Arachnophobia (or gold in my garden?)


I’m not really frightened of spiders as long as they keep their distance but I did a double take when I saw this massive web in my garden.

With the light fading I grabbed my camera and took a few pics. Then I Googled it using these key words: black spider with yellow belly. Google kindly rendered photos of snakes, and one of Jacob Zuma. I’m not lying.

So I turned to a Facebook group called Spiders of South Africa and there it was.  My new garden tenant is the Golden Orb Spider. I’ve heard about them and am feeling a bit privileged. They are not dangerous, I believe. They’re indigenous to South Africa and have migrated to this part of the country from the Eastern Cape in very recent years. (In my book it makes it a close relative of the hadeda who also migrated here from other parts – between animals and yuppies from Jozi, we’re becoming overrun as everybody wants to come here).

Initially I thought the yellow web was a result of being connected to the lemon tree but all their webs are yellow, hence the name. And what a magnificent web – it stretches across several metres, touching on many surrounding plants and lemons and it’s multi-layered. A very impressive construction, and I guess it’s only fitting as there are lots of babies.




extent 2222

I could only take a photo from the side because of the light but this is only part of the web, the main part with all the babies and some food. Now I understand why there are no flies around, despite the heat.


other view

Look at all the eggs!!


I think the babies were being hatched today.


Not a great shot but it’s the best I have to show the yellow belly.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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