Archive for ‘November, 2013’

Welcome back!

We had not seen the Thanda Cheetah female and her cubs for quite a while. So it was exciting moment for the Thanda guests, the tracker and the guide when the Thanda Wildlife Management announced over the radio that the three Cheetah had been spotted.

When we arrived at the scene the female had just killed a baby Impala. Her two cubs – a boy and a girl – started feeding immediately while mum kept a watchful eye on the surrounding.

We stayed for almost an hour observing these beautiful cats.

20131126 - CS1_5463 - E - SIGThe Cheetah mum catching an baby Impala.

20131126 - CS1_5548 - E - SIGThe young boy is smacking his lips after a good meal.

20131126 - CS1_5489 - E - SIG - 400The little girl is having a look at bird flying by.

20131126 - CS1_5499 - E - SIGCheetah family assembled for breakfast.

 

Strange scent!

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Some of Thanda’s Cape Buffalo came for their evening drink to a waterhole. And while they were drinking and mud-bathing some of them picked up a scent they did not like. Many heads went up and with ears directed forward they were trying to establish a possible threat.

After a few minutes they all stampeded away from the waterhole. The Thanda guests on my vehicle enjoyed the show, even if we were not able to figure out what had bothered them 🙂

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Want a ride, my dear?

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Well, it is Dung Beetle season. In this warm and humid weather these insects are getting very active. This makes for a great “small” sighting during a game drive.

The males of this Dung Beetle species creates a large dung ball which then attracts the ladies. Once a female has approved of a ball she hitches a ride while he rolls it to an appropriate “burial site”.

When a spot with soft soil is found, they stop and bury the ball, then mate underground and the female lays eggs inside the brooding ball.

Dung beetles go through a complete metamorphosis. The larvae live in brood balls made with dung prepared by their parents, feeding on the dung surrounding them.

In the middle of the night!

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Many animals are very active at night – these are some images taken with a camera trap near a small waterhole on Thanda. All these images where taken in the middle of the night.

Can you identify these six species?

I will post the correct answers tomorrow afternoon!

… and this little baby Zebra is also a regular daytime guest at the waterhole.

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Post/Collage by Christian Sperka – Specialist Photography Guide and Resident Wildlife Photographer – Thanda Private Game Reserve.

Zulu People and Zulu Culture (2)

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A visit to a Zulu homestead in the rural areas of Zululand can give a great insight into the life of modern Zulu people living within their traditions.

The picture above was taken during such a visit. Bheki Ngubane, one of Thanda’s experienced Zulu trackers, interprets the process of making traditional Zulu beer.

The Thanda guest in the picture is actually my brother Stefan, who visited me from Germany for five days 🙂

20131113 - CS2_4864 - E - THANDAOne of the ladies at the homestead explains to Stefan the use of the mill to grind the maize.

20131113 - CS2_4902 - E - THANDAOne of sons of the house insisted on demonstrating the drinking of traditional Zulu beer – and enjoyed it 🙂

20131113 - CS2_4958 - E - THANDAAnd this young family member was very keen on a picture with Stefan.

This is the second blog in a series ZULU PEOPLE AND ZULU CULTURE:

Previous blog message on this subject: https://sperka.info/2013/11/08/zulu-people-and-zulu-culture-1/

Thanda is located in the heart of Zululand. With this location comes responsibility to the Zulu People and the Zulu Culture, which have existed in this area for centuries. Most of the personnel at Thanda come from the surrounding local communities and Thanda has close relationships with the community leaders and the people. Both sides benefit greatly from these good relationships! For the interested guests – from all over the world – Thanda is not only a superb place to experience the African bush but also an ideal base to explore Zulu culture and customs. Visits to a traditional Zulu homesteads and to local schools can enhance the appreciation for the rural life in South Africa. A visit to a Sangoma (Zulu Spiritual Adviser) can give a great insight into the Zulu believes connecting God, Nature and the Ancestors.

If you would like to incorporate an experience of “Zulu People and Zulu Culture” into your Thanda visit contact reservations@thanda.co.za

Delay – no problem!

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In a five-star lodge service delays are not acceptable. So normally the game drives start just in time! But the rules change when the Thanda Elephants get involved.

Today a few of Thanda Elephant bulls were making their way to the Lodge when guests spotted them from the Lodge deck just before game drive.

Everyone waited patiently for the giant creatures to arrive. And only after they finished their drink at the water feature in front of the Lodge did the guests depart for the evening drive.

Half an hour late – quite acceptable when caused by Elephants 🙂

In front of the camera :-)

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Photographers seldom end up on pictures. Well, there are not very many pictures with me in them, especially not during interesting wildlife operations.

But at this Rhino darting operation one of the subjects of my pictures (it was actually Kingsley Holgate, a well known South African explorer, humanitarian and author – who was present during the operation) took the camera away from me and shot this image. Thanks!

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And then a member of the wildlife team took this image with all the guides, trackers, game guards and the Rhino boy involved in this procedure.

So, two picture with me in it in one day – must be a record 🙂

Zulu People and Zulu Culture (1)

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Thanda is located in the heart of Zululand. With this location comes responsibility to the Zulu People and the Zulu Culture, which have existed in this area for centuries.

Most of the personnel at Thanda come from the surrounding local communities and Thanda has close relationships with the community leaders and the people. Both sides benefit greatly from these good relationships!

For the interested guests – from all over the world – Thanda is not only a superb place to experience the African bush but also an ideal base to explore Zulu culture and customs.

Visits to a traditional Zulu homesteads and to local schools can enhance the appreciation for the rural life in South Africa. A visit to a Sangoma (Zulu Spiritual Adviser) can give a great insight into the Zulu believes connecting God, Nature and the Ancestors.

There will be a series of blog messages and images documenting this unique part of the Thanda experience.

This first blog/images show a group of Thanda guests with the children at a local school. Many guests support the schools by donating supplies and toys when visiting them during their stay in South Africa.

If you would like to incorporate the experience of “Zulu People and Zulu Culture” into your Thanda visit contact reservations@thanda.co.za

First images above: The school children were having fun running around the school yard with one of the Thanda guests.

20131107 - CS2_4233 - E - ThandaThe school children perform a few songs for the foreign guests.

20131107 - CS2_4264 - E - Thanda 2These boys were singing and dancing about the Black Rhino.

20131107 - CS2_4214 - E - ThandaA young lady from Spain in a friendly conversation with young students.

Stay where you are!

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This small Thanda Elephant bull wanted to make sure that we came no further towards the herd. All the adult females were very relaxed when this little one showed us that he is a big Elephant already.

We adhered to his wishes and approach no further. He shook his head in “big bull fashion” and turned away to continue with his feeding.

A very memorable Thanda Elephant encounter 🙂