Archive for ‘June, 2015’

Five+

What a morning!

Thanda Safari

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It happens quite often that Thanda guests can experience more than one of the Big Five during a single game drive.

But it is a very rare treat when all five of Africa’s most famous animals make their appearance within a single 3.5 hours drive.

Today was such a day. During this morning’s drive we had an excellent sighting with a few Elephant bulls, watched five young Lions waiting for their mothers’ return from a hunt, spotted three Black Rhinos on an open savanna area, observed a large herd of Cape Buffalo grazing and then – most spectacular of all – surprised a beautiful male Leopard on our way back to Thanda’s Villa iZulu.

It is hard to believe that we also saw Giraffes, Nyalas, Impalas, Warthogs, Wildebeests, Zebras, Yellow-billed Hornbills, Cape Glossy Starlings, Red-billed Oxpeckers and a Brown-hooded Kingfisher on the same drive.

This collage shows six images taken…

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A Cold Winter Morning, a Hippo Island and a Slender Rarity

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Yesterday I went to Nsumo Pan at Mkhuze Game Reserve. I wanted to evaluate if this large pan system with its well positioned hides is a good place for excursions with Thanda’s ‘serious photographer’ guests.

Judge for yourself!

I enjoyed the seven hours photo session which included a lot of water birds, a Hippo mum with her small calf out of the water, an African Jacana which used a Hippo as a mid-pan-island, and a Slender Mongoose posing for the camera (a very rare sighting).

In connection with the khMasinga hide (I will post some recent images from this hide, soon) I think this natural pan will work well for ‘serious photography’ guests as long as they have a 500mm+ lens and if they are also interested in birds. For birding enthusiasts it is a paradise – even without pictures.

Enjoy the gallery!

In case you are interested here all the 27 different species I have seen on that day:
Hippos * | African Fish-Eagle * | African Openbill | Spur-winged Goose * | Egyptian Goose * | Nyala * | Impala | Blue Wildebeest | African Darter | African Jacana * | Nile Crocodile | Black-winged Stilt * | Brown-hooded | Kingfisher * | Warthog | Pink-backed Pelican * | Great White Pelican * | Red Duicker | Cattle Egret |Great Egret | Grey Heron | Red-billed Teal | Greater Flamingo | Water Monitor * | Terrapin | African Spoonbill | Slender Mongoose * | Goliath Heron * | * = good photographic condition/distance

Sunlight!

A lucky moment 🙂

Thanda Safari

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This Thanda Leopard was enjoying the warming afternoon sun on a cool winter day. Leopards are very shy cats which usually do not like to be seen during the day. But this beautiful male made an exception to this rule to collect the last afternoon sun-rays before moving off into the thick bush.

What a sighting!

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

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12:36 – A new Giraffe is born!

Thanda Safari

Thanda’s youngest Giraffe calf was born today at precisely 12:36.

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Members of the Thanda Wildlife Team observed the birth of the young boy and stayed with him and his mum until he was ready to walk properly. It took over four hours from the first appearance of the legs until his 1.80m fall into life. After he hit the ground it took him thirty minutes before he raised his head and it took another 1.5 hours before he made his first successful attempts to stand. As soon as he was firmly on his feet he started looking for milk and –  after a short search – he found mum’s teats. To bond with him and to clean him Mum licked the little one with her long, rough tongue. For the actual birth (from the appearance of his head to his fall to the ground) his mum was hiding behind a thicket. There…

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In just one day …

During my last time off-work I spent one day in KwaZulu Natal’s most famous National Park, the Hluhluwe-Imfolzi Game Reserve.

I packed all my long lenses, as animals in National Parks are often further away then on Thanda, where we can drive off-road to get closer. In a National Park one has to stay on the roads. The day turned out to be very windy, so I saw almost no general game and very few birds. But most of the “big ones” made their appearance.

Just after I entered the park I drove by a Lion kill sighting (in the thick bush off the road), just as a White Rhino walked by. A herd of Cape Buffalo stared at me near Hilltop Camp as I passed quite close to them. I had many White Rhino sightings (with a lot of ticks on all the Rhinos :-)). Two Elephant bulls strolled up a hillside far away (work for my 500mm lens!) and finally I got to see a few Impalas.

As the sun started to set I watched a Baboon family at their daily grooming ritual and then took a few scenery sunset shots before I left the park.

All in all a productive and relaxing day, despite the wind. I hope you will enjoy this online-image-gallery!

Colors!

In the animal kingdom there are many colors. And birds provide some of the most beautiful examples of a multi-color-display.

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This Gwala-Gwala (Purple-crested Turaco) shows fluorescent greens and purple combined with the most stunning crimson under the wings.

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Another one of my favorites!