The most difficult part of any journey is deciding on which route  is the best/safest or most economical way to go.

The route.

It’s not the first time, the Wild Coast has attracted my attention over the last few years due to the unique landscapes from green rolling hills, steep cliff faces and virtually unspoilt uninhabited beaches.

Typical sea cliffs and local goat tracks.

Being fortunate enough to spend many days at  Umngazi River Bungalows  on all my trips down in the Mngazi region it’s incredible and well worth a visit.

Umngazi Promo

When you have the chance to combine pristine wildlife habitat with luxurious comfort it’s not something many would pass up.  But before getting stuck into some field work and photographing the local herpetological fauna, sometimes you’ve just got to relax a little.

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The quest begins:

Some spectacular views on the Sugar Load trail:

There is a plethora of wildlife along the Transkei coast, many areas are still relatively under-surveyed and surely hold some range extensions of cryptic species.

With some light rain in the evenings, the amphibian activity was phenomenal. Shortly after a three-course dinner which never fails to impress I left the main gate Umngazi and continued on the short semi-decent road from the resort going only 300m before coming across my first lot of serious amphibian activity.

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Afrixalus spinifrons – Natal Leaf Folding Frog.

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Another Afrixalus spinifrons – Natal Leaf Folding Frog.

An almost deafening chorus of these small reed frogs.

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Hyperolius marmoratus verrucosus – Painted Reed Frog.

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Hyperolius marmoratus verrucosus – Painted Reed Frog.

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Lycodonomorphus rufulus – Brown Water Snake feeding on an unfortunate Painted Reed Frog.

Whilst knee deep in these small ponds, I found  multitudes of these shooting amongst the reeds.

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Pelomedusa galeata – Marsh terrapin.

One of the many road side pools, serve as watering holes for the non-native locals.
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These Puddle frogs are incredibly variable and adaptable these were all found in small depressions in the mud where some cows had been feeding.

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Phrynobatrachus natalensis – Snoring Puddle Frog

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One of the most common reptile species at Umngazi.

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Lygodactylus capensis – Cape Dwarf Gecko

After a few evenings out photographing Amphibians, I put some serious effort into photographing and finding a number of these endemic dwarf chameleons of the Transkei coast

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon.

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

Bradypodion caffer - Transkei Dwarf Chameleon.

Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

The animals colours are striking during the day, although finding them is far more challenging.

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

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Bradypodion caffer – Pondo Dwarf Chameleon

Male and Female together, showing great sexual dimorphism between the sexes.

Thanks Umngazi for another fantastic stay looking forward to get back down there and enjoy the Transkei.

by Tyrone Ping

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