Yesterday, Luke and I conquered tick bite fever and to celebrate, we ventured to Alicedale in search of the elusive berg adder, a species of dwarf adder which has not been seen in the region for over 75 years. To give context to the story, we had been in Alicedale one week prior and whilst we did not find the fabled berg adder, we did manage to find pepper ticks, lots and lots of pepper ticks. It’s safe to say the ticks did not come in peace for a few days later we were bed bound as a result of their dreaded bite. The second trip to Alicedale thus felt like redemption. It was bumpy, it was jerky, it was a flat tire on a dirt road.
Our plans were once again foiled by the crafty pepper ticks, who took it upon themselves to debilitate my car like they debilitated my glands. Lucky for us, the spare tire was found nestled in the boot of the already lob-sided car. We were back on our way and it is at that moment that I realised the weakness in the pepper tick’s armour… the elusive spare tire, a marvel of mechanical engineering. The pepper ticks had stood in the way of greatness for too long. It was our time to shine, it was our time to find a dwarf adder.
We got to our destination soon after, and to our delight, we were greeted by a flustered cape girdled lizard attempting an escape after it’s rock fortress was removed from above it. This find although meant to symbolise impending success, represented only a high point in a relatively uneventful afternoon.
In addition to the girdled lizard we found several eastern cape legless skinks, an unidentified lacertid lizard and two black headed centipede eaters, one of whom decided to have the webbing of Luke’s finger for lunch. Black headed centipede eaters have potent prey-specific venom that has been known to kill berg adders, but luckily for Luke, he was neither centipede nor adder and so he managed to pull through the harmless bite easily. Soon after finding the snakes, we came to the joint conclusion that we had not conquered tick bite fever. Contrary to popular belief we were not bullet proof and so we left.
Although we did not find the berg adder we so sorely desired, we did find something equally spectacular on our journey, the Bushman Sands golf course and halfway House, for what Alicedale lacked in serpents, it made up in bacon and avo tramezzinis.
Trip completed with Luke Kemp.