For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa: please click on the following links:
Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
Plants, Trees, Flowers: (Note: Unless plants fall into a specific species such as Cacti, they have been classified by their flower colour to make them easier to find) Bonsai - Cacti, Succulents, Aloes, Euplorbia - Ferns and Cycads - Flowers - Fungi, Lichen and Moss - Grass - Trees
Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
Other photography: Aeroplanes - Cars and Bikes - Travel - Sunrise - Water drops/falls - Sudwala and Sterkfontein Caves etc.

Videos: YouTube

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Today I am going to do something quite different........

I am the most un-photogenic person I know and I HATE photographs of myself and generally do not allow them but I had to have one taken last year and this is it. Please do not have a heart attack or faint, even less, PLEASE DON”T RUN AWAY!! I am sure a lot of you have been curious about who you are chatting to and some of you have asked for a photograph. Now you know why I did not want to post one!! I look just like those warthogs!! LOL!! Since the picture was taken, I have let my hair grow long again and it makes me look quite different.

I have been blogging for nearly two years now and most of you know a little bit about me by now but today’s post is going to be about me and my fellow bloggers.

I am 58 years old and I was born and raised in a small town in South Africa. My father was in the army and my mother a stay-at-home mom. I grew up very much the tomboy … climbing trees, playing marbles, riding half wild horses, hiking through the bush and swimming in every pan of rancid and/or clean water I could find (hence the broad shoulders). My father taught me to fix cars, make a garden, shoot a pistol, paint the house and everything else a girl needs to know and with the result, I grew up to be very independent. My mother made me learn to cook and sew and OCCASIONALLY act like a lady. LOL!! (Not much fun in that was there?) They both instilled in me a love for music, ballet and the arts, so all in all, I had a good, round educational upbringing.

When I was in school, I wanted to be a physiotherapist but there was no money to send me to study so I went into sales and marketing. I drifted more to the bookkeeping side of things but taught myself everything I could about every job there was in the places I worked.

I got married when I was 20 and had a wonderful child who was unfortunately killed when a truck ran into him 8 years ago. My first marriage did not work out and when I was 28, I met and married a wonderful man with whom I spent 8 fantastic years. He passed away 23 years ago.

I then decided that I had to do something with my life. The routine of going to the same old job and the same old boring things was not for me and I wanted to embark on something meaningful. During my marriage we had been to the game reserve many times and I decided that was where my passion was and where I wanted to be.

I started studying and found a job as a tour guide to the game reserve and fell in love with every aspect of my work. It was long, hard hours and days with no time off, 365 days out of a year, 12-18 hours a day but I loved it and thrived. This was the course of my life for the next 22 years and I would not change one minute of it. I know everyone thinks it is a glamorous job but it has the highest turn-over in staff in any job available here with very few people lasting more than a few months, here and there, a few years. You really have to be dedicated and love it to do it.

Then the powers that be decided I was to old to be a guide as “old” did not fit in with the image of a tour guide so I came back to live in Pretoria which had been my home base all the years.

Now, even after 5 years, I did not know anyone here. Where as before I had 6-8 new people with me every few days, I now went to work and came back to a lonely, cold house with no one there. My parents had also passed away in the meantime. I looked around for something to keep myself occupied with and found a nice photographic forum which I joined and was on for 2 years until they closed down. My friend Bruce from Bruce-sc-pix told me about blogging and asked me to join to show people some of my animal pictures which she was sure they would be interested in. I had a look at her site and eventually started SA Photographs.

After two weeks, with only 3 people commenting, I was ready to give up but Mary from Faith, Fabrics and Photos convinced me to keep at it, plugging my site for all it was worth. Slowly but surely, I started to build up some more people visiting and then suddenly in October 2008, it seemed to explode.

I do not know what I would do without all you fantastic people who support me. It has become the one thing my whole life revolves around and without it, I would be a lost soul. Some of you also correspond with me via e-mail so my blogging buddies have also become my friends.

What I am trying to say with all of this is how much I really appreciate everyone’s friendship and support. You made my life worth living again. THANK YOU!!

This is going to be my last post. I have a few project I need to complete and only a few months in which to do them so I will not have time for photography or blogging anymore.
I will miss each and every one of you as you are all very special to me.


The Early Birder said...

Hi Joan. Nice to meet you face to face. I haven't known you long but have much enjoyed following and learning.
Whatever the future holds in store I hope you can enjoy every moment. xx Frank.

Samson said...

Hi Joan,

Nice to see your photo and know more about you and your life. you are such a wonderful person.

Will miss you, Good luck with your project

Take care

A New England Life said...

Good day Joan,

So nice to see you! For goodness sakes, don't be so hard on yourself. You look like a normal person to me!

What a great upbringing! So much diversity in the things you learned. You had great parents. I'm very, very sad to learn about the passing of your son. I'm not sure a parent ever recovers from something so tragic.

Although I don't comment on your bugs anymore (haa haa! You know me and bugs!) I do follow you and am sorry to see you go. Take care my friend. Be good to yourself.


WR said...


I will so miss your blog! I've enjoyed everyone. I love your is in the eye of the beholder! :) Best wishes to you always!

Gaelyn said...

Joan, you are beautiful! I'm so glad to see this wonderful person I've gotten to know in the last year. Now maybe I'll recognize you at the aiport. And thank you for sharing your life and passions with us. I honestly can't believe your going to quit the blog. Maybe just once in awhile, please. Yet I understand the need for other things, projects, etc. ;-) You will be MISSED!
Will send an email soon. Hugs and good luck!

Picture Imperfect said...

Hi Joan...

That is a great picture, what are you talking about? We're always our own worst critic, aren't we?

I am sad to hear that you won't be blogging anymore. I will miss your posts and all of your photos. I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors and I hope that your project works out well for you.

Stop by my blog any time, I will always be happy to hear from you!

Craver Vii said...

Wow Joan. I'm new here, but I got hooked. This was one of the places I needed to visit every day. I sure am going to miss you!! Best wishes for this new endeavor.

Thank you for sharing your story. It was moving to hear about the highs and lows.

There is a warmth in your eyes... you look like family to me.

Peace, Friend.

Ken Conger Photography said...

Thanks for sharing your personal history. You certainly have had some challenging life experiences.

The blogging community will certainly miss you. Hope your project goes well and you are back soon.

Blue Skies.

Diane AZ said...

Hi, it was nice to see your picture and to learn more about you. I'm sorry about your losses. Good luck on your projects. Many people, including me, will miss your blog.

Steve Borichevsky said...

I'm going to miss you. You were one of my first link exchanges. I was looking for like-minded people that shot what they saw, loved what they shot and tried to make the world a better place.

If what I observed is true, you can proclaim, "Mission accomplished."

Best wishes!

Craig Glenn said...

Hi Joan,

Ok, I will email you later but let me clear up one thing... you mean you will not be blogging for the next couple of months... no forever right?


PS. That is exactly how I pictured you! Except with more clay stains on your shirt! LOL

Andrea said...

You really can't imagine how I will miss your Blog.
It was a pleasure for me to come back home and open your page.
I (with Roberta) wish you all the best with you Projects.
And remember,next year we will be back in Southafrica.

A Big Hug,Joan!!!

Maureen McHale said...

Craig talks about you frequently. I know I will miss hearing the stories from him about your adventures and how he teases you.

We talked today at lunch about how much he's enjoyed your friendship and how great it would be to one day actually visit your country and meet!

I hope you come back to blogging soon...or at least to drop Craig (and I) an update of what's you've been up to! After all, Craig needs all the friends he can get! :)

Hope to hear from (or about) you again soon!!

brucesc said...

The best of luck in your new projects, Joan. I know we will keep emailing though still. Thanks for the plug for my blog--I'm embarrassed to say that there is nothing new on it since March. I couldn't stand the frustration of things uploading wrong. I'll come back to it when you do.....LOL. I know you will be sorely missed in the blogesphere. I loved reading your full bio--lots of ups and downs there for sure--you weathered them all very well.
Love, Bruce

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: I love your story and really enjoyed reading through it, even the sad parts such as the loss of your son. I do hope that you will be back really soon.

Anonymous said...

I am going to miss your very entertaining blog. Occasionally your photographs and articles would bring me back to my younger days in South Africa.

I hope all goes well for you.
You will be missed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Joan for teaching us so much about South Africa. It does seem very exotic for us. And it was wonderful for you to share with us more about your life. Sometimes we all turn corners where we can reinvent ourselves completely. Its truly an art to surf the waves that come our way. I am in California currently visiting my family. Enjoy your projects. It has been good getting to know you through cyberspace. Much Love, Bernie

Becky and Gary said...

Oh NO, how will I ever get through the day with out your wonderful pictures Joan? You know we all wonder who we're blogging with, and what kind of life this person has. Thank you so very much for taking the time to tell us about yourself. I do want to express my sympathy to all of your losses too. Sometimes it must be difficult to carry on, BUT you've got us...and you seem to love your job. That helps I'm sure.
Please take care, and if you have even a spare minute keep in touch. I'll miss you!

Mary said...

Joan, so good to see what you look like after all this time! Thanks for sharing your story and photo. You have become a friend to many through your blog. I hate to hear that you are stopping blogging now! I've learned so much from your blog about Africa and about bugs. I hope this is only temporary and that you will be back eventually! Keep in touch and good luck with your projects!

Firefly said...

Hi Joan
My heart just sank. Somebody just asked me what's wrong. Having a blogging friend stop blogging is like having a close friend in person tell you thay are going away and you may never see them again. But enough of that. Thanks for giving us a true education on all you passions. Thanks for being a regular on my blog and always leaving a comment. I was at a stage when I was only getting 1 or 2 comments a day and thought about giving up. Even though I only get 5 or 6 now, Google Analytics tell me I get about 60 hits on my one blog and 100 on the other every day, so people visit even if they don't comment. I will truly miss you and your blog and hope that the day will come when you decide to take it up again.

Ps. To your blog followers who say they will miss your posts on South Africa, here is a suggestion. Visit The Firefly Photo Files - for some more South African sights

Till we meet again

Jochen said...

Hmmmm, with whom will I now be able to chat about boerewors?

I will truly miss your blog, it was so nice to be reminded of my wonderful time in southern Africa.
I do hope you will return some day - just drop a comment, but I'll check your blog once in a while anyway (sad you took Nature's WOW completely down).

All the very best for your projects!

And that nice park in Namibia is indeed called Mahango, just south of Popa Falls on the border with Botswana. Nice area, and you can then visit one of the Shakawe fishing camps to do boat trips on the Okavango.

Cheers, hope to see you again - here or in SA!