Incredible South African Bush Experiences

In the last few month I had organized some very special safari experiences for overseas guests. I really enjoy arranging and hosting these customized trips with Thanda Safari (my work place and home in South Africa) as the center piece of each program.

It started in September 2017 with a seven day photo safari. A lady from Switzerland wanted to learn wildlife photography properly and we had customized lessons every day using the Green Mamba 1 (my luxury photography vehicle) for the bush sessions. Bheki and I enjoyed this immensely and I am proud to say that my student wants to come back to Thanda Safari this year for additional advanced lessons.

Then followed a nine day program at Pakamisa and Thanda for a couple from Nashville. This was their first safari and they had a fabulous time on both reserves experiencing the African bush and learning about my way of doing wildlife photography. What a pleasure it was to host two people with such passion for wildlife.

In November I was the guide and photographer for a very special group (6 guests) from the USA. I had organized a 12 day trip to Ngala, Sabi Sabi, Pakamisa, Phinda and Thanda. The whole group was amazed about the variation in accommodation and surroundings and this extraordinary way to experience the African Wild.

And over New Year I was hosting a couple from Switzerland experiencing Thanda, Pakamisa and St.Lucia/iSimangaliso at the Serene Estate Boutique Guest House. It was their first safari trip  to some of the most stunning locations KwaZulu Natal has to offer. And I was having a good time taking all the pictures to document their stay.

This is a ‘two-pictures-a-day’ record of the last one of these trips. I  will also post pictures from all the other programs in the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy the images and the stories. In case anyone is interested in one of my customized programs please send an email to info@sperka.com.


30 December 2017 – 10 January 2018

The first game drive from Thanda Safari Lodge.
An encounter with White Rhino.
Zebras at sunrise in exquisite morning light.
Hard tracking work to find a male Cheetah.
An incredible sunrise on New Year’s morning with the Lebombo Mountains as backdrop.
Observing this little one having a good scratch.
Having a photo session with Thanda Safari’s dominant male Lion.
Arriving at Pakamisa Private Game Reserve for horseback safaris, bush walking, clay pigeon shooting, superb food and relaxation.
Climbing the mountain behind the lodge for an exciting walk ending with drinks at sun down.
An day excursion to Ithala Game Reserve for fabulous scenery.
With some very special species – like this Secretary bird or …
… this Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.
Back at Pakamisa for the first horseback safari.
Exciting close encounters.
Off to St.Lucia to stay at the very unique Serene Estate Boutique Guest House.
Experiencing the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – first the west side with Waterbuck,
… Buffalo. and many other species.
And then the eastern shore with a bull Elephant as the highlight of the morning.
A stop at the beautiful beach at Cape Vidal for a first dip into the Indian Ocean.
With a few Monkeys to observe the picnic lunch near the beach.
Two (morning and an evening) Hippo and Croc tours on the estuary with Hippos, Crocodiles and …
… many bird species. These are mating Broad-billed Weavers.
A midday walk where the estuary meets the ocean with its formidable waves.
An incredible night safari with Chameleons, Porcupine, Hyena and grazing Hippos.
And a Monkey to send us on our way to Durban Airport on the last morning.

http://www.thanda.com

http://www.pakamisa.com

http://www.serene-estate.co.za

http://www.sperka.info

Lake St.Lucia boat tours and iSimangaliso night safari by http://www.shakabarker.co.za

In case you are interested here is the detailed agenda:

Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 1  (Arrival) – 30 Dec
– Evening game drive
– Dinner at the Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 2 – 31 Dec
– Morning game drive with a special Rhino conservation activity
– Evening game drive
– New Year’s Eve dinner at Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 3 – 1 Jan
– Morning game drive
– Thanda luxury spa experience
– Evening game drive
– Dinner at the Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 4 – 2 Jan
– Morning game drive
– Drive to …
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve
– Evening bush walk
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 5 – 3 Jan
– Morning bush walk and stable visit
– Evening bush walk
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 6 – 4 Jan
– Excursion to Ithala Game Reserve
Day 7 – 5 Jan
– Morning horseback safari
– Clay pigeon shooting
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 8 – 6 Jan
– Morning horseback safari
– Drive at iSimangaliso Wetland Park (western shore) to
Serene Estate Boutique Guest House St.Lucia
– Dinner at Reef and Dune, St.Lucia (phone 035 590 1048)
ay 9 – 7 Jan
– Drive at iSimangaliso Wetland Park (eastern shore)
– Picnic lunch at Cape Vidal (Indian Ocean)
– Dinner at Ocean Basket, St.Lucia (phone 035 590 1241)
Day 10 – 8 Jan
– Morning boat cruise on Lake St.Lucia (Estuary)
– Sunset boat cruise on Lake St.Lucia (Estuary)
– Dinner at Reef and Dune St.Lucia
Day 11 – 9 Jan
– Morning to relax
– Lunch at St.Lucia Ski Boat Club (phone 035 590 1376 – 12-6:30pm only)
– Night safari in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Day 12 – 10 Jan (Departure)
– Transfer to Durban King Shaka International Airport

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year 2018

Thanda Safari’s Christmas blog post! Enjoy the pictures – Merry Christmas!

Thanda Safari

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our guests and friends around the world!

As the year 2017 comes to a close we thought we send you a ‘Thanda picture present’. Each of these twelve wildlife images was taken during a different month this year. Pick your favorite!

Thank you very much for following our blog.

Happy Holidays from the Thanda Safari Team

January – Rubbing an eye …

February – Paying attention …

March – Relaxed …

April – On the lookout …

May – Shy and rare …

June – Clean up crew …

July – Warm up in the sun …

August – Evening sun …

September – Tranquility …

October – Gone …

November – African sky …

December – Treats …

Pictures by Christian Sperka , Resident Wildlife Photographer, Thanda Safari

http://www.thanda.com #thandasafari #christiansperkaphotography

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I wish all my friends around the world a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

With my very best wishes from South Africa – Christian

PS: This is my favorite South African flower. It is from a Sickle Bush (Dichrostachys cinerea, known also Bell Mimosa, Chinese Lantern Tree or Kalahari Christmas Tree), which blooms around this time of the year. A true Christmas flower!

 

5 reserves and 30 images!

Another exciting month! It started with a 14 day tour through five game reserves (Timbavati, Sabi Sands, Pakamisa, Phinda and Thanda) and ended with another Art Project on Thanda.

I was extremely busy and my time to photograph wildlife was limited. Nevertheless I hope you will enjoy this collection.

PS: If you enjoy continuous updates about my work I recommend you follow me on Instagram where I post images almost daily! http://instagram.com/christiansperkaphotography

A little Elephant mock-charge was very exciting for my ‘first-time’ safari guests …
White Rhino cuddling …
Chatting up – Leopard style …
Ground Hornbills – a rare treat …
Protecting the kill …
On the move – African Wild Dogs …
A bit of warmth on a cold morning …
On horseback – There is no better way to experience Giraffes …
A visit to Zululand – local architecture …
A visit to Zululand – Local people …
My room at Phinda – with visitors …
With mum …
Just born …
Nest artists …
Having an eye on you …
Dwarf Mongoose – cute and shy …
Turtle and Hippo – The Oxpecker/Buffalo water team …
Vultures fighting over meat …
And Hyenas fighting, too …
Showing off …
Cute, small and fast …
Bateleur – my favorite eagle …
What a view at lunch …
Close up …
Rhino ops …
He is a beauty and he knows it …
The Lebombo Mountains …
On my way to work!
Rolling on …
… and last but not least … Elephants during light rain …

That is it. I hope you enjoyed the show!

http://www.sperka.info
http://www.sperka.biz

36 days – 36 pictures!

36 days and 36 pictures! This is a picture record of one of the busiest times I ever had since I came to South Africa.

My very popular Green Mamba 1 (Specialized Luxury Photography Vehicle) and all my other responsibilities on and off  Thanda left me very little time to blog. So here is a nice long update. And as always more pictures than words!

Enjoy your upcoming weekend!

A young bull for the first time in musth – very confused and a bit aggressive …
A rescued young Genet to be released into the wild …
The stride of the North pride …
Impressive tusks on one of Thanda’s oldest bulls …
Bronze Mannikin – a new species for my bird list …
Horses approaching – a Pakamisa Ostrich gets out of the way …
Very shy – I call them the ‘back-side-antelopes’ because that is usually the only picture I can get – Red Duiker …
They love the layer under the bark …
Close to mum …
Elephant parade on Thanda …
About to go hunting …
Close up and personal …
Colorful and cold …
Not one of the big five – but my favorite antelope – Nyala …
Hyena laughter at Thanda Safari Lodge …
Alert …
Leopard stand-in – This young Cheetah male posed on a tree – as I had not seen a Leopard for quite a while he must have thought that someone had to take over the ‘cat in a tree’ job …
A photo shoot at Pakamisa …
The sun was gone as the bulls started fighting …
The little Lioness was very scared when the young male chased her away from ‘his’ kill …
An awesome sighting – Elephants on the move …
Majestic – A Kudu bull …
Full speed along the beach – a special excursion during a Pakamisa holiday …
Little Hippo out of the water during the day – a rare sighting …
Ellies in the evening sun …
One of my favorites – Black Rhino during drizzling rain …
Get the ticks please …
Just after sunrise …
Mating Lions …
A perfect evening for a drink stop …
The Blood Lilys are out – summer is here …
One of my favorite Giraffe shots, ever …
A good hair day …
Incredible skies …
Having a drink…

That is it. I hope you enjoyed the show!

http://www.thanda.com
http://www.pakamisa.com
http://www.sperka.info
http://www.sperka.biz

A real beauty!

I love this image of a Thanda Safari Lioness which I took on Friday – a real Lion beauty …

… and sorry for not blogging for a while. I was extremely busy over the last few weeks but I promise a detailed post with many pictures soon!

Have a great week!