What do you do all day?

Recently one of my US friends asked me what am I doing all day?

So I thought I describe one of my days on Thanda Private Game Reserve; with a bit of text and some images! This is quite a busy one, but not unusually so!


6:45 Wake-up
Allowed to sleep in today as I am not driving guests this morning. Slept 2.5 hours more than on driving days 🙂 The weather is hot and dry at Thanda House!

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7:23 The Call
Before I even get a chance to take a morning shower I get a text message that there is a spitting cobra near the entrance to Thanda’s base camp office. Lets move!


7:45 Catch and Release
Catch the snake and release it again at one of Thanda’s waterholes. It spits venom at my GoPro camera 😦
(Watch out for another blog about this snake release!)

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8:45 Exercising with Elephants
Back at my office walking on the treadmill for an hour; while watching Elephants having a morning bath at the nearby waterhole.

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9:45 Delayed Morning Routine
Watching Giraffes during a short breakfast of yogurt and fruit, mango&mandarin juice. A bit later than usual = snake delay!

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10:00 Social Media
Preparing a Thanda blog message, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ posts. Schedule them to be released tomorrow between 14:00 and 16:30 (2:00pm – 4:30pm for my friends across the sea :-))


10:20 Backup
Looking at my email inbox. Nothing urgent! Starting weekly backup procedures on all my PCs before heading out again.

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10:30 Drive
Have to take a short drive across the reserve to the Thanda Tented Camp to give a Rhino lecture. Dealing with local traffic (Warthogs and Zebras).

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11:00 All about Rhinos
Talking to a group of guests about the threat to the world’s Rhino population. They are quite interested and ask a lot of good questions.

Rhino Poaching Stats

12:00 Photography Lesson
Teaching “Motion Photography” in the Tented Camp dining area (too hot outside). Great response from the 90 minute session!

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14:00 Lunch
Back at Thanda house having lunch. A rocket and watercress salad with olive oil, balsamico (a nice old one!) and some parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes and a freshly baked ciabatta roll. A bit of fresh fruit for desert. Grape juice and mineral water to drink. Listening to a “Lord Peter Wimsey” audio book by Dorothy L. Sayers –  Enjoy that very much!

gaudy night

15:00 A Contradiction in Terms!
Email and rest time, they do not really go together. Lots of emails to answer and no rest!


15:45 Prepare the Game Viewer
Meeting Bheki (my tracker) at base camp to drive to the Thanda Safari Lodge to pick up a family for a Bush Safari Session (this is a photography lesson in the bush, hands-on!)

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16:30 Into the Bush, again!
Great sightings on this photography drive. Relaxed Black Rhinos and Cheetahs at sunset.

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18:20 Drinks at Sundown
Having fun during our sundown drinks stop. Explain to the young guests some more photo stuff.

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18:45 Good bye
Say good-bye to the guests at the Thanda Safari Lodge just after sunset and then head back home. Having a quick dinner  of soup (Butternut) and salad (garden greens with tomatoes and carrots) with another ciabatta roll. A Coke Zero on ice with lots of lemon juice 🙂 – my reward for a busy day.

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20:00 Back to the office
For a bit of image editing work on the PC while listing to some music (today it is Gilbert & Sullivan). That editing job is never done = current backlog ~2,000 images!


20:02 Power out
Have to switch to my small generator. Due to “load shedding” there is no electrical power for 2-3 hours. That happens on most days. South Africa has huge power problems!


22:23 Power back and good night!
Power is back, air conditioners are working again and I am off to bed to regain energy for another …

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Good day in Africa!

Selfie in my office at the end of the day 🙂

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

6 Replies to “What do you do all day?”

  1. Christian, Great to hear about a day in the life of an Thanda Private Game Reserve Photo/Worker Employee. Sounds like a never a dull moment day. For me, all that would be an exciting venter except the snake. Snake work would be the line draw in the sand for me. Ha! Good to know you are working on a healthy body, too. I try but not anyways near your eating diet. Don’t know if I mentioned before, but last October at the end of a mission trip in South Sudan, our little group went to Kenya for a four day Safari before returning home. Returning home, the Northwestern Tennessee Photo Club asked for a presentation. It turned out better than expected even though I am such an photo amature. Since not everyone was present that night, they are asking me to do it again sometime in the fall. Thought I would drop a line. Michael Blake

  2. It’s nice to see what a “normal” day is like there. Snakes, no problem, your light diet sounds great. in the middle of our winter here in the northern U.S., we need more fruit, but usually carve carbs :/ At your computer screen I see that cute cub that is in your book
    “Thanda Cats”. Great book btw, and I love the quotes too, so true. Thank you for all the education you give folks. It’s so important.

  3. What a great review of your average day! Loved the photos and details. You wouldn’t by any chance have a hand out or write up about motion photography that you would like to share with the Camera Club Council of Tennessee members. 3CT has 22 clubs across the state now.l We are always looking for educational articles for our Newsletter “3CT In Focus” (you have my email address! You can check it out at http://www.3ct.org should you ever have a spare moment (o:

  4. I was very pleased to receive confirmation to my request to receive your “Posts” and to receive the recent one of “a day in your life”…. very interesting and BUSY! My sister lives in Nashville and volunteers at the Zoo there which we have visited several times and thoroughly enjoyed. She has forwarded me many of your other posts which I have found so interesting and she suggested I could subscribe myself to receive them. We live on a farm in Canada and love animals. Admire your talent, awesome photography and the interesting comments, wonderful to share with others to be able to see all these beautiful animals in their natural surroundings.
    The snake was not a favourite I must admit but amazing to see in a photo. Loved the giraffes and kangaroos and the special Valentine of the lions I received to-day.

    Thanks, Shirley Wood

  5. Christian that was really interesting. I am glad that someone asked you about a day in the life. I am a little concerned about your diet so please let me know if you need to have some corndogs shipped to you from the zoo café. 🙂 They also have amazing garlic parmesan fries, I could send them as well. Still hoping to get there at some point to experience a day in the life myself. Thanks! Dana Marshall

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