This is Nephila komaci, the largest known web spinning spider in the world and one of the reasons why I came to South Africa. Discovered in a museum collection in Pretoria in 2000, it was found in the wild in 2007 and only described in 2009. It is the first Nephila species to be discovered since 1879. Nephila komaci is only known to occur in the Tembe Elephant Park region (where it was first discovered in the wild), Madagascar, and recently discovered populations in Gorongosa National Park and Ndumo Game Reserve. From my experience, they were reasonably common in Tembe Elephant Park during the summer months, appearing slightly later than the other Nephila species in the region. They were largely found on the fringes of the sand forest, although many specimens were found a fair distance from the sand forest vegetation type on the edges of disturbed vegetation (helicopter landing site and around houses), and both closed and open woodlands in Tembe. Tembe also has Nephila inaurata (Red-Legged Nephila) and Nephila senegalensis (Banded-Legged Nephila). In Tembe, the Red-Legged Nephila are often in similar areas as the N. komaci, but the Banded-Legged Nephila are more in the grassland areas of the reserve and found in an orange form and a yellow form. I personally never found Nephila fenestrata (Black-legged Nephila) in Tembe although it is likely to be there. And just for the record, as scary as they might look to some people, these are extremely gentle spiders and totally harmless, unless of course you are a fly.