TOWERING GIANT OF THE BUSH Although the giraffe did not make it into the top famous five of the bush, it’s a serious contender for inclusion in the top six. With their towering necks, distinctive spots, and graceful presence, giraffes are true icons of the bush. It’s hard to miss them – they are the […]

Resurrection Plants

How will the world – and Africa in particular – feed its increasing population in the era of climate change? July 2023 has officially been declared the hottest July in the recorded history of the world. I know that sounds absurd if you live in the Overstrand where the weather has been unusually cold and […]


Do you remember those large black and yellow beetles that descended on your fruit trees and roses every summer? Of course you do. As children we had lots of fun with them. Tie a string of cotton to one sturdy leg and let it fly away while you hold on to the other end of […]


One of the unanswered existential questions is how life on earth started. It’s probably one of the most significant and intriguing mysteries in science. While there is no definitive answer, several scientific theories attempt to explain how life came about on our planet. The abiogenesis theory proposes that life arose from non-living matter through natural […]

Dark Winged Fungus Gnat

Die muggies kom van buiteEn vrek dan teen die ruite…(With apologies to Koos du Plessis)   Did you also have an infestation of tiny flies this winter, with scores of minute dead bodies on the window sills? Photos by Dr Vic Hamilton-Attwell These small Dipterans (two-winged insects such as house flies and mosquitoes) were identified […]

Darwin At The Cape of Good Hope

Charles Darwin visited the Cape of Good Hope in mid-1836 towards the end of the five-year, round-the-world voyage of the HMS Beagle. Although he was (understandably) exhausted and keen to return home, he made good use of his only landfall in Africa. He travelled widely, made detailed observations on local geology and the fynbos biome, […]

The Dandy Dandelion

When I was a child, a very long time ago, my family visited my paternal grandmother at her beach house in the southern Cape every summer. It was a wonderful care-free holiday with friends who, like us, came to the beach for the summer holidays. It was an idyllic place for swimming, lying on the […]

A tough Nut to Crack

It is widely recognised that South Africa, especially the fynbos region, is being overrun by invasive alien vegetation from Australia. Think of all the Port Jackson willow, Australian myrtle, black wattle and Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops), to name but a few. But are there any Australian trees that are not invasive and make a positive contribution […]

Good Night

GOOD NIGHT, SLEEP TIGHT… Cimex lectularius creep into dark, warm hiding places where they can shun the lightof day. They are light to reddish-brown, flat, oval, 4-5 mm long and 2mm wide, but pack a punch well above their tiny size. They suck the blood of all animals – including humans! They saw through the […]

Saving Our Seabirds

The recent breaching of the Klein River Estuary was quite dramatic as the water level was high and there was a tremendous pressure of water that flowed out into the sea. Sadly, a channel had been dug illegally causing the estuary to breach at the wrong time – at night when the waterfowl were roosting. […]