Christmas and New Year in South Africa

Quite a few people have asked me how I spend my Christmas and New Year at Thanda. The answer is simple: Working…

This is one of the busiest times of the year at a game reserve as many guests want to spend a special “Wildlife” Christmas or New Year.

But  – as I enjoy being in the bush and guiding people in this beautiful Big Five reserve – working over the holidays is not a sacrifice.

Yesterday I went with two guest families to the Elephant interaction at Bayete Game Reserve. This is one of the regular excursion we do with our guests. Everyone enjoyed interacting with Rambo, Rachel and Jabulani. These three “semi-wild” Elephants which roam freely on the game reserve show up every day for their “human interaction”.

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I hope all of you enjoy the festive season, wherever you are!



Leopard Week at Thanda

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It is hard to believe but I had four great Leopard sightings in one week. That is more than in the six month since I started working at Thanda.

Today’s sighting was especially good. The young Leopard in the picture above stayed around a waterhole for half an hour and then joined a second Leopard in the bush nearby.

Below are pictures of all five Leopards which featured in this week’s sightings 🙂

20121221 - Collage 1256Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013

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With my best wishes for the holiday season from South Africa – Christian

PS: The picture is of one of the North Pride Lion cubs at Thanda Private Game Reserve …

.. and the reason why I have not blogged since 16 December is that my internet connection was down for a few days.

One of the Five!

Well, I had planned not to publish a “Big Five” picture for ten posts. But tonight’s Leopard sighting changed my mind.

On the way back to the lodge we had a very special night encounter. This Leopard female was a few meters (yards) of the road in the thick bush. When I moved the game viewer a bit closer she had a good look at us before she disappeared  into the bush. Bheki’s excellent spotlight work made this picture possible.

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I really like her alert expression in the picture!

Without the Five (3) – Black on White or White on Black?

White stripes on black background or black stripes on white background?

It was previously believed that Zebras were white animals with black stripes, since some Zebras have white underbellies. Embryological evidence, however, shows that the animal’s background color is black and the white stripes and bellies are additions.

The pattern on every Zebra is unique, very much like fingerprints. And sometimes the white stripes are wider or narrower. The faint stripe in between the black and white  is called a “shadow stripe” and is typical for the Burchell’s Zebra (a sub-species of the Plains Zebra).

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These images are part of my “Without the Five” series:

Each image features a species, which is usually not in the safari limelight. So they will be no images of Lions, Leopard, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalo, Cheetahs …

Enjoy the “without the Five” series

Without the Five (2) – Common Beauty!

Today’s image is a portrait of an Impala ram. Impalas are the most common antelopes on Thanda. They have a special dental arrangement on the front lower jaw similar to a tooth-comb which is used during grooming to comb the fur and remove parasites – hence their impeccable appearance 🙂

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This image is part of my “Without the Five” series:
Each image will features a species, which is usually not in the safari limelight. So they will be no images of Lions, Leopard, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalo, Cheetahs …

Enjoy the “without the Five” series

Without the Five (1) – Head Salad!

For the next ten posts I have planned a special series of pictures. Each image will feature a species, which is usually not in the safari limelight. So they will be no images of Lions, Leopard, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalo, Cheetahs …

Today’s image is of two Nyala bulls. One of them wearing “Head Salad” 🙂

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Enjoy the “Witout the Five” series


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While I was filing images which I have taken over the last few weeks I came across this picture of an Elephant Bull fight.

I remember that we were quite close to these two young bulls when they started sparring. Ignoring us completely they impressed the Thanda guests on my vehicle with their strength and fighting skills.


I have uploaded new header images for my blog page. They will be displayed randomly.

Lion, Leopard, African Elephant, White Rhino, Black Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Cheetah, Cape Hunting Dog, Spotted Hyena, Black-backed Jackal, South African Giraffe, Plains Zebra and Impala are the species represented with one image each.

More will follow – including birds, reptiles and more 🙂

Enjoy all these images taken around on Thanda Private Game Reserve.

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Ostrich, River View and Trogon

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I spent a few days at Amakhosi Safari Lodge, a beautiful place near Pongola. Have a look at their website

One of my favorite pictures from this weekend is of this female Ostrich …

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… and despite the weather (from humid/hot to raging thunderstorms) I enjoyed my stay very much. From my room I had a great view of the Mkuze River. I relaxed quite a bit in the hammock while listening to the river sounds and the many bird calls …

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… I saw a Narina Trogon, one of my favorite birds and a Paradise Flycatcher (no good pictures, but evidence 🙂 …

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… and I enjoyed this view of the Mkuze River from a hide near the lodge, high above the river bed (with Nyala, Bushbuck and Kudu in view while I was at the hide).

Have a good week!