South Africa Travel Diary -
p 4 |
29 August 2006
It's still winter in the Kalahari. Most days warm up into the 70°s F., but nights can dip down to just above freezing. This morning we enjoyed watching a pair of charming Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters, who perch on low limbs and fly out to nab insects in the air, flycatcher-style. Bee-eaters are found throughout tropical Africa and Asia, and they don't seem to like cold weather. With the temperature only about 40° F., these two fluffed out their feathers and then snuggled together to keep warm.
We'd just about given up hope, but this afternoon finally came across a small
group of about 10 meerkats in the Auob riverbed. Oblivious to our parked car, they
dug in the sand at a furious pace, looking for buried larvae or maybe a nice scorpion.
According to the TV show Meerkat Manor, this late dry season is a difficult time
for meerkats, so they must work hard to find a meal.
31 August 2006
Not surprisingly, composites such as the gorgeous Gazania
rigida are everywhere. But it is bulbous plants such as the irises (Iridaceae)
that have run amok here and evolved into literally thousands of species. And of
course succulents, mostly in the family Aizoaceae, hardly known in temperate zones, are
abundant as well.