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Four Drives – A Picture Record 

I drove Thanda Safari guests for the last three days. We had some great sightings and I thought I would share the most exciting sightings with you. So here they are …

It is amazing how many great sightings one can have in only four drives if the weather is right and luck is on your side!


Bloody – The Thanda Safari North Pride Lions were feeding on a Wildebeest kill!


Charge – A Black Rhino bull gave us an exciting mock charge – we had two more Black Rhino sightings!


Morning Light – Two Giraffes were posing for us in the perfect morning light.


A ‘Small Five’ – We found a large female Leopard Tortoise. She was moving into high grass to hide.


Zebras, Zebras and more Zebras – On all four game drives we saw large numbers of general game. Especially the large herds of Zebras impressed the overseas guests.


Growing fast – Thanda Safari’s youngest Elephant is growing fast – I last saw the little one a few weeks ago and he has grown visibly since then.


Naughty – Vervet Monkeys provide great sighting, as long as they are far away from our Villa, our Lodge and our Tented Camp.


A Favorite – One of the favorite sightings over the last two days were Warthogs.


Night time – On the way back to Thanda’s Villa iZulu we had to stop as this young Python was crossing the road. I got out of the game viewer and shot some close-ups.


Relaxed – These White Rhinos were far more relaxed than their ‘black cousins’


Evening Drinks – A herd of Cape Buffalo arrived at a waterhole when we got news about White Rhinos nearby – tough choice!


Many Birds – This European Roller was one of many bird sightings – from small (Blue Waxbill) to large (Common Buzzard) 

… and many more sightings!

My Photography Game Viewer Project

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Since I started my job in South Africa as field guide, wildlife photographer and photography teacher I always envisioned my own – photography oriented – game viewing vehicle.

This weekend I bought a used Land Rover Defender 130 (TD5) from a friend in Durban. He – being an engineer and very handy with that sort of thing – is now working on the conversion of the vehicle into my very own photography game viewer. It will take a bit of time to change the Landi to have all the features I want and I am looking forward to start using it in January or February next year.

The vehicle will lose its roof and all the windows except the windscreen, which will be hinged to be able to lower it when driving on the reserve. It will feature two seat rows behind the driver’s (first) row for a maximum of five passengers. The second row will have three comfortable and slightly raised seats. But the really special feature is going to be the third row. It will have only two high-backed seats with lots of room in front of them. In this space photographers can slide off their seats and take pictures over the sides of the vehicle (close to eye level). It will feature special canvas-covered mats on the vehicle floor for comfortable shooting positions and custom made bean-bags will be provided for the ideal camera placement.

There will be spotlight sockets in all rows as well as on the specially fitted tracker seat up-front. Behind the third row a storage compartment will have room for all necessary game drive gear. Each of the two photographer’s seats in the back will also have a turn-able and height-adjustable bean bag support. An Apple iPad will be available in each row (with many special applications available to the guests including Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, eGuide to African Mammals, a TrackID application and a map of Thanda).

I am looking forward to using the Landi for my own photography work, for teaching wildlife photography and to drive photography enthusiasts and professional photographers on Thanda Safari.

PS: I am searching for a snappy name for my new photography Landi. Please let me know if you have a good idea!

INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY 2016

Today is International Cheetah Day – This is one of Thanda Safari’s Cheetah boys – They are two of my favorite cat models🙂

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Cheetahs once ranged almost across the entire African continent and into Asia. Today, they are found in only 23% of their historic African range and are extinct in Asia except for a small population in Iran. The problems for this endangered species are habit loss, habitat fragmentation, conflict with other predators, Human-wildlife conflicts, illegal wildlife trade and their rather problematic genetics. Thanda Safari has a few of these magnificent creatures and is active in conserving their future.

Read more about International Cheetah Day at http://internationalcheetahday.com/

If you want to support Thanda Safari’s Cheetah conservation efforts directly please contact us at research@thanda.co.za.

#SaveTheCheetah #IntlCheetahDay

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Girl!

Well the correct answer is that adult female Elephants have more angular foreheads than adult males. The young female in my last post shows this feature unusually clear for her age🙂 – see https://sperka.info/2016/12/02/boy-or-girl/

Today’s picture shows an young adult male and a female. Observe the difference!

Have a good start into the new week!

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Just over the fence …

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What do you see when you look out your window past your garden fence?

Well, for me most of the time it is the beautiful scenery, a nearby waterhole and often general game, like Giraffes, Zebras, Wildebeest …

But sometimes I see a cat strolling by …

This week it was a Lioness on her way to get a drink at the waterhole. I jumped into my car, drove around to the waterhole and got a few shots of her having a drink🙂

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A Cheetah Kill!

Only two times in 16 years …

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To see Cheetahs feeding on a kill is an infrequent sighting, as these large cats usually eat quickly and then leave the remains of their prey to other bush creatures. But seeing them killing an animal right in front of you is very rare, indeed.

Yesterday morning was the second time I ever observed these fast cats taking down an antelope.

Thanda’s Cheetah brothers chased an Nyala bull and killed him right in front of our vehicle. Unfortunately I was driving at the time, following them over a hill crest, so I got no pictures of the actual kill, but I got a few picture before and after the take-down.

The Thanda Safari guests on this evening game drive were very excited about this very special sighting!

Pictures and text by Christian Sperka – Resident Wildlife Photographer – Thanda Safari

20161122-cs0_1746-e-00 The chase and the kill!

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EYES!

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It has been years since I have created my EYES series of carnivore portraits. I love the strong expressions, especially in the feline eyes, when the color is removed from the rest of the images.

I am currently working on a new selection and this is one of my favorites so far.

Enjoy this Lion King, King of Lions!

Green, green , green …

Green everywhere! I had almost forgotten how beautiful Thanda looks when it turns green after some decent rain falls. Since the start of this rainy season we had over 150 mm rain and in just a few days the reserve has turned from brown&grey to green.

Even the behavior of many animals has changed almost over night. Where during the drought they had to spent most of their day to find food and water, they now have extra time to chase one another and be just idle once in a while.

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