African Reptiles, African Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments 8

Southern Tree Agama – Chasing Dragons

Southern Tree Agama Mpila Hluhluwe-Imfolozi

The past week showed some rather erratic spring weather – glorious sunny days with temperatures in the high thirties immediately followed by unusually cool days. Especially the cloudy ones didn’t help me much in the search of my next wildlife-fix: the Ornate Dragon (Ctenophorus ornatus). This colourful lizard lives in and around the numerous granite outcrops near our tree hut, and with their extremely flattened body it shelters in ridiculously narrow crevices. On about every sunny day I expect them to be out there basking on some boulder, but for almost one year now I have been looking in vain.

Southern Tree Agama Mpila Hluhluwe-Imfolozi

It’s frustrating although I know that patience and perseverance are the key words here. However, sometimes nature provides us with wildlife effortlessly – just by being at the right place at the right time we are able to witness the most memorable spectacles. This made me think of an encounter with a Southern Tree Agama (Acanthocercus atricollis). This arboreal African dragon was sitting unhurriedly in a tree right next to our bungalow in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi’s Mpila camp – ready to have its beautiful cobalt coloured head captured in a photograph. Only after a short while it apparently perceived my presence as a threat as it started to keep the trunk between us. Very clever and nothing like the hide and seek of its Australian cousin!


  1. Nah, just a photo Dries, just as with the verkleurmannetjie; no ambitions to start a zoo. Can you reassure you didn’t take any Dragons away from here? – there seem to be none left ! 😉

  2. Pingback: Southern Brown Bandicoot – Quenda | i AM Safari

  3. Pingback: Gilbert’s Dragon | i AM Safari

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