Walk to water …

Imagine you are a two month old Thanda Baby Elephant …

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“A hot day today. Mum is walking very fast. Grandma wants to find water. So we walk and walk and walk. I wish I had longer legs.

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That grass is too high – Being the smallest is no fun 😦

I can’t see a thing – mum wait!!!

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OK – That’s better!

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Oh, I got an itch! Mummy, don’t move, I am gonna use your legs as a rubbing post.

Yes, yees, yeees – much better!

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I am thirsty – let’s go!

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Mummy come on – I see the water, I see the water!

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Give me a bit of space, pleeeease!

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That’s better!

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Nice family – what do you think? :-)”

This is a “record” of a walk to water, enjoyed by many Thanda guests on sunny morning.

It is evidence!

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This is not the greatest shot of Rhinos I ever took, but it is evidence of a baby Black Rhino on Thanda.

Black Rhinos are very shy and they are usually not hanging around to get their picture taken. A mother with a young calf is even more nervous than solitary animals.

So I am glad that I got this – marginal quality – image of mother and child.

The Thanda guests on my vehicle had a very good game drive that evening. First four White Rhino, then a Black-backed Jackal, then two male Cheetahs and at the end four Black Rhinos (this picture shows two of them)!

For the photographers among you: The picture was taken on a Canon 1D Mark IV with a Canon f4/500mm L lens at ISO 12800 in extremely low light conditions. No camera support was possible because there were only a few seconds when they were out of the high grass. I took this freehand while standing up on my vehicle. The image was enhanced with Paintshop Pro.

CF100 :-)

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I would rate this image of Thanda’s youngest Elephant with “Cuteness Factor 100”.

To the delight of all Thanda guests he and his family came for a drink stop at the small pond in front of the Thanda Safari Lodge.

What a morning!

Cleanup and Memories!


South Africa 100

Before I left the USA in 2012 I created a slide show with 100 of my favorite images. It was for the last “Art Crawl” at my Gallery in Nashville.  I found the material during “cleanup operations” on my graphics system.  And I liked it so much that I turned it into a YouTube video slide show.



I hope you enjoy the four and a half minutes of South African Wildlife!

The music is an interpretation of the South African National Anthem. Arranged for me by Don Johnson and performed by the Happy Turkey Farm Band.

Let me know if you would be interested in a version with comments on the images. If there is enough interest I will create a series of videos with audio comments (on wildlife and photography aspects of the images).


Well done, Philip!

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Philip G. – a Dutch boy living with his family in Poland – one of our recent guests at Thanda – took my photography lesson during his stay at the Lodge.

He, his two brothers and his parents enjoyed the stay very much and Philip sent me two of his pictures. I am very proud to feature in one of them (even if it is with a bit of a funny face looking at a scorpion – but do not worry this one is quite harmless :-)).

Philip especially liked the macro image of the little caterpillar. The collage also shows Philip with his camera – busy shooting in the bush!

Well done and thanks for letting me publish two of your works!

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

More about Christian’s photography lessons at Thanda:
Any guest at Thanda Private Game Reserve may request a complementary 90 minute photography session (based on availability/between game drives). In these sessions Christian will teach how to set up your camera for wildlife photography, what do adjust during shooting on game drive (motto:keep it simple) and he will show you what makes a good wildlife image. It does not matter if you stay at the Safari Lodge, the Tented Camp or the Villa iZulu.  When you are booking your stay at Thanda you can also request Christian as your field guide (based on availability) during your stay to spend additional photography time with him and his tracker Bheki in the bush.

And the answer is …

The picture shows a juvenile Red-billed Oxpecker looking for ticks inside of a White Rhino’s nose. The Oxpecker’s bill is black because he is not an adult yet.

Lisa W. (commented on my blog) got closest to the correct answer – Well done!

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More about …

Oxpeckers are endemic to the savanna of Sub-Saharan Africa. Their name arises from their habit of perching on large mammals, eating ticks and other parasites. Oxpeckers feed exclusively on the backs of large mammals. The smallest regularly used species is the Impala. Some potential Oxpecker hosts are intolerant of their presence. Elephants and Waterbuck will actively dislodge the Oxpeckers when they land.

This blog message contains the answer to https://sperka.info/2014/01/16/what-is-that/

What is that?

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A question for wildlife enthusiasts.

This is a detail of a larger image. Do you know what bird this is and what it is doing?

I will post the answer tomorrow!

Stefan’s Pics

My brother Stefan visited me in November last year at Thanda. And he has taken quite a few shots of me during his stay. This is a collage with some his images – featuring me at work. Thanks Stefan!

Click on the image to enlarge.

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From top left to bottom right – me …
…in my car in front of the Oysterbox hotel
…sitting in the Thanda Safari Lodge lounge
…with Dulcie at the Thanda Safari Lodge
…standing behind the outside dining table at Thanda’s Villa iZulu
…with Rachel and Jabulani at the Elephant interaction
…with Stefan, Bheki and my Land Rover
…talking to a family during a local community visit
…visiting a zulu homestead
…driving my “Landi”
…setting up the bar on my landrover for an evening drink stop
…in my office
…in front of my room
…with a White Rhino on game drive

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

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Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Mother and Daughter!

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This young Cheetah female stays very close to mum, whose tail provides comforting contact. A beautiful Thanda Cheetah sighting!