September 2006 – Trip to Namaqualand & Namibia

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September 2006 – Trip to Namaqualand & Namibia

We have been planning this trip for several months. Aaron Bauer and Todd Jackman have obtained some funding for their Geckos of the World phylogeny work and the idea is to visit the Northern Cape and Namibia to get several of the new gecko species that are about to be described by Aaron and Bill. Tissue and photographs are required. Bill is still on a National Geographic tour and will be joining us later in Upington.

Aaron and Todd arrived from the USA with Amanda at the beginning of September and went to Transvaal Museum with Amanda where she is doing guts and gonads work on Psammophis. The two guys then left for Cape Town where they needed to sort out a few things.

06 September 2006

10:30 Just arrived at Cape Town International Airport and was picked up by Aaron and Todd. Aaron told me that the Toyota Twin cab behaved very well but the thought of putting in R900 worth of petrol at a time scared him. We headed north on the N7.

11:46 24790 km. Arrived in Malmesbury. Stopped for fuel (R690.00) and purchased some fruit and dry wors. Cold drinks, water and dry wors came to R200.00. Also got some medication for sores in my mouth, not
that anything really helps.

17:00 Arrived in Springbok and the area is looking wonderful after all of the rains – lots of patches of colourful flowers. We spoke with Oom Jopie at Springbok Café about accommodation for the night but he just smirked. He had already turned away 40 people that day. So much for herping in the flower season. We then spoke with Apie and he arranged a room for us at the Old Mill Inn. It was R750 for the night including breakfast.

We had dinner at the Springbok Café and it was very busy. We just managed to get a table and had to wait quite a while for our food. Aaron had chicken schnitzel and both Todd and I had a T-bone steak. Then off for some road work.

19:26 25302 km. It’s a perfect warm evening with a full moon. Just turned east onto the airport road and got a Bitis cornuta (see Pic left) slowly crossing the road.

19:40 25311 km. Just west of the airport. D.O.R. Psammophis notostictus.

19:44 25316 km. Driving east of Springbok towards Pofadder. 19:51 25322 km. Turning north towards Carolusberg on private mine road.

19:54 25323 km. Chondrodactylus bibronii on the road. I managed to break its tail!

20:07 25327 km. Still on the mine road. Got a Pachydactylus barnardi (see Pic right) – a beautiful gecko!

20:08 25327 km. D.O.R. Bitis cornuta. Must have been killed by the only vehicle that passed us. Outside temperature about 22 oC.

20:21 25333 km. Still on mine road. Freshly-killed Bitis cornuta

20:26 25336 km. On the way to Ratelkraal on the main east road. D.O.R. Lamprophis capensis cf mentalis.

21:39 25386 km. Back on the mine road. Got a Bitis cornuta crossing the road. They huff and puff and strike repeatedly when cornered.

22:51 25432 km. Mine road. Pachydactylus mariequensis.

We were all tired and decided to quit. Not a bad evening considering that we got onto the road quite late. With such good herping it is no wonder that more and more collectors are being arrested in the Springbok area for illegal collecting.

07 September 2006

07:30 Had a good breakfast – yoghurt, bacon & eggs, toast, fruit juice and coffee. I photographed the previous night’s catch while Aaron and Todd did the processing. Then we headed for Port Nolloth. We ran into Louis du Preez the previous night while cleaning the windscreen at a fuel station. He was photographing tadpoles for his new field guide to frogs and toads. He also told us that Alan Channing was doing field work in Port Nolloth. Darn herpers everywhere!

12:33 Visited the farm Gemsbokvlei on the Lekkersing road and did some scratching around. Got two Goggia lineate and a Pachydactylus labialis.

Headed for Port Nolloth and booked into the Municipal chalets at McDougal’s Bay. Spoke with Alan Channing and met three of his students. They are doing some mark/recapture work on Breviceps macrops. (See Pic left.)

14:20 25643 km. Refueled in Port Nolloth (R919.00) and headed for the dump. Got two Pachydactylus labialis, Trachylepis varia, Typhlosaurus vermis and a juvenile Bitis schneideri.

17:30 25717 km. Heading for Lekkersing and drove about 9 km past the village towards the Richtersveld. Got 2 Pachydactylus weberi, 2 Chondrodactylus bibronii, 3 Cordylus polyzonus, 1 Pedioplanis inornata and Todd missed a Telescopus beetzi. Headed back to Port Nolloth.

Had dinner at Anita’s Tavern and it was quite cold but we got a table near the fireplace. Aaron had lasagna and both Todd and I had a mixed grill – chop, boerewors, egg, steak and chips.

20:10 Headed out towards Lekkersing but it was cold and rainy and nothing on the road. Got back at about 23:00. I walked down the beach to Alan’s study site and they were about to pack up for the night. Managed a quick photograph of a Breviceps macrops. Then joined them for a hot chocolate in their chalet.

08 September 2006

07:30 Spent the morning photographing and fixing specimens. I got us somewhat of a breakfast in town – bacon and egg sandwiches and boerewors rolls.

10:30 25922 km. Leaving Port Nolloth and heading for Springbok to purchase some groceries and books from the Springbok Café.

10:33 25947 km. Stopped at the abandoned quarts mine 25 km east of Port Nolloth. Got 4 Cordylus polyzonus, 2 Cordylosaurus subtessalata, 1 Agama knobelli, 1 Trachylepis sulcata.

13:00 26069 km. Did our shopping at the Spar and bought some books from Oom Jopie at Springbok Café. Heading east. 14:00 61.3 km east of Springbok. Got a Pedioplanis lineooccelata /Meroles suborbitalis on the road. Saw Trachylepis varia but Todd squashed it while grabbing it!

14:02 62.9 km east of Springbok – D.O.R. Dipsina multimaculata. (See Pic right)

15:40 92.8 km east of Springbok. Climbed a hill on the northern side of the highway and got 2 Chondrodactylus bibronii and a Pachydactylus goodi. The latter was high up on the hill, under a large vertical rock crevice. When I moved the rock with a crowbar it quickly walked beneath the rock, again in a large crevice.

16:20 Aggenhuys. Went to the mine and spoke with Pottie about permission to collect on mine property. He introduced us to his senior, Graham, who duly signed the paperwork and asked us to be careful not to damage any succulents. Got some cold drinks and ice cream from the local store and up the hill. I climbed north up the central ridge and down the other side, then clockwise around the middle of the hill. Didn’t see much except for 2 Chondrodactylus turneri and a Pachydactylus montanus. Pulled apart a dead Aloe with my stump ripper and saw a Pachydactylus goodi (see Pic left) amongst the dead leaves. It was quite a mission but I eventually got it into a plastic jar. The dead Aloe was against a rock face. Left for Pofadder at about 18:40.

19:02 26209 km. 51 km from Pofadder – got a light orange (see Pic right) on the

19:16 Got a large road. (see Pic left)

19:25 26226 km. Got an unusual Lamprophis capensis cf mentalis on the road – it looked xanthic! (see pic right)

19:30 26228 km. Another large Bitis caudalis on the road. Certainly the two biggest specimens I have ever caught.

20:00 Got to Pofadder and booked into three adjacent rooms @ R100 each. Quick bath and into bed.
Had a couple with relationship problems a few doors away and they argued throughout most of the night. At 03:00 they were eventually told to belt up by the police.

09 September 2006

07:30 Up and photographing the previous days catch. Aaron and Todd were doing their usual – taking tissue samples and setting specimens.

10:48 26272 km. Heading for Upington. Purchased a greasy breakfast from the local café – urgh!

10:54 26279 km. D.O.R. Bitis arietans. Dull greeny grey in colour. 11:10 26282 km. Stopped at a picnic site to get specimens.

12:03 26301 km. D.O.R. Dipsina multimaculata.

13:11 26379 km. D.O.R. Dasypeltis scabra light in colour. 104 km east of Pofadder.

15:00 26502 km. In Upington and picked Bill up from the airport.

15:15 26533 km. Drove east on the N10 and stopped at a low rocky ridge. Got 4 Pachydactylus purcelli (see Pic right) and a Trachylepis sulcata. Saw a D.O.R. Varanus albigularis.

17:13 26565 km. Refueled in Upington (R930) and booked into the Belvedere Guest House west of Upington. R295 a head including breakfast. It’s a pretty guest house and we each had our own room. They prepared dinner for us at R110 a head and it was good but took far too long.

21:40 Driving south 2 km west of Augrabies turnoff and got a Pachydactylus mariequensis. The roads were very busy and we decided to head home for an early night.

10 September 2006

08:30 26716 km. Leaving the guest house. We had a good breakfast and managed to do some photography. 09:42 26769 km. Psammobates tentorius veroxi crossing a dirt road. Managed a few photographs.

12:26 26801 km. Got to Daberas Adventure Farm. Met with Pieter and his wife and booked into their guest house. Searched the scrap heap at the neighboring house and got 2 Chondrodactylus turneri and missed a small Pachydactylus.

13:25 26857 km. D.O.R. Psammophis notostictus. SARCA Record. 13:48 26893 km. D.O.R. Dipsina multimaculata. SARCA Record.

14:30 26923 km. Pofadder/Onseepkans road. Homopus signatus crossing the road. Approx 3 km from N14. Also got a Pachydactylus montanus (see Pic below) and 3 Chondrodactylus turneri.

15:30 26939 km. Broke open some dead Quiver tree stumps but found very little. 4 Chondrodactylus turneri and 1 Acontias lineatus. Missed a Trachylepis occidentalis and a Trachylepis variegata. Drove back to the guest house for a bit of photography and dinner.

21:30 Went into the river bed close to the house to search the rock outcrops for herps. Got 3 Pachydactylus atorquatus, 3 Pachydactylus haackei and a Pachydactylus purcelli as well as a Trachylepis variegata. I had two, one in each hand but slid down the mountain dropping my torch – managed to hang onto one of them! The Pachydactylus atorquatus feed on the rocks but are quick to run into large rock cavities when disturbed.

The Pachydactylus haackei (see Pic right) were out on open rock looking for food while the last specimen was in a large vertical rock crevice in the river bed. Their skin is very soft and tears easily.

22:00 Got another Pachydactylus atorquatus (see Pic left) closer to the house but still in the river bed.

11 September 2006

07:00 Up and photographing specimens while Aaron and Todd got themselves ready to process all of the specimens. Heading for the Onseepkans border post. The crossing went smoothly – no delays. It is surprising how easy it is to cross an international border with a vehicle. No paperwork requested and they barely look at the number plates. No wonder so many stolen vehicles end up in other African countries.

Stopped off at Kakamas for Aaron and Todd to sort out their work visas. It took 30 minutes. Bought some groceries and we were on the way again.

15:19 27310 km. Just north of Kakamas on Onseepkans road. D.O.R. Naja nivea, dark brown and a Psammophis notostictus. 15:47 27350 km. Granow. Refueled (R788.05).

Booked in at the Savanna Guest House with Zelda and Eric. Helped them remove some barn owls from their loft. Had T- bone steak and vegetables for dinner. Then headed west for the outcrops.

21:37 Got 3 Pachydactylus montanus, 1 Pachydactylus rugosus, Trachylepis sulcata and Chondrodactylus turneri. Got back to the lodge and I took a late night walk to the rock outcrops south of the lodge but found nothing. Got back to the lodge in the early hours of the morning.

12 September 2006

08:15 Had breakfast and heading north.

12:49 27759 km. Arrived in Mariental.

16:10 Arrived in Windhoek and booked into Tamboti Lodge – still owned by Ziggy. We visited Mike Griffin and chatted. Also photographed a Naja nigricincta nigricincta (see Pic right) but struggled – the spitting snakes are never easy. Got a Namibian tortoise book from Mike.

19:00 Had Nandos for dinner.

20:00 Went to the town dam (Ariep?) and searched extensively but only got a bunch of Chondrodactylus turneri. Back to Tamboti lodge for an early night.

13 September 2006

07:30 Breakfast at Tamboti. Spent the morning photographing a Zebra Cobra at Mike Griffin’s office and managed to get much better shots than the previous day. Aaron and Todd had to do some work at the museum.

11:20 28063 km. Leaving Windhoek and heading north.

12:09 Okahandja. Refueled (R839.00) and had a pie for lunch. Visited the wood carvers across the road but they are far too aggressive. I am sure they will sell a lot more carvings if they are not so pushy.

15:00 Arrived at Waterberg Lodge and met Tienie, who runs the lodge and Harry, the owner. Not cheap at R500 a head but they are isolated enough to charge whatever they feel like. The chalets were great and I shared one with Bill. We did some photography in the afternoon.

15:50 Visited the National Water Carrier but saw very little. The water level was quite low and no flow. Had a lot of Tilapia and, fortunately, shrubs growing into the channel which would assist most reptiles that fall in to escape. Got a Trachylepis wahlbergi and Aaron and Todd saw a Varanus albigularis.

19:00 Had dinner in a communal eating hall and had to wait for the other guests who had gone on a game drive. A bit like Dallas! The meal, consisting of spaghetti and mince and desert, was very disappointing at R110.00 a person. Nice to have a monopoly.

21:00 Todd and I went up the mountain while Bill and Aaron did some road cruising. The climb up the mountain was heavy going and very steep with lots of loose rocks and thorny bushes. We managed to get three Pachydactylus waterbergensis (see Pic lefft), one Trachylepis wahlbergi and a large Lamprophis capensis. The geckos were at the base of rocks, probably hunting for food, and one on a large rock boulder. Bill and Aaron got 2 D.O.R. Telescopus semiannulatus and a Chondrodactylus turneri. I also got a few Chondrodactylus turneri on buildings and around the chalet.

14 September 2006

08:00 Packed and ready for breakfast – again Dallas-style with Harry at the head of the table and all other visitors at the same table. Heading for the Otavi highlands. We stopped at the Spar in Otjivarongo to get provisions.

Drove to the farm Varianto which belongs to Piet and Heidi Basson, P.B. 1350, Tsumeb. After turning off the main road we stopped at a farm for directions and realized that the canopy door had popped open and that my Pelican briefcase with my laptop, external hard drive, money, credit cards, etc had fallen out while driving! We drove back about a kilometer and found the case in the road, dusty but otherwise intact. I tested the laptop and it was still working!

Piet is a retired veterinarian with an interest in natural history – he even had some preserved reptiles and beetles in bottles including Philothamnus semivariegatus, Pseudaspis cana, Hemirhagerrhis viperinus and Lygodactylus capensis. The Bassons are wonderful people and accommodated us in their guest rondawel. Piet took us to the spot where the scorpion people had collected in the recent past. We had (another) boerewors braai with bread rolls and headed for the hills once it got dark.

20:20 Went up a hill and had a good look. Bill got the only Pachydactylus otaviensis (see Pic left) and we were in bed before midnight.

15 September 2006

08:00 Piet and Heidi invited us for breakfast and we had a pleasant conversation with them. Then some photography and fixing. Our next stop was the Schoeman’s farm and Piet had called Andre Schoeman and informed him that we were on the way. Stopped in Otavi for some provisions and more boerewors!

10:50 Stopped and Bill rubber-banded a Trachylepis varia

14:00 Got to the farm Uisib and met the Schoemans – Andre and Jenni and their kids Kyle, Cindel, Yurianke and Gaflemel. Again a wonderful reception and we enjoyed speaking with Andre and his family. He operates a safari company and flies tourists around, especially to the Skeleton Coast. He also flew choppers in the war days. Kyle took us to the area where Pachydactylus sp. 2 was found by the scorpion people. Managed to get some Rhoptropus. Kyle is very enthusiastic about wildlife and gets wonderful support from his parents. The kids are home-schooled and it is interesting to hear Kyle speak English – very clear with good pronunciation. Another boerewors braai – also managed to catch some Lygodactylus capensis on the reed windbreaker at the boma.

22:30 Went up the hill at the cave and looked for about two hours. We managed to get 4 Pachydactylus sp.2 and some more Rhoptropus. One of the Pachydactylus was in a large crevice amongst rocks and we managed to chase it out with a grass stem. We also saw a large specimen in a massive rock crack near the top of the mountain on a rock face but couldn’t get it. It was nice to have a hot shower before getting to bed. P.O. Box 5, Otavi, Namibia, 9000

16 September 2006

07:00 Breakfast consisting of last night’s leftovers, bread, banana, etc. Spent most of the morning photographing specimens while Aaron and Todd did the fixing. Had the Schoeman kids around with lots of questions. They seemed to be having a great time.

11:42 Leaving Uisib.

12:53 28968 km. Refueled at Otjivarongo.

14:10 Near Outjo. D.O.R. Lamprophis capensis – quite light in colour with very little striping on the body.

16:00 Got to the Kaminjab camp site and managed to get two chalets despite the fact that most chalets were booked for a wedding. R200 each including breakfast. Scratched around on adjacent koppie and got 4 x Pachydactylus bicolor and 1 x Hemirhagerrhis viperinus (see Pic below). We also got Trachylepis binotata, T.
variegata, T. wahlbergi, Agama planiceps, Rhoptropus barnardi.

A somewhat weird wedding at the restaurant. Few people, quite a number of weirdoes and several people left before dinner! We had our customary boerewors braai with bread rolls. Bill and I watched a bit of Curry cup rugby while the wors was getting cooked – Blue Bulls against the Sharks. Very poor rugby and the Sharks were dismal. Out for a night drive.

The Trachylepis binotata (see Pic left) is impressive and large – by far the biggest African skink that I have seen. Got some nice pics.

20:15 Drove the road towards Oudjo. Saw one D.O.R. Bitis caudalis, got 1 Chondrodactylus turneri and a Pachydactylus punctatus. Also saw 2 steenbok, a few kudu and 3 warthog out at night! Quite a few mice crossing the road as well as several Solifuges. In bed by 23:00.

17 September 2006

08:00 Breakfast at camp and a photo session.

11:47 29290 km. Leaving camp and heading west to check out calcrete deposits. The dark skink that we photographed is Trachylepis spilogaster and not Trachylepis wahlbergi. It has a speckled belly.

13:16 29352 km. Stopped 60 km west of Kamanjab. Got 2 x Rhoptropus barnardi, 1 x Pachydactylus bicolor, saw Agama planiceps, Trachylepis variegata, T. sulcata and T. acutilabis.

13:30 29354 km. Stopped about 58 km from Kamanjab (on the way back) and turned some calcrete rocks next to the road.

Saw 2 assassin bugs but no reptiles. Aaron and Bill got one Trachylepis spilogaster.

13:55 29360 km. Another stop, about 52 km from Kamanjab. Got Agama aculeata, 3 Pedioplanis ondata, and 1 Trachylepis spilogaster and saw T. sulcata and T. acutilabis.

14:16 29386 km. Got a D.O.R. Aspidelaps lubricus infuscatus, quite fresh.

16:00 Got to Hobatere Lodge owned by Steven Braine (067-6870666)

Had afternoon tea and went to a hide with Bill while Aaron and Todd went on a game drive. Got some nice shots of elephant at a waterhole. Also watched a female lioness slowly approaching some Gemsbok but she wasn’t very successful. Lots of Agama planiceps around camp. Dinner was good and we spent most of the evening chatting to Steven. Got to bed by 23:00.

18 September 2006

07:30 Breakfast with a quick photo session. Heading north for Sesfontein.

10:25 29504 km. Leaving camp. Stopped 2 km from the gate to look for Trachylepis laevis. No joy.

10:30 29505 km. Got 1 Agama aculeata on a rock next to the road.

10:50 Close to the gate but still on the farm. Got a Rhoptropus boutoni, 2 Pachydactylus bicolor, 1 Trachylepis binotata.

13:30 29593 km. Kaminjab. Refueled (R595.00) and got some food. We ate cheeseburgers with chips for lunch. Also got some dry wors. Heading for Sesfontein via Palmwag.

15:15 29690 km. In the middle of the Grootbergpass at a little bit of water. Got 2 Chondrodactylus fitzimonsi (see Pic below), 1 Rhoptropus barnardi, 1 Pachydactylus shertzi.

17:30 Got to Sesfontein and checked out Para Camp. It has been deserted and is derelict. The other camps looked no better and we ended up in the German Castle for R470 a head including breakfast. Had leftovers for dinner and on the road at dark.

20:15 Searched the hill on the west side just past Zebra Camp but shale. Got 2 Pachydactylus parascutatus.

21:15 Parked the vehicle above Para Camp and started out search for Pachydactylus oreophilus. I got a Pythonodipsas and Bill called us to help catch a Pachydactylus oreophilus (see Pic left) that he had stunned with a rubber band. Todd and I took a walk down to the river bed and the rocky hill opposite the river. We got one adult and one juvenile Pachydactylus oreophilus as well as a Trachylepis hershii. In bed by 23:00.

19 September 2006

08:00 Breakfast and a photo session while Todd and Aaron did their thing.

11:22 29846 km. Paid for the accommodation and had a cold Coke. Caught a Trachylepis spilogaster outside my room. Refueled (267.45) – heading for the Kuimeb River.

15:17 8 km north of Puros. Checked some rocks and missed a Rhoptropus. Managed to get a Pedioplanis. Headed for the Kuimeb River.

16:00 Set up camp under a tree in the river bed, exactly where the scorpion expedition had camped. Photographed a group of 11 giraffe – they were not too worried about us and we managed to get within 60 meters of some of the adults (see Pic left). Heard Ptenopus calling but couldn’t find any.

Had dinner (old bread rolls and peanut butter), photographed the Pythonodipsas and headed for the hills before it got dark. None of us could find the Pachydactylus weberi that supposedly occurs there. I got two Pachydactylus vanzyli and between us we got 7 Rhoptropus biporosus.

20 September 2006

07:53 Packed up camp, more dry bread for breakfast and about to depart. Didn’t sleep well. We are heading for Swakopmund via Palmwag, a long drive.

11:00 30145 km. Sesfontein.

12:18 Refueled at Palmwag (R394). Also had a burger and chips for lunch.

17:30 30700 km. In Swakopmund. Booked into the municipal chalets and had dinner in town. Then did some photography but battled in low light.

Headed for the river after dark to look for Pachydactylus weberi. We got 1 Pachydactylus weberi, 5 Pachydactylus rangeri (see Pic left) and a bunch of Rhoptropus bradfieldi.

21 September 2006

07:00 Up and another photo session while Aaron and Todd patiently awaited the specimens for processing. We headed for town for breakfast and a bit of shopping. Got some interesting books.

11:06 Leaving Swakopmund for the Mountain Lodge at Sossusvlei. Refueled (R634.00). 14:30 31017 km. Solitaire. Had some apple pie.

15:11 Stopped to lift some calcrete and Bill got two Trachylepis acutilabis.

16:00 Arrived at the Mountain Lodge and welcomed by Eileen. Bill had arranged our accommodation and meals and the lodge is magnificent! Gave Eileen some washing to sort out for us and had a chat with Peter, the lodge manager. We were very well looked after and nothing was too much trouble. It was great and the lodge is well worth a visit.

Dinner consisted of Springbok medallions with good red wine, desert and some coffee. Excellent food.

Then the mountain. I got two Pachydactylus sp. 3 cf serval but my torch
packed up while I was on top of the mountain. Peter and Bill were chatting
when I got back – Bill caught another Pachydactylus sp. 3 cf serval (see Pic left) at Peter’s house.

I then joined Peter to a ranger’s party at the staff quarters. They had braaied some goat but most of it was quite burnt on the outside. The meat was tasty and juicy once one got through the burnt bits. They were dancing to some local music, also doing the Nama-stap. The music was some sort of kwaito-rap, the hits being

‘Serious’ and ‘Balancing’. Some of the songs had a lot of Afrikaans words. I went back to the lodge after midnight and back up the mountain. Got another Pachydactylus sp. 3 cf serval but my second torch, belonging to the lodge, went flat and I had to pack up for the night.

22 September 2006

07:30 Had an excellent breakfast and did some photography. Another chat with Peter and Eileen and bought some T-shirts from the lodge shop.

11:25 31141 km. Said our thanks and good byes and headed for Aus.

12:50 31260 km. Betta Camp for drinks. Had a flat and wrecked a good tyre!

16:07 42.4 km from Helmeringhauzen. D.O.R. Naja nivea – dark brown phase. Had a coffee and sandwich at the Helmeringhauzen hotel.

17:30 Booked into the Little Aus Vista – got the 10 bunk self-catering lodge.

19:30 On the way to dinner at Little Aus and got a Ptenopus garrulus on the dirt road. Dinner very average – kudu steaks, some greens and an average dessert. One can get away with murder when you have a captive audience.

20:45 Bill and Aaron went road riding and Todd and myself went up into the hills.

I got a Prosymna frontalis, Cordylus sp. and a Trachylepis sulcata. Bill and Aaron got 3 D.O.R. Bitis caudalis, 2 D.O.R. Aspidelaps lubricus (see Pic left), 1 light-coloured Ramphotyphlops schinzi and a light Telescopus beetzi (see Pic right). Also nine Chondrodactylus angulifer and another Ptenopus garrulus.

23 September 2006

07:30 Breakfast and another photo session. The Cordylus managed to escape during the photo session.

10:56 31617 km. Refueled in Aus (R912) and headed towards the farm Tiras.
14:18 Met with Mr. Koch and his wife and headed for a black outcrop on the northern side of the main dirt road. I got 2

Pachydactylus serval, 1 Agama knobelli and a Trachylepis sulcata. We also got a Pedioplanis lineoocelata and a P. ornata. 15:00 Stopped at large outcrops further south and got a single Meroles suborbitalis. This area has been hard hit in the past and all of the rock flakes have been crow barred off.

Headed back to Aus and booked into the Aus hotel. We headed for the tarred road between Aus and Luderitz

19:39 167.7 km D.O.R. Bitis caudalis. Squashed but still alive.

19:50 Aspidelaps lubricus

20:00 Chondrodactylus angulifer

20:02 178.65 km Chondrodactylus angulifer

20:07 185 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer

20:27 190.9 km. Pachydactylus rangeri. Very light in colour. Chondrodactylus angulifer

20:43 200.1 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer.

21:03 209.7 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer.

21:16 215.7 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer.

21:21 216.7 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer.

21:39 224.7 km. Chondrodactylus angulifer.

24 September 2006

07:30 Breakfast at Aus Hotel.

09:00 Leaving Aus and heading for Aroab.

12:19 East of Keetmanshoop. Got one Pachydactylus purcelli in a dark outcrop next to the road. Bill got a Chondrodactylus turneri, Trachylepis sulcata, Pedioplanis ornata and an Agama anchietae. Aaron got a Pedioplanis namaquensis.

15:30 32308 km. Refueled at Aroab (R900). Booked into a little flat in Aroab at R80.00 a head. Spent most of the afternoon taking photographs. Ordered some toasted sandwiches for dinner.

20:00 32316 km. On the rocks 6.7 km N.W. of Aroab.

Got 7 Pachydactylus mclachlani,(see Pic left) 1 Agama anchietae and Chondrodactylus bibronii. Some of the Pachydactylus mclachlani were below rocky ridges but Bill got most of them above the calcreteridge  where they were hunting for insects.

25 September 2006

07:00 A quick photo session and off for breakfast. Aroab is a one-horse town – nothing happening.

09:41 Leaving Aroab. Got a Trachylepis sparsa in a deserted building.

11:30 32403 km. Bill saw a big light yellow Naja nivea crossing the road – I didn’t see a thing! We drove back but it was gone. Todd found a track and we followed it into a thick bush. We circled the bush and found no further tracks. We all scratched around with stump rippers and I found a bit of a hole and started digging. I was about to give up when the snake came flying out, hissing. One of the biggest Naja nivea (see Pic right) that I have ever seen.

11:45 32419 km. Another Naja nivea crossing the road – a beautiful golden brown specimen. While chasing after it Bill managed to stand on a Psammophis trinasalis and break its tail!

12:01 32430 km. Caught a Psammophis notostictus (see Pic left) on the road. It was halfway across the road and froze – crept up behind it and caught it without the snake moving.

Booked into a hut at the farm Oas belonging to Mantie Oberholzer. It’s a nice little cottage with battery-powered lights and a weird heating system that works with diesel dripping onto a tray. It didn’t work and we had cold showers.

15:23 32540 km. Another Psammophis notostictus on the road. On the way back to the farm Oas from Karagams. We did some shopping and I saw a G.P. for a Voltarin injection – hurt my lower back on the mountains.

15:41 32560 km. Still heading back to Oas Lodge. Got a Bitis caudalis crossing the road.

Got back to the lodge and had a boerewors braai with bread rolls. As the sun went down we headed for the river with our torches. I walked along the rocks at river level and then climbed higher up. Got 6 Pachydactylus mclachlani, 2 Trachylepis sulcata and some Chondrodactylus turneri.

26 September 2006

06:30 Early morning photo session while Aaron and Todd did the usual. Then headed for Upington. – another long drive. 10:57 32695 km. Saw a Pale-chanting Goshawk feeding on a dead 1.5 m golden brown Naja nivea. Bill thinks the Goshawk killed the snake but I doubt it – the snake looks far too big.

Heading for the border, then Upington. Going to stay at Kuthula Lodge – Beula 082 779-4024.

Refueled at Upington and got an L.E.D. globe for my Magnum torch – R240.00!

We moved into two very nice wooden chalets and had another boerewors braai. Bill got himself some noodles and Tuna, I guess he had overdosed on boerewors.

I then walked the dunes for about 3 hours with Michael and his wife, Beula’s son-in-law, but got absolutely nothing. Got to bed by midnight.

27 September 2006

07:00 Quick sunrise photo shoot of the Chamaeleo namaquensis and a Trachylepis sparsa and headed to Upington for breakfast. We went to Saddles but waited for close to an hour for our food and it wasn’t good. Never again. Then to Johannesburg.

10:53 33152 Dipsina multimaculata on the road near Griekwastad.

11:08 33174 km. 90 km from Griekwastad. D.O.R. Pseudaspis cana. Also got a D.O.R. Psammophis notostictus. 13:00 Got to Kimberley and sorted out Aaron’s export permits. Had a pizza for lunch.

14:50 33428 km. Leaving Kimberley.

20:00 In Johannesburg 33890 km. Did about 9,000 km.

Another memorable trip!