Fine Dining!

Pakamisa Food

Who knows me well, knows that I love fine dining. This is one of the reasons why I am spending so much of my “off time” at Pakamisa Private Game Reserve – also enjoying their safaris on horseback and the very comfortable surroundings.

All of Pakamisa’s food is excellent and many of the menu items are also a feast for the eyes. So during this month’s visit I did no horse/wildlife photography, but I did a food photo shoot. This is very different photographic discipline. Even so, I think the results are not too bad.

🙂 … and an interesting bit of personal trivia:

My godfather was a very successful food photographer in the 60th and 70th in Switzerland. I even served as a Child model for some of his food shots (see collage at the end of the message). Well, I think he would be happy about these images and my work as a “food photographer”!

A Pakamisa light lunch – a tasty combination – Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad with Beef Fillet20140422 - CS3_7177 - E 2

A Pakamisa starter – a feast for the eyes – Avocado Timbale Topped with Prawns20140422 - CS3_7363 - E 2

A Pakamisa starter – a surprising combination – Sweet Corn & Tomato Soup20140422 - CS3_7128 - E 2

A Pakamisa desert – the ultimate browny and a feast for chocoholics 🙂 – Home-made Chocolate Brownies with Ice Cream20140422 - CS3_7254 - E 2

A Pakamisa breakfast – With the rolling hills of Zululand!20140422 - CS3_7069 - E 2

I loved “fine dining” already when I was young 🙂20140425 - CS0_0819

Pictures by Christian Sperka and Werner Knecht

The Ugly Five :-)

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The Big Five are very famous. But there are also the Ugly Five!

For guests it is a bit of harmless fun to guess which of the many animal species on Thanda qualify for that very special honour. The Blue Wildebeest (or Brindled Gnu) is one of the Ugly Five. In most human eyes they would certainly not qualify for a beauty contest :-). Blue Wildebeest are a very common antelope on Thanda. They are also one of the major menu items for our Lions.

Stay tuned over the next few days to meet the other four!

Happy Easter!

Frohe Ostern    Feliz Pascua    Joyeuses Pâques    Vrolijk Pasen    Buona Pasqua    Felix Pascha    God påske    Wesołych Świąt    Happy Easter    Glad Påsk    Maligayang Pasko ng Pagkabuhay    hyvää pääsiäistä     复活节快乐     復活節快樂     부활절 축복 받으세요     สุขสันต์วันอีสเตอร์     イースター、おめでとう     Phasika elithokozayo     Geseënde Paasfees

From me and my special Thanda Easter Bunny 🙂

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… which is actually a young Scrub Hare.

Let’s keep going!

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After the fighting break (see yesterday’s blog message) the two Thanda Giraffes bulls continued their fight. We left them at it after observing the slow but intense quarrel for quite a while.

This collage shows the flexibility of their necks and the strategic positioning needed to strike a significant blow.

A fighting break!

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These two adult Giraffe bulls took a short break from their rather serious fighting and stared for a while across the beautiful Thanda landscape.

As for most male animals the reason for this fight was a lady in oestrous. These two were both possible mating candidates.

When Giraffes fight they will stand very close facing the same direction. In a strategic opportune moment they will try to swing their necks like long clubs at one another’s neck. If a blow is properly targeted the ossicones (the horn-like skull-extensions on top of the head) will impact with a loud thump. Adult male giraffe are actually bold on top of ossiconses from all the sparring and fighting.

If one of them has enough of the rather vicious blows, he will move off and leave the winner to claim his price.

Tomorrow’s blog message will show some images of the fight itself. Stay tuned!

Fun memories :-)

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During my recent visit to Pakamisa, in between riding and eating (very well I might say!), I was doing a little work on my image library.

So I came across this shot of me with a Clouded Leopard cub climbing on my head. That stirred some fun memories of my time at the Nashville Zoo, which I will be visiting again in June.

The picture was taken by my good friend Heather Robertson, the head veterinarian at the zoo.


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This Water Monitor Lizard was enjoying the sun at Thanda’s largest waterhole. These intelligent reptiles are very shy and usually disappear quickly into water or high grass as soon as one approaches.

This specimen had a “trusting day” and stuck around for a lengthily photo session 🙂

New Arrivals!

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What a morning.

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Leaving the lodge for a drive a bit later than usual we were first looking for our dominant male Lion. He had been sighted not far away from the Thanda Safari Lodge so we thought this would make a perfect first encounter of the day.

After we had a good look at this large cat, Bheki, one of Thanda’s expert trackers, suggested to have a closer look into a nearby drainage line. He had spotted some movement as I was turning the vehicle to leave the sighting.

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And trough the thick bush we saw not only one of Thanda’s North Pride females but also her very small new cubs.

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Keeping a respectful distance we made our way slowly around the location where the Lioness was resting, to an open area on the opposite side. After about ten minutes of patience the Lioness decided to present her new cubs to the world.

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She brought them right into the open, lay down in the middle of the small pan (facing away from us, which showed how comfortable she was with our presence).

The three youngster, which we estimate to be 1.5 month old, watched us very critically as their mother was proceeding with the morning bath for the little ones.

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After they had a good look at this “huge green animal with the round legs and the many eyes” they disappeared back into the shaded shelter of the thicket.

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Mum kept enjoying the morning sun as we left the scene. My guests, Bheki and I were very happy. We were the first humans to set eyes on these beautiful little cats – the three newest members of the Thanda Lion family.

An Elderly Lady!

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This elderly Giraffe lady had a good look at this “noisy animal” before she decided to move off into the bush following the rest of her Journey (Journey is the proper term for a group of Giraffe).

Giraffes are one of the Thanda game drive favorites, especially for younger children, who seem to have a special place in their heart for these long-necked, gentle creatures.