Archive for ‘March, 2014’

My Space or Your Space?

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We were watching a breeding herd of Elephants in a forest area when the matriarch decided to change direction and cross the road just where we were. Normally, if one drives to close to Elephants they give clear signs of displeasure and it is wise to adhere to these warnings by giving them their required space. In this case they decided to use our space (around the car) and they were not disturbed at all by our presence. Their usual need for distance was quite diminished. Everyone on our vehicle had a great time watching them pass right in front of us!

The little one on the left side of the picture took a good sniff from this strange animal in front 🙂 – I have left the antenna and the top of the dashboard in the picture to show the distance.

The picture below shows the youngster pointing his nose (trunk) and tongue at us 🙂

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A Pakamisa Weekend!

20140324 - CS1_0384 - EI spent another great weekend at Pakamisa. This very special Private Game Reserve combines five star luxury with horseback safari. It is one of my favorite places in South Africa.

Above is a picture from today’s photo shoot. The aim was to get a good image of riders on Horses, close to Giraffes. Mission accomplished 🙂

_MG_0969 - EIsabella Stepski (the owner of Pakamisa) took this funny picture of Slinky, me and Bully on our way to the horse photo shoot and she also captured me on Badger, doing some “horse-back photography”.

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20140323 - CS1_0208 - EAnd I love this image of the riders returning to the stables at sunset.

Another very enjoyable Pakamisa weekend!  www.pakamisa.co.za

 

Steak and Fever Tree!

I had many dinner companions in my life. Some invited, some not. Some pleasant, some not. Some boring, some not.

20140319 - CS3_9919 - ENow this one invited himself, was pretty entertaining and quite pleasant. I had just put sweet corn on the grill when one of Thanda’s young Elephant bulls walked “through” our garden fence and started his dinner devouring some of our yummy looking Fever Trees at Thanda House.

20140319 - CS3_9846 - EHe acknowledged my presence a few times by shaking his head and looking my way. But in each instance he went right back to work on his dinner of yellow trees and grass.

20140319 - CS3_9883 - EAs the sun faded I watched him while I was grilling and eating my steak. At one time he decided to move from one side of the garden to the other and passed my dinner table within 15 meters, not even looking at me or my meal.

20140319 - CS3_9895 - EI usually do not blog twice in a day, but I think this story warrants a special edition 🙂

PS: While I am typing this he is still feeding in the garden. I can no longer see him, but I can hear him 🙂

PPS: I think Coke should pay me some commission for an amazing Coke Zero advertisement shot 🙂 – picture 3! – What do you think?

Going Vegetarian?

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Hardy!

But this Thanda Lioness nibbled on grass for quite a while. That sort of behavior can mostly be observed after heavy meals, apparently to help with a full or upset stomach.

The Thanda guests were quite impressed to see this method of Lion “self medicating” 🙂

A cat walking down the road …

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All over the world cats are walking down roads. Usually it is a smallish creature looking for mice and other small prey.

Not so at Thanda. When we were driving down the road on this overcast day we also found a cat walking down the road.

But this one, Thanda’s dominant male Lion, weighs over 250kg (~ 550lbs) and does definitely not look for mice 🙂

What an office view!

I have had many different offices in my life – some with very nice views out of the window, some facing a parking lot and some with no view at all. But nothing compares with my office view at Thanda!

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I was sitting at my desk working on images and email when I heard a faint splashing sound from the nearby waterhole, which, due to the recent heavy rains, is full for the first time since I have arrived on Thanda. I had a look out of the window and saw Elephants having a swim. I grabbed a camera with a long lens, walked down to the Thanda house fence and took some pictures of Elephants enjoying themselves in the water.

As the light faded, all of us at Thanda house stood there and watched until the last of the Elephants had left the waterhole. What an evening!

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Don’t kill the monkeys!

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There are monkeys all over Africa. And also at Thanda. Small Vervet Monkeys can be found on the reserve and, as everywhere else, they are mostly found around human kitchens and dining rooms.

They are very good in stealing food but it is important never to feed them. Also, one must avoid to present food to them. As cute as it might seem when a small child gives an apple to a monkey, this can lead to the death of this small primate. If wild monkeys, or any other wild animal, are continuously fed by humans they start seeing the humans as a source for food. And if on occasions there is no food forthcoming they can get very aggressive and use force to take what they want. As small as they are they are very strong and have formidable teeth. Any monkey incident can get very dangerous for children (and even adults) and as a result of such attacks the monkeys may have to be put down.

Lesson to be learned: Never feed a monkey – It might kill them!

The picture of this good-looking chap was taken at the Thanda Safari Lodge. Have a good weekend!

A little beauty!

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This small Spotted Bush Snake lives in the trees outside my room at Thanda house. On warm and sunny days this little beauty is hunting in the trees. And when anyone walks by it takes a peak from between the leaves.

I enjoyed taking some macro pictures of this small predator.

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More about the Spotted Bush Snake:
(Philothamnus semivariegatus) – also called Variegated Bush Snake.
This snake can be found in variable colors, but most of the time bright green to darker green above. Adults can reach up to 1,3 meters in length. It is diurnal and it is an excellent climber. When this snake is disturbed, it will move away fast. If it turns defensive, it will inflate the neck and the blue skin in between the scales will be visible. This makes it look more dangerous, almost like a Boomslang.  It is often mistaken for a Boomslang. This snake bites readily when trying to catch it. Although there are many differences, they both can be seen in trees and both are green. The Spotted Bush Snake is harmless to humans, but often killed, because of this confusion.
Quoted from “Snakes of South Africa”

With Lions in a Car and an Elephant in the Garden!

What a day 🙂

In the late afternoon I was documenting a Thanda Lion capture operation on camera.
(Check out the Thanda blog with the pictures of that operation at http://thandablog.com/2014/03/12/a-new-home-for-two-thanda-lionesses/)
Two young female Lions were to be transferred to a new home on another game reserve in Kwazulu Natal. I was taking pictures of the scene when I found myself on the back of the vehicle speeding down the road – with the two sleeping Lionesses at my feet. My first time in a car with two Lions 🙂

Lion and Elephant

Later in the evening I went out for dinner with a few colleagues. When we returned back to Thanda house we heard some branch-breaking-sounds from the garden. We took a look and realized that one of our young Elephant bulls had broken right through the Thanda house fence to get to some tasty looking trees.

He kept feeding of a fever tree while we were watching him from the side of the house (25 meters/yards away). From many signs all over the garden it was obvious that he must have spent hours feeding around the house. When he had enough of our garden he decided to take a different route out and “punched” another hole into our fence.

With Lions in a Car and an Elephant in the Garden!  Another day in Africa 🙂

PS: Sorry for the low-quality Elephant image, but I thought it was worth showing this gentle giant in our garden at night.

Water, water and more water …

A wet weekend 🙂

Thanda Safari

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Enjoy this “weather report” from the Thanda Reserve Management

“Last Saturday night we had 106 mm of rainfall in less than 12 hours. This wet weather is a welcome respite from the recent dry spell. We were becoming concerned about drying waterholes and fire hazards from long, dry grass. The accumulated rainfall in March is already more than three times the average over the last ten years!

Now all waterholes are brimming with fresh rain water which will carry the Thanda wildlife for many months. However, nature’s blessings in such sudden abundance often require a bit of mopping up. Some of our roads and fence lines became compromised by soil erosion and we have to mobilize all our teams to bring them up to scratch again. And when the sun comes out we will need to monitor the germination of new alien vegetation which takes advantage of the rich moist Zululand soils.

Nevertheless we welcome the African…

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