For the identification of insects and other fauna and flora of South Africa.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Art of disguise - Part 4

Many times it is a slight movement which gives away their position and as you can see, this dragonfly is barely noticable on this rock.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Get over it!

In my life I have many times heard people say “get over it” and ‘get on with your life”, but what does it mean and how do you do it? Yes, in many ways I guess it depends on the circumstances and the subject they are talking about. If it is about something serious like the loss of someone or a bad illness, is it POSSIBLE to “get over it”?
I think in many ways it is a case of mind over matter and our upbringing. For example: Many years ago I had to go for a small operation which was done early on a Friday morning. By lunch time I was rearing to go and get out of there although the doctors wanted me to stay overnight “for observation”. In the same ward as me, there was a woman who had the same thing done the previous Monday and was still going around in a wheelchair bemoaning the fact that she was so “ill”. Now I wonder what the difference was between the two of us besides the fact she was also about 10 years younger than me? Was it a case of mind over matter and getting on with life?
If you loose someone very dear to you it is not easy to get on with your life. The thoughts and memories live with you daily and yet you are expected to smile and get over it. Does the hurt and pain of this ever stop? Is there a specific period? Can you say “Okay, by next Tuesday it will stop and I will be over it”.
As a watcher of Dr Phil, I often hear him use these two phrases and in most cases, I have to agree with him. For example: Someone’s father gave him/her a spanking 40 years ago and they are still holding a grudge against him for it. How ridiculous to spend 40 years of your life in misery brooding over something like that!! GET OVER IT!!
So where in all of this is the rule to tell us under what circumstances and in what period of time we must “get over it” and “get on with your life”? Sometimes I sit and wonder about life and where it takes us. Which rules do we obey, which do we ignore. How can we tell our heart and mind which road to follow?
Is there a simple way to forget things so we can get over it and move on with our lives? What do you think?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bourke's Luck Potholes

This remarkable phenomena is situated at the confluence of the Treur (sad) and Blyde (happy) Rivers and the story behind the names are as follows:
During the early part of South African history, a group of pioneers were camped on the banks of a river and the men went off to hunt. They did not return for more than a month and the women came to the conclusion that they had either been killed or got lost and decided to pack up and leave their camp and move on.
They named the river Truer River (river of sadness as they had lost their menfolk). A couple of days later they were camped on yet another river and their men eventually caught up with them so they named it the Blyde River (river of happiness).

Bourke’s Luck Potholes was named after a gold prospector who never found any in the region but maintained that there WAS gold in the area. It turned out to be true and was once a thriving business for miners. Some say that there is still some gold to be found there.

Where the rivers meet, water erosion has formed one of the most remarkable natural geological formations of potholes.

Over thousands of years, surreal cylindrical rock sculptures created by whirling water, when the once rapid river carried masses of sand and debris, have formed a series of dark pools which contrast artfully with the streaked white and yellow lichen covered rocks.

Definition: Pothole (or kettle-hole) is also a term for a formation in rivers caused by a whirlpool eroding a hole into rock. The abrasion is mainly caused by the circular motion of small sediments such as small stones in the river. The interiors of potholes tend to be smooth and regular.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sudwala Caves

How wonderful it was to meet with Gaelyn and go on tour with her. She was the ideal traveling companion and turned out to be everything as interesting as her blog Geogypsy. This was our second stop as she wanted to visit the Cradle of Humankind first. As I have already done a post on it, I did not take more photographs.

Looming above the beautifully wooded valley of the bustling mountain torrent known as the "Houtbosloop", there is a majestic massif known as Mankelexele (Crag on crag / Rock upon rock) In the great massif dolomite rock there is one of the most astonishing caves in Southern Africa, an as yet unplumbed complex of passages and giant chambers extending into the mysterious heart of the mountain.
The Sudwala Caves are the oldest known caves in the world, and as such, are a `must-see' on the itinerary of any visitor to Mpumalanga. These incredible caverns lie in the Drakensberg escarpment which separates the Highveld from the lowlands of Mpumalanga.
The caves are situated in Pre-cumbrian dolomite rocks of the Malmani Group, formed over a period of some 3000 million years, capturing in stone a time when the area was covered by warm shallow in-land seas. These are amongst the second oldest known sedimentary rocks on the earth, and represented in the cave are fossils of the first oxygen producing plants on the earth, Collenia.
One can clearly see in the different layers and textures in the rock a reflection of the result of the different weather patterns taking place in the building of an ancient seabed. Besides the awesome rock displays the caverns also boast an array of calcium formations, aged but active, anciently and patiently still growing.
In past ages these caves were formed when gigantic stresses cracked the dolomite. Rainwater percolated into the cracks, carrying carbon-dioxide and dissolving away the limestone in the rock, forming in the process a subterranean dreamland of vast caverns and passageways decorated with stalactites and stalagmites in all manner of weird fanciful shapes.
It is as though nature, in the privacy of these dark vaults has directed some leisure moments in eternity and created a gallery of fantastic shapes and forms, and exhibits them to mankind with a sly smile. The dolomite is a carbonate sedimentary rock consisting mainly of the mineral dolomite CCa Mg(CO3)2.
The caves were used as shelter by Pre-historic man in the form of "Homo-Habilis" / "Handyman." approximately 1.8 million years ago. Habilis has smaller cheek teeth, larger front teeth, a relatively large brain and skeleton more like that of modern humans.
They mainly used the cave entrance as shelter during bad weather. Excavations are still in progress and have thus far yielded a fine collection of stone-age tools which are on display at the cave entrance.
Early in the development of the Sudwala Caves as a South African tourist attraction, it was discovered that the "P.R.Owen hall" had natural air-conditioning and it was also suggested that this, plus its other attributes, would make it splendidly suitable for opera and other drama.
In July 1970 the famous Russian singer, Ivan Rebroff, tested the suitability of the big hall for concert purposes. His remarkable voice, with a range of four octaves, resounded gloriously through the caverns in a series of songs. Afterwards he gave his considered opinion that the acoustics were at least equal, if not positively superior to those of any concert hall or opera house in Europe.
In the Pre-cambrian, all the early animals were soft bodied and thus did not fossilize well at all. However there are primitive plant fossils called "collenia" to be viewed in the Sudwala caves. They were a type of blue-green algae that used to float on the ocean.
They were tubular shaped and approximately 2 m in length. It was one of the first oxygen producing plants that produced oxygen safe enough for us to breath.
It dates back 2000 million years when these plants were formed.
It got compacted in the rock, because at high tide sand and silt would get washed over it and get caught up in it, another layer would grow and the same process would occur.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mushrooms - Part 5

This was hidden in the grass and I almost missed it but it is the size of a dinner plate and one of the biggest I have ever seen.

These are almost silver in color and very pretty.
These on the otherhand were so small they were growning between the paving brick.
An unusual shape.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cars in the Park - Part 9

On one side of the show they had a truck with this motorbike on it and the men were asked to see if they could get it onto the back wheel. This professional was showing everyone how it is done. The bike is attached with ropes so that it does not go altogether backwards. If you scroll fasr through these pictures, you can see it life.