If you were to take a collection of reference books on your next trip to the bush, then you might need one of THESE to carry them all. Luckily mydigitalearth.com has come to the rescue with a series of books that can be purchased online as ebooks. That being said, if you ARE going to be using any of these apps, then remember to put your phone on silent. These e-books are faithful digital copies of the print versions, except that a couple has calls embedded, something that you cannot do in a regular book.
To quote Mary Poppins, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start”. One of the easiest places to start identifying birds would be in your very own garden. This app will enable you to identify the various species by sight as well as by sound. With the correct plants and feeding stations, you will be amazed as to how many species will visit an urban garden. So keep your phone handy when you are in your garden for quick and easy identification.
This is probably one of the most iconic of all the South African bird books. So the fact that it is one of the most popular digital bird apps is not unexpected. Many of the birds in this app have their calls recorded in order to make identification as easy as possible. For those who want high-resolution photographs as an update, they are available to purchase online.
If like me, you like frogs, then THIS is the app for you. It contains 161 species that are referenced both alphabetically as well as by Genus. There is also a very useful “Search & identification tab that will enable you to make an informed choice as to what you are looking at. The pictures and information are accompanied by the calls of the species identified in the app.
This book covers 846 tree species. Unlike wildlife of any sort that is mobile, trees remain static and are therefore easier to identify as the will not ‘run away’ while you try to figure out what it might be. You can search by group, by family or by species. There is a tab on Scientific synonyms for those who are academically inclined or for the more serious amateur dendrologist (those study of wooded plants)
This app will enable readers to understand the ‘creepy-crawlies’ that they might not get to see when out on trail walks or game drives. The app includes tabs Insect Orders, Scientific Name Index, Common Name Index and Host Plants to name but a few.
Most people will give snakes a wide birth, but given the safe opportunity, snakes are beautiful creatures that play a vital roll in the ecology of the various habitats in which they occur. The app includes all snakes found in South Africa, broken into the following tabs; Adders and Vipers. Mambas and Cobras. Back-fanged and fangless species. There is even a tab on Blind and Worm snakes.
Most South Africans will know the Brown veined White species that ‘migrate’ across part of South Africa on an annual basis. This app includes both a Family as well as an English Taxonomy Index. For those who only get a flash of colour, the app will enable you to identify via colour and patterns.
This field guide is an absolute must if you want to make certain that the information being shared while on safari is correct. Aside from the usual identification methods like taxonomy and families, there is also a tab on Tracks & droppings!
If like me, the call of the LBJ can be one of the hardest to identify, then THIS is the app for you. The names can be accessed in either English or Afrikaans.
Available for both Android and Apple, the apps are very reasonably priced,(around ZAR300.00) given the cost of the printed editions and are definitely recommended for the serious as well as amateur safari enthusiast. For international visitors to South Africa, they are ideal to brush up on your knowledge before arriving, and all of them have sections in which you can log your sightings.