Prickly Pear Cactus, family Opuntia
I came across this cactus, or is it cacti, (this language called English) when in the Kalahari visiting my Son. I know the genus is Opuntia… but which particular cactus it is.?? Don’t ask me… I just found the flowers and new fruit a great photo opportunity…
Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)
A large antelope with striking black and white markings on the face and legs, black side stripes on the flanks and a long black tail. Bulls measure 1.2m at the shoulders and attain a mass of 240 Kg. Both bulls and cows have horns. The male horns are shorter and stockier than the female horns.
Gemsbok mostly feed on nutritious leaves, grasses and herbs. During the dry season they feed on flowers and will also browse for food. To supplement water requirements gemsbok dig for succulents and extensively eat tsama melons.
The behaviour of this species is geared to energy and water conservation. In the heat of the day they will lie-up in the shades of trees. Where shade is not available they will orientate themselves to present as little as possible of their body surface to the sun. Lone bulls are common and have been known to kill attacking lions by impaling them with their strong horns.
This like the cape buffalo is a tenacious animal… and have been known to attack predators that prey on their young, as demonstrated in this video clip, don’t give up on the clip, the young survives… here’s some photos of them in the Kalahari desert…
I quite like the black and white effect of the Zebra when depicted in a B & W photo… I saw a photo taken so many years ago by my Mother in Rhodesia and this gave me the encouragement to play a bit. Some of the photos I also enhanced a tad using Photscape a free photoshop type program..
A train of true significance.
When we recently visited my Son in Kathu I had the pleasure of observing a train being loaded with iron ore. 342 trucks each with 100 tons of ore, 34200 tons on its way to Saldanha Port, 861 km (538 miles) away.
Here are some interesting facts about the train…
Trains employing Radio Distributed Power (RDP) technology. These 41,400 tonnes total mass, 3780 metres (2.36 miles) long trains, that use 8 locomotives and 342 wagons, are the longest production trains in the world.
The longest and heaviest train that carried ore from Sishen mine to Saldanha Bay, was a 7,5km (4.69 mile) train of 660 wagons which carried 68 640 tonnes of ore.
Here are some interesting facts about the Port…
Significant capital has been spent to increase iron ore exports from the deep-water port to meet the growing demand. The infrastructure’s set to further expand as the port is gearing up to increase capacity on the rail line in the future. Current infrastructure at the port comprises two rotary tipplers, four stacker/ re-claimers, two ship-loaders and 25 conveying systems, providing the terminal with a capacity to load 10 000 tonnes per hour into a vessel.
- Operating 24/7, the ore quay at Saldanha has two berths where two vessels of 310 000 DWT can simultaneously berth at the iron ore jetty.
- From arrival to departure – including piloting, berthing, loading, draft survey and de-berthing; an ore vessel carrying 170 000 tonnes will be in Saldanha Bay for just 24 hours. A vessel carrying 210 000 tonnes will spend 32 hours in the port, while a vessel carrying 240 000 tonnes of ore will be there for 48 hours.
- Saldanha Bay Port is bigger than Durban, Cape Town’s Table Bay, Richards Bay and Port Elizabeth’s harbours combined.
- Saldanha Port Operations submits an annual Environmental Report in line with the Global Reporting Initiative. It respects that it’s located in an ecologically sensitive area, and takes all measures possible to manage the area responsibly.
- In 2011, 37 100 000 tons of iron ore was exported by Kumba from Saldanha Bay to customers in countries and regions around the world. (approx. 1000 train loads of ore)And the few photos that I managed to capture… it is difficult to photograph a train of this length… but suffice it to say, it is long…
and this is what they are loading… although it would be crushed to a smaller size than this piece of approx. 2.5 tons…
The Red-billed Buffalo Weaver (Bubalornis niger).
Now this is an interesting bird, found mainly in the more arid areas, it builds communal nests made of thorn type sticks.
Its easily identified by its plumage. The black (male) or brownish black (female) and red-orange bill, with white wing patches.
Its nests are conspicuous, untidy masses in trees, these I captured on the golf course in Kathu, the Sishen Golf course. I will be posting on this golf course some time on my other blog, a lovely course with plenty of small animals and bird life on it.
The nests are often raided by snakes and the birds try to camouflage the nest entrances…