Through the open window

There’s a good reason for motorists to pay attention to the warning signs which dot the roadside along the Cape Peninsula’s scenic drive: Beware the baboons – keep car doors locked and car windows closed!

WPC: Windows


Roots ‘n shoots or bins ‘n boots?

A collage promoting natural foraging for baboons versus raiding refuse bins and car boots.

Creating applets in Photoshop is a creative way to collate a series of shots and it fits with this week’s photo challenge  “Collage”.

The message here is if we paid a little more attention to disposing rubbish responsibly, stopped littering in conservation areas and secured refuse bins carefully wildlife such as the Cape’s Chacma baboons would be less inclined to raid bins for leftover food.    Foraging in the wilds for roots and shoots is far healthier and natural food choice rather than the detritus left by humans.


“Stats” haven’t really been too much of a motivation for me, that is until this past week when my site unexpectedly started ‘pinging’.    Topics relating to the Cape Storm got great press pushing up the visitor numbers to an all time high.   Then came a further boost with a shout out from Ben Huberman on Discover: Editor’s picks.

I feel quite overwhelmed by the response and would like to post a hearty welcome to all the new followers.

Baby baboon hi

To Ben and the WordPress team,  i send a big thank you and a gift of virtual flowers – protea repens.  The birds love them for their rich sugary nectar and are also known as the sugarbush protea.

Sugar bush protea


Cape Storm

This week, the worst storm in thirty years hit Cape Town and the Western Province wreaking havoc on the peninsula and inland.  How crazy to go from drought conditions to flooding; with snow on the inland mountains and fires down the coast in the Knysna area.  Galeforce winds gusting up to 100km/hour, uprooted trees, damaged roofs and houses.  The shack dwellers in the informal settlements were hardest hit and nine deaths have been reported.

During a lull between advancing squall lines and the torrential rain we managed to get out to check the surrounding area and to the Good Hope Nature reserve to see how the animals were faring.   The wind gusts were ferocious and most animals were hunkered down or had found shelter out of the wind.   A most unusual scene was a Cape Mountain zebra galloping along a beach to get to the lee of the land.

Opportunistic baboons were out foraging mostly taking advantage of the moist soil to dig for corms/bulbs while the Plateau Road troop appeared to be finding grubs in an area where there were old wood piles.

The wild sea conditions were truly a sight to behold, the breaking waves on the Atlantic side came thundering through with such powerful thrust that huge banks of sea foam built up way above the tide line.  We’ve been warned that not much rain fell in the catchment areas and the dam levels remain critically low.

For other gallery pics, check out the EWN site  –

Baboon car raids – who is to blame?

The popular Cape Town cycle tour is to be held on Sunday (12 March) and as the participants and visitors arrive in preparation for the event the peninsula is abuzz.   35,000 cyclists are registered to take part.   The lead up on the roads with the mix of cyclists, motorists, heavy vehicles, tour buses and wildlife sometimes result in dangerous situations.   The stretch of road between Millers Point and to the top of the Smitswinkel rise has been particularly challenging especially with it’s blind rises and sharp bends.  A couple of days ago, dodging cyclists and tour buses we came across this scene where a troop of baboons scattered across a section of road and motorists had pulled off to get a close-up viewing.   Generally this troop’s movements are curtailed by appointed rangers, but this day they had given them the slip.   What followed was inevitable,  car windows were open and baboons being opportunistic went to investigate.   A female baboon made off with a backpack, which fortunately she surrendered when chased.  Luckier still is that the adult male baboon following behind did not challenge the man as he retrieved the bag.  It’s doubly disappointing that careless motorists aren’t penalised or fined as this particular troop is being “conditioned” through the use of noise / pain deterence to prevent raiding behaviour.   If motorists abided by the conservation laws and kept their car windows up and doors locked the baboons would have a better chance of not becoming raiders.