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Less generously endowed with freshwater fish (112 named species, 1.3% of the world total), South Africa nevertheless has one river-dweller that is, like the Big Five, a symbol of Africa – a reptile, not a fish. The crocodile still rules some stretches of river and estuary, lakes and pools, and still exacts an occasional toll in human life.

Other aquatic reptiles of note are the sea-roaming loggerhead and leatherback turtles, the focus of a major community conservation effort at their nesting grounds on the northern KZN shoreline. Image

Those on land include rare tortoises and the fascinating chameleon. There are well over 100 species of snake, approximately half of them – including the python – non-venomous and others, such as the puff adder, green and black mamba, boomslang and rinkhals, decidedly so.

As with the comparative paucity of freshwater fish, the dryness of South Africa keeps its amphibian variety fairly low at 84 species. To make up for that there are 77 500 species of invertebrates.