A large lizard with a flattened head and body. In adults, the back is dark brown to black with each head shield and dorsal scale spotted yellow, giving a speckled appearance; a pair of broad dorsal stripes is sometimes present. The throat is dirty white, and the belly is light brown.
Juveniles are black, with a distinct series of yellow spots on the back and bars on the flanks.
In breeding season, the chin, throat and sides of the head of the males become tinged with pink-pirple
Arid and mesic savanna.
Rock-living, these lizards prefer the upper slopes of large granite koppies.