On this Friday evening I feel like showing you some images taken this week. I will begin with two warthogs that stopped to look carefully before they crossed a country road ahead of me.

I was struck by this tiny bright yellow spider hiding among some rather dry poppy leaves in our back garden.

While I was watching birds in the front garden, this little bug dropped down from the branch above me and walked about my notebook.

I have commented on the swathes of yellow flowers gracing the veld at the moment. I came across this clump growing in a crack along the verge in my street.

Looking up, I cannot help admiring the jacaranda tree that has come into bloom.

Looking down, here is part of a snake that was lying in the road. Unfortunately it had been run over by a vehicle – which is how I could approach it so closely with my cell phone!



We are so used to seeing elephants browsing, drinking, walking, or simply standing, that it is interesting to watch them move when in a hurry. These ones had already spent time at a waterhole, had gone through the greeting rituals with new arrivals, and were now doubtless off to find a suitable place for a meal.

I don’t know what had caused these kudu to run. Whenever animals hare off like this, we naturally scan the veld in all directions in case a predator might lie in wait … nothing that exciting this time.

As we watched the last of the kudu run past in a hurry, we noticed these warthog following suit. Look at the way they hold their tails whilst running.

Naturally we waited for a while … nothing happened … these animals all settled down to feed a little further on as though nothing untoward had happened.


Many people around the world might well have made their first acquaintance with a warthog when they ‘met’ the delightful animated character of Pumbaa in The Lion King – what a lovable character he was! Warthogs are delightful to see in the wild:

This one is eating. These ones are drinking at a waterhole:

The cheerfulness of their bearing – and especially their habit of holding their tails upright when they run – is captured in this delightful print by Hazel Gearing:

This stylised design graced the bonnet of a bakkie we saw in a carpark during the National Arts Festival:

At the same festival were several creatures made from wire and beads – including this warthog:


The Common Warthog (Phacochoerus africanus) varies in colour from pale grey to this rich reddish colour you see below.

Warthogs are fond of mud baths and these ones have been coloured by the mud they have wallowed in. They are real characters to see in the veld and are plucky when it comes to defending their offspring. I have watched them giving young lions a run for their money – and winning!

These strange looking creatures play an important role in the environment in terms of their impact on vegetation, their relationship with birds and the shelter their burrows provide for other creatures – to mention a few of its attributes.


Warthogs (Phacochoerus africanus) are ubiquitous in the Eastern Cape. There are sounders of them all over the Addo Elephant National Park that are ignored by many visitors who drive past them, possibly hoping to see ‘more interesting’ or ‘spectacular’ animals further on. Next time you see one close to the road, stop for a moment and watch how the warthog eats. The first thing you might notice is the typical kneeling position they take up when feeding. Callouses on their wrist pads are present from birth and cushion them while the warthogs feed. Their rather strange-looking short neck helps to provide the leverage it requires to dig up tubers or pull up grass.

It is thus worth taking note of the warthog’s rather flat face ending in a rounded snout that encloses the nostrils. This shovel like upper lip is hardened cartilage, which makes it every bit as useful for eating as is the trunk to an elephant.

The prominent warts on the face are a combination of bone and cartilage which helps to protect their faces should they get into a fight. The tusks on their upper and lower jaws are not only used to fight and defend themselves against predators, but for eating. Warthogs can use their tusks and their tough snouts to lift the soil if necessary. This warthog is shovelling the soil with its upper lip.

Eating and breathing go together. Here the warthog is blowing the pile of soil away.

There is more to the common warthog than meets the eye at first glance!