Archive for ‘June, 2012’

Unexpected!

I thought I would have nothing to post today, but I was wrong.

When I left this morning at 6:45am to drive to Richards Bay I met a very unexpected scene. A Spotted Hyena was chasing a small Black-backed Jackal into a thicket next to the road. By the time I had my camera out they were gone 😦

I see this little scavenger regularly along the fence line, which I have to drive along to get from Thanda House to the gate of the reserve. The picture above is from one of these encounters.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Bird Bath

This afternoon I was sitting next to a waterhole when this Fork-tailed Drongo was taking a bath.

Have a good weekend!

PS: There will be no post tomorrow as I have to go into town for shopping 🙂

The King’s Land

This evening we went up to a outlook on the newest Thanda section. This land is owned by the King of the Zulus, HM Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, and is now managed by Thanda. It is planned to drop the fences between the original Thanda reserve and this new land soon.  Today, the photography volunteers did their sunset shooting assignment from this beautiful viewpoint.

Quite a few people have asked me about the volunteer program and the lodge.

African Impact runs various volunteer programs on the reserve. I am currently working as Thanda guide for the photography program. If you would like to know more about these programs go to http://www.africanimpact.com/volunteer-projects/projects/african-wildlife-photography-and-conservation-south-africa/overview .

If you like to know more about the Thanda Lodge and the Thanda Tented Camp go to http://www.thanda.com/. I am also teaching wildlife photography to guests at the lodge and the tented camp upon request.

Lion Chase!

Today we had a very interesting Lion sighting. The picture above suggests that this beautiful male Lion was chasing one of our Land Rovers.

He was not!

He was following three other male Lions on a neighbouring reserve up and down the fence. A lot of growling and snarling made for a very impressive “show” for our photography volunteers.

Enjoy the pictures!

Giraffe and Cheetah

Day 2 of driving the photography volunteers was great!

In this picture five of the volunteers are taking pictures of a Giraffe bull (we were in a Buffalo sighting at the time :-). My colleague Simo is driving the Land Rover in the picture. The other five volunteers were in my car.

In the afternoon I took a picture of a male Cheetah. He was resting with his brother in the shade of a tree on the savanna.

Enjoy the pictures!

 

 

With a little bit of luck :-)

I had a successful and enjoyable first game drive with the photography volunteer program group at Thanda.

We found two White Rhinos drinking at one of the dams, enjoyed various general game and a pair of Giraffes and rounded off the day with a sunset shoot at another waterhole.

Not bad for my first official game drive on the reserve 🙂

 

First Rhinos

Today I saw my first Rhinos since I arrived at Thanda. After the Assistant Wildlife Manager, Mariana, helped me with my broken down Land Rover (I would not start again after I had stopped near one of the waterholes and we had to push start the engine) she was very kind and took me along to look for some White Rhinoceros on a remote part of the reserve.

We found a crash of four Rhino!

The leather foot band on one of the Rhinos is a satellite tracking collar to keep track of these highly endangered animals, which are once again under severe threat from poachers.

We also stopped at the largest dam of the reserve and I got a glimpse of the only Crocodile currently living on Thanda.

Enjoy the pictures!

Lion Yoga

What a day!

I drove for almost ten hours today and I had some amazing sightings (while I am still learning the roads – I am getting better – I now know where I am lost :-).

I saw the Thanda North Pride and the South Pride on the same day (A total of 12 lions!). One of the females Lionesses from the South Pride even performed some Yoga 🙂

Three cubs were watching me carefully and a young lion did not change his course at all and walked within inches/centimeters of my Land Rover.

And for the birders among you I caught some great images of a Little Bee-Eater flying and eating bees.

There were many more sightings, but unfortunately I cannot post all pictures today – I save them for future days without good pictures!

Enjoy the pictures!

Love and Bark

Today I got some images of a gorgeous sunset over Thanda. The word Thanda means love in the Zulu language. A very fitting name for a beautiful place.

And while I was driving through some over-grown areas I heard a slight impact on the seat next to me. When I looked I saw, what I first thought was, a small piece of bark of a tree. But when I looked more closely it was a small spider (approx. 2cm or 3/4″) in size. This species is called Darwin’s Bark Spider. It looks exactly like a piece of bark when it pulls its legs in. I took a small stick, let it climb onto the stick and put it back into a tree. The picture below is of a second bark spider I saw later in the day hanging in its web.

More about the Bark Spider:

Darwin’s Bark Spider (Caerostris darwini) is an orb-weaver spider. The species was named in honor of the naturalist Charles Darwin, with the description being prepared precisely 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species.

Darwin’s Bark spider occurs in Madagascar and some parts of South Africa. It is the architect of the largest web in the world. Webs are woven across entire rivers and span up to 30 square feet.

Its silk is the toughest biological material ever studied, over ten times tougher than a similarly-sized piece of Kevlar.

A Lion’s Roar

This morning I woke up to the sound a lion roaring. When I left for Richards Bay I heard him very clearly east of Thanda House.

I am not sure if it was the male that I saw yesterday afternoon while I was driving through the reserve (picture below). It might have been him 🙂

Have a good day!