Archive for ‘December, 2016’

2 Month Old

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During yesterday morning’s game drive we spotted the newest additions to the Thanda South Pride of Lions (seen for the first time, ever). The mother must have introduced the two cubs (+/- 2 month old) very recently to the Pride. The two youngster were very shy at their first vehicle encounter and went into thick bush to wait for the ‘large unknown animal’ to disappear. I was able to take two images before they moved off. Very soon they will get used to the vehicles, observing their mum’s reaction – or lack thereof – to our game viewers. I am sure there will be great sightings to come!

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Pakamisa’s 20 Years Celebration

I really enjoyed being part of this celebration, helping preparing the event and then taking pictures during the evening. Thanks to Isabella and Anthony for their friendship and for having me on Pakamisa so often. The 20 year anniversary celebration was my 30th stay at this magnificent place 🙂
PS: Most of the songs which Lana and Victor performed could have been requested by me. So many of my favorites – from Verdi’s Traviata, over Pucchini’s Turandot, past Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera all the way to Frank Sinatra’s My Way 🙂

Pakamisa Private Game Reserve

In 1996, I arrived with some of my horses from Spain with the Lodge opening to the public in 2001. This year we celebrate Pakamisa’s 20 year Anniversary.

Last month we had a special celebration with guests from the Pongola area. As a great surprise Lana English & Victor Siljeur, two superb classical singers, performed beautiful opera arias and musical pieces for an enchanted audience.

From a mountainous Austria ... From a mountainous Austria …

... to the Rolling Hills of Zululand … to the Rolling Hills of Zululand

From a reception with a presentation ... From a reception with a presentation …

... to a festive dinner with classical music … to a festive dinner with classical music

Lana English & Victor Siljeur performing opera arias and musical favourites Lana English & Victor Siljeur performing opera arias and musical favourites

Isabella Stepski and Lana English Isabella Stepski and Lana English, friends since many years

Pakamisa's El Prado restaurant was the perfect venue for this unique 63 guests celebration Pakamisa’s El Prado restaurant was the perfect venue for this unique 63 guests celebration

Pictures by Christian Sperka Photography

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Barbets

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If you like Barbets then this is the post message for you 🙂

I have just uploaded my Barbet images taken between 2002 and 2016.

Acaia Pied Barbet – http://www.sperka.biz/sgb13

Black-collared Barbet – http://www.sperka.biz/sgb14

Crested Barbet – http://www.sperka.biz/sgb15

These are three more new species galleries available online at http://www.sperka.biz/sg

Please contact me at info@sperka.com in case you are interested in publishing any of these images or if you would like to license any image for printing (for personal or commercial use).

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Four Drives – A Picture Diary

I drove Thanda Safari guests for the last three days. We had some great sightings and I thought I would share the most exciting sightings with you. So here they are …

It is amazing how many great sightings one can have in only four drives if the weather is right and luck is on your side!


Bloody – The Thanda Safari North Pride Lions were feeding on a Wildebeest kill!


Charge – A Black Rhino bull gave us an exciting mock charge – we had two more Black Rhino sightings!


Morning Light – Two Giraffes were posing for us in the perfect morning light.


A ‘Small Five’ – We found a large female Leopard Tortoise. She was moving into high grass to hide.


Zebras, Zebras and more Zebras – On all four game drives we saw large numbers of general game. Especially the large herds of Zebras impressed the overseas guests.


Growing fast – Thanda Safari’s youngest Elephant is growing fast – I last saw the little one a few weeks ago and he has grown visibly since then.


Naughty – Vervet Monkeys provide great sighting, as long as they are far away from our Villa, our Lodge and our Tented Camp.


A Favorite – One of the favorite sightings over the last two days were Warthogs.


Night time – On the way back to Thanda’s Villa iZulu we had to stop as this young Python was crossing the road. I got out of the game viewer and shot some close-ups.


Relaxed – These White Rhinos were far more relaxed than their ‘black cousins’


Evening Drinks – A herd of Cape Buffalo arrived at a waterhole when we got news about White Rhinos nearby – tough choice!


Many Birds – This European Roller was one of many bird sightings – from small (Blue Waxbill) to large (Common Buzzard)

… and many more sightings!

My Photography Game Viewer Project

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Since I started my job in South Africa as field guide, wildlife photographer and photography teacher I always envisioned my own – photography oriented – game viewing vehicle.

This weekend I bought a used Land Rover Defender 130 (TD5) from a friend in Durban. He – being an engineer and very handy with that sort of thing – is now working on the conversion of the vehicle into my very own photography game viewer. It will take a bit of time to change the Landi to have all the features I want and I am looking forward to start using it in January or February next year.

The vehicle will lose its roof and all the windows except the windscreen, which will be hinged to be able to lower it when driving on the reserve. It will feature two seat rows behind the driver’s (first) row for a maximum of five passengers. The second row will have three comfortable and slightly raised seats. But the really special feature is going to be the third row. It will have only two high-backed seats with lots of room in front of them. In this space photographers can slide off their seats and take pictures over the sides of the vehicle (close to eye level). It will feature special canvas-covered mats on the vehicle floor for comfortable shooting positions and custom made bean-bags will be provided for the ideal camera placement.

There will be spotlight sockets in all rows as well as on the specially fitted tracker seat up-front. Behind the third row a storage compartment will have room for all necessary game drive gear. Each of the two photographer’s seats in the back will also have a turn-able and height-adjustable bean bag support. An Apple iPad will be available in each row (with many special applications available to the guests including Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, eGuide to African Mammals, a TrackID application and a map of Thanda).

I am looking forward to using the Landi for my own photography work, for teaching wildlife photography and to drive photography enthusiasts and professional photographers on Thanda Safari.

PS: I am searching for a snappy name for my new photography Landi. Please let me know if you have a good idea!

INTERNATIONAL CHEETAH DAY 2016

Today is International Cheetah Day – This is one of Thanda Safari’s Cheetah boys – They are two of my favorite cat models 🙂

Thanda Safari

Cheetahs once ranged almost across the entire African continent and into Asia. Today, they are found in only 23% of their historic African range and are extinct in Asia except for a small population in Iran. The problems for this endangered species are habit loss, habitat fragmentation, conflict with other predators, Human-wildlife conflicts, illegal wildlife trade and their rather problematic genetics. Thanda Safari has a few of these magnificent creatures and is active in conserving their future.

Read more about International Cheetah Day at http://internationalcheetahday.com/

If you want to support Thanda Safari’s Cheetah conservation efforts directly please contact us at research@thanda.co.za.

#SaveTheCheetah #IntlCheetahDay

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