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To see two White Rhinos mating is a very rare sighting for any safari guest – and also for a guide 🙂

Thanda guests were able to observe this pair of White Rhinos mating when the sun set on the day and on this year.  Considering all the bad news about the number of Rhinos killed in 2013 this scene promises some good news of a future birth for this threatened species. With a gestation period of 16 month it will be 2015 when the new calf will be born at Thanda.

… chatting up – Rhino style …

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… mounting – a difficult procedure …

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… a lengthy process and a heavy burden …

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… getting off – finally!

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Timo, Philip, Quinten – the small things and a rainy day!

Timo, Philip, Quinten – three young Thanda guests – had already seen Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffalo, Giraffes and many other mammals on their first few game drives.

So, on this rainy summers day they set out with their parents, tracker and myself to find some other exciting Wildlife. And they had a great drive watching a Praying Mantis which jumped onto the vehicle …

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… studying a Scorpion close up and …

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… learn about many more “bush secrets”.

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They enjoyed this “rainy weather & small things” drive as much as all the “big game” drives and will return to home and to their friends with many very special bush stories.

Rhinos in the Snow?

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When one looks at this images one could think that these two White Rhinos are walking in the snow!

So I thought this makes for a nice Winter holiday images for all my friends on the northern hemisphere.

But, in reality the white stuff on the ground is ash from a bush fire. The Rhino mum and her calf enjoy rubbing their square lips in the ash – this makes them truly White Rhinos 🙂

Enjoy your Christmas/New Year holidays!

Christmas Sightings!

The Thanda guests enjoyed great sightings over the Christmas holidays.

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Two young Elephant bulls giving a sparring demonstration …

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… a White Rhino mum and her son hosting an Oxpecker party …

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… a young Kudu bull in front of a beautiful Thanda vista …

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… and Thanda’s dominant male Lion smacking his lips after a big meal!

Happy Holidays!

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

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014

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I wish all my friends around the world a

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2014!

When I was living on the northern hemisphere I was used to cold weather during the Christmas season – including pine trees decorated with colorful baubles.

Well, my Christmas at Thanda is very different – hot – humid – and certainly with no pine trees 🙂

So the flowers of the Sickle-bush have to do for Christmas decoration around my place. They look beautiful and I thought I use a closeup as this year’s holiday image!

With my very best wishes from South Africa – Christian

PS: The holiday greetings on the picture are in isiZulu and English!

PPS: And for all the animal lovers among you 🙂 – below is Thanda’s Christmas Holiday image!

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Thanda’s New Website!

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Thanda Private Game Reserve has a new website – and all wildlife images on the site are mine :-). In the last few weeks I have spend over 200 hours editing images and collages for this new site. Have a look!

This is the official announcement about the new site:

It has been a busy few months for us that end the year with a sparkling new website!

As part of our brand refresh, our newly designed website offers full mobile compatibility and works across all devices, platforms, social media and search engines. As with all websites, we will continue to fine-tune it, so if you have any comments or recommendations, please share them with us! 

Furthermore we have taken some stunning new photography of the reserve and Thanda’s Safari Lodge, Tented Camp and Villa iZulu to really showcase our safari and wildlife experience, as well as our cultural heritage.

And that’s not it; there is also our new blog to look out for (www.thandablog.com) and so much more coming in the New Year – so stay tuned!

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Not bothered!

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This was my favorite Leopard sighting since I started working at Thanda 18 month ago!

In the early morning hours we spotted this beautiful male Leopard lounging in a tree. He was quite relaxed,  mustered us for a while, had a short nap, yawned a few times and then slowly disappeared into the bush.

The reason why all the Thanda guests on my vehicle, Bheki – my tracker – and I liked this sighting so much was because this magnificent cat was not bothered by our presence and did not react to us and our vehicle, even if he was clearly aware of us. Observing animals without interfering with their behavior – my favorite kind of sighting!

Looking for breakfast!

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This small Elephant did not mind the rain. He was moving between all his elders and ended up with mum – demanding his morning meal.

The Thanda guests enjoyed their early morning game drive – despite the summer rain!

Too wet to ride :-(

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I had a great time at Pakamisa (www.pakamisa.com)!

I enjoyed the birding course with Prof. Ian MacDonald, learning a lot about the birds in Kwazulu Natal and – despite the very rainy weather – I got some good bird shots. Staying at this beautiful place in the Zululand hills, enjoying the excellent cuisine and the five star service is a treat. And, as always on Pakamisa, I had the opportunity to take some good horse images.

I was only a bit disappointed that the weather did not allow for my first horse ride. Pakamisa acquired recently a horse which is strong enough to carry a portly gentleman as myself :-).

Well, I hope to be back at Pakamisa soon and I hope the weather will be good enough for my first horse ride 🙂

Picture above: Scarlet-chested Sunbird feeding in the Pakamisa lodge garden.

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Pakamisa’s stables.

20131209 - CS3_2120 - E - SIGTwo of Pakamisa’s Arabians. Baracka (a mare) on the left and her full brother Jamaal.

20131209 - CS3_2208 - E“My horse” at Pakamisa. This beautiful crossbred between a Thoroughbred and a Shire  named Badger is strong enough for me to ride. I am looking forward to my first ride!

20131209 - CS2_6612 - E - SIGA Ostrich portrait taken in the rain at Pakamisa.

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Baby Ostriches grow very fast. The seven youngsters are only three month old, but already almost as tall as their parents.

20131208 - CS3_2055 - E - SIGI (on the left) learned a lot about birds during the course with Prof. Ian MacDonald (on the right).

20131208 - CS2_6465 - E - SIGA Pakamisa bird party. These Weavers and Quelea enjoyed the leftovers from the Ostrich feeding.

20131209 - CS2_6604 - E - SIGA Golden-breasted Bunting chick calling to be fed!

Keeping up with mum

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In this picture the little White Rhino is running along mum towards a waterhole. Mum was a bit agitated, but it had nothing to do with the game drive vehicle in the area. A young bull was giving her some unwanted attention and she got out-of-the-way quickly (with her tail rolled up).