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From the Lions that stalk thegrasslands of Kruger National Park tothe rare Taita Falcon that still patrolsthe spectacular mountains and canyonsalong the Blyde River, South Africa caters toall natural history interests. However,although it is the iconic African mammalsand abundant birdlife that attract themajority of wildlife enthusiasts to thesouthern tip of Africa, the 'Rainbow Nation'has a wealth of additional wildlife treasuresto enjoy, not least its reptiles andamphibians. These two groups of ancientcreatures are surrounded by an aura ofmystery and, admittedly, a certain elementof danger. Included amongst SouthernAfrica's 517 species are the famed BlackMamba, Africa's largest venomous snake,the Nile Crocodile, Africa's largest reptilianpredator, and the somewhat more placidFlap-necked Chameleon with itsindependently movable eyes and colour-changing abilities.The diversity and abundance of SouthAfrica's reptiles varies from region to region,with the highest number of speciesoccurring in the country's north-easternprovinces. Here the interior plateau and theDrakensberg Escarpment merge into thelow-lying savannah, creating a wide varietyof habitats within a relatively small area. Ourtour focuses on this region, in particular theLimpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces and,while the reptiles and amphibians will beour primary focus, there will be much moreto see besides, including a wonderfulvariety of colourful birds and the full rangeof African savannah mammals. Our holiday begins with a flight toJohannesburg from where we will drive east to Dullstroom, a small town in thehighlands. Here we'll visit the Veloren ValeiNature Reserve in search of reptiles suchas Drakensberg Crag Lizard, Southern RockAgama, Distant's Ground Agama, Dusky-bellied Water Snake and StripedSkaapstekers, plus birds including Gurney'sSugarbird and the beautiful Blue Crane.From Dullstroom we pass over theescarpment edge and drop down to ournext base near the town of Hoedspruit. Ourroute will take us past the spectacular BlydeRiver Canyon where colourful Flat Lizardsand Southern Rock Agamas are easy toobserve basking in the warm morning sun.For the next two nights we will be based ata lodge next to the Blyde River, where theclimate is more tropical and the diversity ofreptile and amphibian species richer. Wewill be looking for such well-known speciesas Black Mamba, Southern African RockPython (Africa's largest snake), Boomslang,(Africa's most venomous snake), Nile andWhite-throated Monitors, Leopard Tortoise,Speke's Hinged Tortoise, Tree Agama andFlap-necked Chameleon among many otherspecies. Our time here will also include afascinating introduction to Southern Africanreptiles by Donald Strydom, one of thecountry's foremost reptile experts andconservationists. Donald runs the 'KhamaiReptile Park' at Swadini, a park dedicatedto the conservation of reptiles andamphibians, and which operates a captivebreeding/release programme for some ofthe rarer and more threatened species. Our time at Khamai will allow us closeencounters with a variety of the moresecretive and uncommon herpetologicalspecies that we may struggle to see in the wild.Next we enter Kruger National Park, SouthAfrica's flagship wildlife reserve. Kruger ishome to a rich diversity of reptiles andamphibians as well as an abundance ofbirds and mammals. Here we will not onlybe looking out for the 'Big Five' mammals,but also searching for the 'Big Five' of thereptile world, namely Nile Crocodile, BlackMamba, Water Monitor, Leopard Tortoiseand Southern African Rock Python. WesternStripe-bellied Sand Snake, Twig Snake andNatal Hinged Tortoise are also possible.Much of our time in the park will be vehicle-based, but there will be plenty ofopportunities to explore on foot around therest camps, in search of a variety of speciesincluding Tree Agama, Cape Dwarf Gecko,Moreau's Tropical House Gecko,Wahlberg's Velvet Gecko, Rainbow andStriped Skinks, Giant Plated Lizard, GiantLegless Skink and Variegated Bush Snake.Our tour ends with a night at Chrissiesmeer,a region of natural wetlands and pans in the grasslands of central Mpumalanga.Although a superb area for wetland birds,our primary reason for visiting will be toenjoy the wonderful variety of amphibiansthat live here. An evening 'frogging' sessionshould yield a variety of interesting speciesincluding Mozambique Rain Frog, EasternOlive Toad, Raucous Toad, BubblingKassina and the beautiful Painted ReedFrog. We hope that the chorus of frogs, andline after line of waterbirds flying to roost,will be a fitting finale to our herpetologicalexploration of South Africa before we musthead back to Johannesburg Airport to catchour return flight home. South Africa - Reptiles,Amphibians & other WildlifeA 10-day holiday to South Africa in search of reptiles, amphibians and other wildlife.Wednesday 16th January - Friday 25th January Cost: £2,795Book direct on 01962 733051or see page 284 for Booking InformationBOTSWANA ZIMBABWE DURBAN DULLSTROOMCHRISSIESMEERBLYDE RIVERHOEDSPRUITCANYONSWAZILAND KRUGERNATIONALPARKJOHANNESBURGINDIAN OCEAN SOUTH AFRICALESOTHO Outline itineraryDay 1Depart London.Day 2Dullstroom.Day 3/4Hoedspruit.Day 5/7Kruger National Park.Day 8Chrissiesmeer.Day 9 Depart Johannesburg.Day 10Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable lodges, guesthousesand national park chalets, all withprivate facilities.FoodBreakfasts and dinners areincluded. Lunches are excluded;allow £80.GradingGrade A. Easy wildlife walks andvehicular safaris.FocusReptiles, amphibians and otherwildlife. LeaderJason Stewart.Single room supplement£250.Web quick search: ZAF12169Blyde River CanyonTree AgamaBoomslang

South Africa is richly blessed withsome of the continent's mostspectacular scenery and diversewildlife. From the albatrosses that glidearound the storm-pounded CapePeninsula, to the colourful floral displays ofNamaqualand and the big game of KrugerNational Park, the 'Rainbow Nation' ishome to a wonderful array of exciting faunaand flora. With our tours to see thecountry's birds, plants and mammalsproving so very popular, we hope that thisholiday, focusing on South Africa'sbutterflies, will prove similarly successful.South Africa is, after all, home to over 800species of butterfly, and amongst thisplethora of species can be found theEmperor Swallowtail, the largest butterfly insouthern Africa, and the diminutive DwarfBlue, with a wingspan of only 12millimetres, one of the smallest species inthe world! Although butterflies will be ourfocus on this tour, the region's birds,mammals, dragonflies and other wildlifewill not be neglected, making this an idealholiday for the true all-round naturalist. Much of our time on this holiday will bespent exploring the tropical coastal forestsand bushveld savannah of the Zululandregion of KwaZulu-Natal, visiting at a timeof the year when the heat of summer hassubsided and the days are pleasantlywarm. We must start, however, with a flightfrom London to Johannesburg, where wewill meet our South African tour leader anddrive up into the montane grasslands ofWakkerstroom for the first night of our tour. Here we will receive an introduction tosome of the common butterfly speciessuch as African Monarch, Meadow White,African Clouded Yellow, Citrus Swallowtail,Common Diadem and Painted Lady. Birdspecies to look out for include Grey-crowned Crane, Southern Bald Ibis, BlueKorhaan, South African Shelduck andmany more, and this is also the only placein which we are likely to see the GreyRhebok antelope on this tour. We next move to the Mkuze Game Reservein the foothills of the Lebombo Mountainsfor a 2-night stay. This lovely reservecontains a wide range of habitats,including thornveld savannah, broad-leaved woodland and riverine forest, and ishome to a wealth of butterflies thatincludes the tiny Dwarf Blue, Blue andYellow Pansy, Gaudy Commodore andSmoky Orange-tip. We will also look out fora butterfly known as the 'African Leopard'and, if fortunate, may also encounter thebig cat itself! Although always elusive,Leopards are not uncommon in Mkuze andshare the reserve with both Black andWhite Rhinoceros, Giraffe and both thebeautiful Nyala and the diminutive Suniantelopes. Birdlife is prolific here andincludes such species as Narina Trogon,Pink-throated Twinspot, Eastern Bronze-naped Pigeon and African Crowned Eagle.Adding yet more wildlife interest, the parkis also home to a wide variety ofdragonflies and damselflies including theBlack Splash, Glistening Demoiselle andperhaps the enormous Black Emperor andendemic St. Lucia Basker.Moving on, we reach the Indian Oceancoast and spend two nights at St. Lucia inorder to explore the world famous St. LuciaEstuary, Lake St. Lucia and the coastaldune forest. Covering 325 squarekilometres, this is the largest estuarine system in all of Africa and is of international importance for its wildlife.Here we will look for the localised Gold-banded Forester, together with Green-banded Swallowtail, Golden Piper, SmallOrange Acraea, Red-line Sapphire andTwo-pip Policeman. We will also try toattract in a variety of charaxes by tempting them down from the canopy withbait and head out after dark in search ofthe area's more nocturnal inhabitants such as owls, nightjars, Bush Pig andThick-tailed Bushbaby. We move inland for our final two nights atEshowe where a unique aerial boardwalkhas been constructed high in the canopy ofthe Dlinza scarp forest. From the elevatedlevel of the boardwalk we can be eye-to-eye with the high fliers of the butterfly worldsuch as the charaxes and attractiveCommon Mother-of-Pearl. Adjoining theforest, the moist grassland could holdspecies such as Dusky Acraea and PolkaDot, plus Natal Acraea and Spotted Jokerin the gardens of our lodge. Dlinza is alsowell known for birds such as SpottedGround-thrush, Brown Scrub-robin, LemonDove and Narina Trogon. Here, and atother sites on this tour, we will find time totrap and identify a small selection of thecountry's numerous moth species. Thesemay include Heady Maiden, PleasantHornet, Netted Slug, Florid Pearl, VictorianEmerald, Cabbage Tree Emperor, OrientalBee Hawk and perhaps the large andimpressive Lunar Moth. Finally, after a last check of the moth-trapsand walk around the lodge's spaciousgrounds, we must sadly complete ourbutterfly and wildlife holiday by driving toDurban for our flight home. Butterflies of South AfricaA 10-day wildlife holiday to South Africa with a special emphasis on the country's spectacular butterflies.Friday 8th March - Sunday 17th March Cost: £2,695Outline itineraryDay 1 Depart London. Day 2Arrive Johannesburgand transferWakkerstroom.Day 3/4Mkuze Game Reserve.Day 5/6 St. Lucia.Day 7/8Eshowe. Day 9Depart Durban.Day 10 Arrive London.AccommodationComfortable hotels, lodges andguesthouses; all rooms haveprivate facilities.FoodAll included in the price, except forlunches at Wakkerstroom, St. Luciaand Eshowe. Allow £60.GradingGrade A. Easy wildlife walks andvehicle safaris only.FocusButterflies, birds, mammals andother wildlife.LeaderLocal naturalist guide.Single room supplement£250. ExtensionsAvailable on request. Web quick search: ZAF01170Call now or visit www.naturetrek.co.ukfor your free Trip ItineraryBOTSWANANAMIBIAZIMBABWENAMAQUALANDCAPE TOWNDURBANESHOWEST. LUCIAMKUZEMAPUTALANDCOASTAL FORESTRESERVESWAZILANDKRUGERNATIONALPARKJOHANNESBURGWAKKERSTROOMINDIAN OCEANATLANTIC OCEANSOUTH AFRICALESOTHO10% DONATIONTOWakkerstroomMockerSwallowtailCommon Dotted Border