseeable future. Grace, an MSc candidate, used a yr in the very same reserve but was much more focused on the holiest of sites, examining microhabitats this kind of as burrows, nests and tree hollows, to establish their potential for sheltering several species from excessive climate. Both equally college students are aspect of the Kalahari Endangered Ecosystem Challenge, a conservation exploration collaboration supported by Suzuki Car South Africa, and are now analysing their knowledge and writing up their analysis.

HarkervilleForest_G.M.WarnerA river operating by way of a part of indigenous forest (Harkerville Forest). (Picture: G.Warner)

Thilo, as an avid herpetologist has zeroed in on the reptile life, of which there is plenty. Individuals with an eye for depth can come across the striking, nevertheless elusive Knysna Dwarf Chameleons on most forest walks, hiding in basic sight on minimal-hanging branches or posing like scaled jewels in sunny fynbos places. If you’re far more of a snake enthusiast, it requires a little bit more look for work, but the Yard Route is house to a lot of picturesque species, this kind of as dazzling environmentally friendly Western Natal Green snakes, black and yellow Boomslang (males) and vividly patterned Puff Adders. 

KnysnaDwarfChameleon_G.M.WarnerA Knysna Dwarf Chameleon identified in a botanical backyard in Knysna (Photo: G. Warner).

WesternNatalGreen_G.M.WarnerA Western Natal Inexperienced Snake hiding among the foliage of a Plettenberg Bay backyard (Photograph: G. Warner)

Grace, as a admirer of wide-open landscapes and seaside adventures, has been drawn to the shoreline for her time off, with the Robberg Mother nature Reserve hike being a company favorite. Not only are the sights of the ocean and fynbos completely breath-having, but you can typically spot Excellent White Sharks and many dolphin species in the crystal-distinct drinking water from the vantage position of the Robberg cliffs. For these who want to working experience the sea a little a lot more personally, boat rides and snorkelling visits are on offer for useful and adrenaline-filled encounters with seals, whales, dolphins and sharks, all over Robberg and the bordering bays.

Great White Shark_T.F.BeckA Great White Shark visible from the cliffs of the Robberg Peninsula (Picture: T. Beck).

Southern Right Whale_T.F.BeckA migrating Southern Ideal Whale in Plettenberg Bay (Photograph: T. Beck).

Even the unassuming rockpools of Knysna can offer hours of amusement. As Thilo and Grace have learnt, reduced tide and a keen eye for critters can generate great benefits. A plethora of strange existence, like sea hares, chitons, maritime flatworms, sea cucumbers and starfish await. There is very little better than some sand between your toes and an afternoon with an octopus to encourage some great producing move.

KnysnaRockpools_G.M.WarnerThe at any time-transforming landscape of the Knysna rockpools (Picture: G.Warner).

Despite the fact that the golden sands of the Kalahari are much from overlooked, the greenery of the Garden Route has certainly grown on the learners. If you are looking for a street trip with fresh air, forests and alfresco enjoyable to stave off the winter blues, there is almost nothing improved.

Vervet Monkey_T.F.BeckA vervet monkey foraging in Diepwalle forest, Knysna (Picture: T. Beck).

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