29 May 2011 by Kate Turkington

A safari like no other

I did it! I’ve been meaning to do it for ages, but I seized the opportunity, put on my gumboots and mosquito repellant and went frogging.

The place? Amakhosi Lodge in the heart of KwaZulu Natal. The mission? To find, catch and identify as many of the hoppers and croakers as possible.

Vincent “Kermit” Carruthers, South Africa’s Frog Man, and Alwyn Wentzel, chief guide and local frog fundi at Amakhosi, led our small band of intrepid journalists as we took on swamp tha-ang identities and in the dead of the night, went sploshing, wading and paddling through forest pools, small dams and river edges. Nobody mentioned the word crocodile.

Armed with headlamps and plastic bags in which to imprison the frogs momentarily for ID and photos, and with a lion or two calling softly in the distance, we ventured forth.

All went fairly well with Snoring Puddle frogs, Bronze cacos and Bubbling cassinas (yes, I’m showing off now) until one of the more adventurous little critturs jumped on to the bare neck of James Clarke, witty newspaper columnist and arch environmentalist.

No self-respecting hyena would have been ashamed of the howls.

So try it for yourself. And warning… never kiss a Banded Rubber frog.  It sweats a venomous neurotoxin which will put you out and under forever.

By the way, Amakhosi, a five-star lodge of on the banks of the Mkuze river, has more frog species than the whole of Europe. 

Gumboots come free.


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