Four secretive nightlife sightings at our Renosterveld Reserve

Four secretive nightlife sightings at our Renosterveld Reserve

As the evening sets in at the Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve, the secretive nightlife emerges. These critters and ‘prehistoric’ creatures would not thrive, were it not for the natural renosterveld habitat.


What can you expect to see on a night stroll with Reserve Manager Jannie Groenewald? Here are 4 of our favourite sightings.


Cape River Frog

(Amietia fuscigula)

This frog is not threatened (it occurs in the Western and Eastern Cape) – but it is quite shy, given that it spends its life avoiding predators such as herons.

Its favourite habitat includes fynbos, renosterveld, grassland and savanna – as long as it is close to sufficient fresh water for breeding purposes. And while they’re a joy to see, they’re also active conversationalists – and can be heard calling from reeds at night.


Little Karoo Dwarf Chameleon

(Bradypodion guttural)

The Dwarf Chameleon can grow to 15cm. And while it occurs throughout the Western Cape, it is really well adapted to drier fynbos and renosterveld.

But don’t think you’ll spot these creatures easily – you may need Jannie’s expert eye to see through its effective grey and green patterned camouflage.


Lappet Moth

Lasiocompidae family

This family of moths has more than 2000 species – and there are likely more that have yet to be identified.

But their most notable feature is their hairy sides when still caterpillars.  They feed on some of the tasty renosterveld shrubs, using these to camouflage their cocoons.


The Pepper-Tree Caterpillar

Bombycomorpha bifascia

This is another moth in the Lasiocampidae family, occurring in Southern Africa – with two clear yellow lines running down their sides (giving it a slight yellow glow when you see it at night).

The larvae can be quite vicious – if there is a food shortage, they can become cannibalistic. They’re fully grown in 2 months, and then search for a place to pupate.  Two weeks later, a moth emerges.


Remember: when you spend two nights at our Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve between May and June 2018, you get a third night ON US.

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