Imagine! Four nights at Thanda Safari – Day 2

Getting up at 5:30 is a bit hard if one is not used to it. But if the weather is good, the luck on one’s side, going on an early game drive is very rewarding.

Day 2 of our safari experience could be called the Elephant Day! We had two excellent sightings with two different herds. But many other species were seen as well!

Feel free to ask any questions (as comments) or contact me at christian@sperka.com.

Leaving the comfortable Tent at 5:30 is hard …
… but being rewarded with a White Rhino sighting after tracking them for a short while made it worth while.
A crash of Rhino in the morning light …
Encountering a female Cheetah hunting on the way to an Elephant sighting …
Smart phone distance!
A quick Kudu portrait photo shoot …
The first Elephant sighting of the day …
Giraffe and Oxpecker – a symbiotic relationship …
… same as for the Buffalo and Oxpecker.
There are no better Elephant sightings as when they are seen at a water hole.
A Scrub Hare sighting during the day is rather rare …
… and we ended the day as we followed two Lionesses on our way back to the Thanda Tented Camp
Picture of the day: Watching two small Elephants playing.

Major sightings:

⁃ Elephants

⁃ White Rhinos

⁃ Lionesses

⁃ Kudu

⁃ Cheetah female

⁃ Burchell’s Zebra

⁃ Red-billed Oxpecker

⁃ Scrub Hare

⁃ … and many more general game species and birds

This one of a series of posts to document all drives and excursions during a four day stay at Thanda Safari. I hosted two guests from Germany on a Private Photo Safari with me as the guide, Bheki as the tracker and the Green Mamba 1 as the Luxury Safari Vehicle.

See also the day 1 blog:

https://sperka.info/2019/09/11/imagine-four-nights-custom-luxury-safari-at-thanda-safari-day-1/

Imagine! Four nights Custom Luxury Safari at Thanda Safari – Day 1

This is the start of a series of posts to document all drives and excursions during a four day stay at Thanda Safari. I hosted two guests from Germany on a Private Photo Safari with me as the guide, Bheki as the tracker and the Green Mamba 1 as the Luxury Safari Vehicle. The next five posts are a visual record of the great sightings and interesting experiences the guests had during their stay.

Feel free to ask any questions (as comments) or contact me at christian@sperka.com.

Enjoy the images!

Day 1 – Arrival and Frist Game Drive

The Green Mamba 1 – ready for work …
A young Kudu bull – the first sighting …
Lions on a Wildebeest kill – very exciting for a first safari …
Patience – A White-backed Vulture is waiting for the left overs …
As the sun sets an Elephant bull appears – magical …
Impressive – One of the two largest bulls on Thanda Safari …
Red Wine and G&T – The perfect drink stop just after sunset …
The Zulu Mamas were entertaining the guests at the Tented Camp – what a surprise …
Picture of the day – A Lioness just after she had her supper …

Major sightings:

⁃ Kudu

⁃ Lion (on a kill)

⁃ Elephant

⁃ Vultures

⁃ … and many more general game species and birds

A GOPRO INSIDE A LIONS MOUTH!

Hard to belief but my GoPro survived a Lion attack!

Yesterday at Thanda Safari we released two male Lions onto the reserve.

As always I was ready to take picture of the whole procedure.

I had also mounted my GoPro with velcro on top of a plastic box to set it up opposite the boma gate where the Lions would step out into freedom.

This is the most amazing GoPro video and audio footage of one of the two Lions taking my GoPro into his mouth, chewing on it and then demolishing the attached plastic box.

The GoPro survived the ordeal, the plastic box was not so lucky.

And I got the most amazing footage from INSIDE A LIONS MOUTH!

I have added my video frame screen shots at the end of video clip as these amazing images ‘fly by’ rather fast in the video itself.

Please share the story if you find it as incredible as I do. Thanks

#lion #lionmouth #liongopro #gopro #goprolion #amazinggoprostories

📷 #christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

#thandasafari @thandasafari

It has been a while …

It has been a while since I wrote my last blog post. As some of you know I was in Europe for a few weeks – for my dad’s 80th birthday – and when I returned I was very busy with one of my Custom Luxury Tours. On Friday, 28 June 2019, I got the very welcome news that my permanent residence permit for South Africa was granted. The message reached me just as I took this picture of a Kudu bull posing in front of the setting sun. I will never forget that moment!

Now I am home on Thanda and back at blogging …

I thought you might also enjoy some of my favorite pictures I took since my last post in May.

A Madagascar Day Gecko at the Zurich Zoo …
A Jellyfish at the Basel Zoo Aquarium …
Young idiots providing enrichment for the Lions at Basel Zoo …
My American friend’s first ride on Pakamisa …
A Pakamisa baby Giraffe having a drink …
A Thanda Elephant getting the best out of a branch …
Two of my best friends got married at Thanda Safari on 19 June (also my birthday 🙂 – It was a dream wedding on a beautiful winter day.
Imaging you walking down the road and this is your oncoming traffic …
Being part of a Rhino de-horning operation on Thanda as wedding present? It works if the bride is a veterinarian 🙂
A rare daytime sighting at iSimangaliso Wetland Park: A Black Rhino …
Grey-headed Gulls at Cape Vidal …
Beach ride at St.Lucia …
An Indian Ocean sunrise at St.Lucia …
A Livingstone’s Turaco at the broad walk on iSimangaliso West …
Spotted from my dinner table at a restaurant in St.Lucia – Hippos roam the streets for the little two every night …
And last but not least one of my favorite images of the bride and the groom enjoying an African sunset during the creative photo shoot after the wedding ceremony …

http://www.sperka.com

Imagine …

Imagine …

… you left your office for a short drive in nature

Imagine …

… you spend a warm summer evening on an open savanna

Imagine …

… a lite drizzle of rain and strong winds cool you down

and imagine …

… you watch a beautiful male Lion drinking, observing his surroundings and sleeping

Well, if you can imagine that then you shared one of my evenings this week 😊

Have a good weekend!

#Thandasafari @thandasafari #christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Bad Monkey – Good Monkey!

A bad monkey rampages houses, takes goods from tables, threatens women and children to give up their meals and is not afraid of humans.

A good monkey forages in the wild, avoids human habitation, is quite afraid of people and can only be observed from a distance.

And who turns a good monkey into a bad monkey: Humans … by leaving food in the open, by feeding the cute creatures and teaching them the wrong behavior.

Only a monkey that has the natural fear of humans will remain to be a safe monkey. Once a monkey has lost that fear he is no longer safe.

Please keep them safe!

PS: A troop of Vervet Monkeys is stopping most afternoons at the Thanda House gardens to feed of and around the trees. They get nowhere near the house. If they see me and if they think I saw them then they immediately disappear into the crowns of the trees. If I am around and one gets to close to the house I give a quick shout and all of them take flight. At Thanda House we keep all food in fridges or in sealed containers and keep all doors and windows closed if we are not around. Safe for us and safe for the monkeys.

This picture was taken with a 500mm lens. The little guy has not detected me yet. As soon as he heard the click of the camera and saw me he bolted.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

#Thandasafari @thandasafari

The year in twelve pictures!

It seems that the years go faster the older I get. But my mother tells me that is the ‘modern’ world around me going faster and faster. Be that as it may, this busy year went by very quickly.

Here are 12 pictures. One for each month as a reminder of an interesting and eventful time.

I wish all of you a Happy New Year 2019!

In January I took this picture of a Secretary bird during a visit to Ithala Game Reserve. One of my favourite national parks in KwaZulu Natal.

On 19 February we had over 100 mm of rain and the Thanda House waterhole was full to the rim. In my over six years at Thanda I had never seen so much water!

I call March the month of the Lions. All North pride females presented their litters to the world and all the sudden we had 10 new Lion cubs!

One of my favourite subjects to photograph are White Rhinos on the Thanda Safari savanna. I really like this shot taken in April. The savanna was still quite green at the time.

It is always very existing when a herd of Elephants appears around a corner and one has to practice driving backwards to get out of their way. On this day in May the herd was in a hurry to get to a waterhole. And so was I!

Chewing the cud. This Giraffe was supplementing its body with calcium and phosphorous from an old bone by chewing on it. This picture was taken in June, one of the winter month when this behaviour can often be observed.

I love the iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Lake St.Lucia. A boat cruise on a day in July presented many opportunities to take pictures of sparring Hippos.

Thanks again to many of you around the world who help me supporting Inkanyiso Creche in one of our local communities. In August I delivered a first batch of goodies (tables, games, pictures, …). More will follow in the new year!

A visit to Tembe Elephant Park is always worthwhile. In September I had the opportunity to visit again and I got some great Elephant and Buffalo images.

October: A bit of hanky-panky in spring. The most natural thing in the world. Making new Zebras! Note the Buffalo in the background watching with interest.

Baby animals are always cute, but little Hyena puppies win this year’s price for cuteness. Since November we had many sightings of them around their den.

Summer rains have started properly and the savanna is turning green again. Our new Cheetah males love the open areas which they share with many species. In this December image Zebras, Impalas and Rhinos are posing in the background for this Cheetah portrait.

And in case you would like to view more of my 2018 pictures just have a look at my images on Instagram – www.instagram.com/christiansperkaphotography

I will now take a few days off relaxing at Pakamisa Private Game Reserve.

I will be back in 2019 with more pictures from Thanda Safari and many other places in the South African Wild.

www.sperka.com | www.thanda.com

Eight weeks …

This is a selection of pictures documenting my work for the last eight weeks. I has been busy and interesting. I hope you will enjoy this picture collection 🙂

Bheki and I taking a selfie with Elephants …
Afternoon drinks at the waterhole …
Thanda House dam with morning mist …
Vulture take-off …
Thanda Safari’s newest Cheetah lady in front of my home (Thanda House) …
A very pleasant surprise – one of my picture on the title page of the Leading Hotels of the World 2019 Hotel Directory …
A rare sighting – this Lioness killed a Wildebeest right in front of my vehicle …
I love Hyenas – I think they are beautiful …
A second new Cheetah arrived at Thanda Safari and got a full physical exam …
Not really! The small Lion cubs had to give up their ‘hunt’ – the White Rhinos were a bit big for them – The Lion mothers watched the scene bemused from a distant …
The largest antelope on Thanda Safari – Kudus …
What a sighting – this female Leopard posted for a close-up …
Showing our guests a scorpion – Bheki finds them – I ‘host’ them for the show and tell 🙂 …
Having a nap on the dinner while the family is having dinner …
Strong colors – Violet-backed Starling bathing ….
Giraffes after Sunset …
Just too cute – a tiny baby Hyena …
Inspection – A female Village Weaver (left) inspecting the nest of a potential mate …
A bit of drone work – birds eye pictures of Thanda Safari properties from the air …
Funny chicks – Small Ostriches at Pakamisa Private Game Reserve …
Almost a dance – a Zebra fight …
My favorite picture of the last few weeks – A Black -Rhino hosting an Oxpecker …

http://www.sperka.com

#christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

Help! – My Thanda Cats Book – 2nd Edition

A few weeks ago I have finally started working on the revision of my Thanda Cats book, which is planned to be published soon.

After reviewing almost 5,000 Lion, Leopard and Cheetah images I have come up with a selection of 170 pictures which are candidates to be included in the new book. But only between 20 and 40 images will be added to the existing 90 book pages to create the new edition.

This means I could use some selection help. I would appreciate if as many of you as possible could look over the gallery with the new images and pick your favorites (not more than 20). And it would be good if you could include all three species in your choices – Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs.

Gallery Link: https://www.sperka.biz/y67

I am also looking for some great new quotes related to animals, nature, conservation or the world in general. As with the first edition each book page will include a good quote. So please forward me any quote(s) you might like.

Send your image selection and/or quotes via email to info@sperka.com. From all the ‘help emails’ I receive I will draw one ‘winner’ who will get a complimentary copy of the new book once it is published.

Thanks a lot for your help and good luck!

PS: This is a link to the PDF of the original edition in case you would like to have look: https://christiansperka.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/thanda-cats.pdf

www.thanda.com | www.sperka.com

Ten Crazy Weeks

The last ten weeks have been by far the busiest since my arrival in South Africa over six years ago. They were exciting, interesting and exhausting.

But there was no time for blogging. Nevertheless here are my twenty favorite images from this period. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

No kidding – that sign is appropriate! | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28-300mm L
A Cheetah chasing an Impala – taken during a photo shoot game drive at a Thanda Wedding in August | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
An aerial image of a painting session in the bush. Johan Falkman, a painter from Sweden, started his three month residency at Thanda Safari’s Intibane Lodge | Drone DJI Phanton IV Pro
Mariana Venter (Thanda Wildlife Manager) opens the cage for a new Cheetah lady arriving at Thanda | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
A happy day – I delivered my first set of goodies to the Inkanyiso Creche | iPhone 7 Plus
One of many images from a multi-day photo shoot at Thanda Tented Camp | Drone DJI Phanton IV Pro
A most pleasant site inspection – Thonga Beach Lodge – A fabulous place | Drone DJI Phanton IV Pro
An afternoon of relaxation at my favorite hide at Mkuze Game Reserve – Bird, birds, birds … | Canon 1D Mark – f2.8 – 300mm L
Photo shoot at Tembe Elephant Park – one of my favorite National Parks | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28-300mm
My favorite image from a two day safari with friends from Richards Bay | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
Zulu Mamas providing entertainment for a group of guests from The Netherlands – what a rare occasion to be able to take pictures of the ladies at daylight | Canon 1D Mark IV – f2.8 – 70-200mm
A few game drives with a Media Group from South Africa – The male Lions ‘performed’ beautifully | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
With a Pakamisa riding and photo group at the beach in St.Lucia – I love the place | Canon 1D Mark IV – f2.8 – 70- 200mm
The busiest week ever – I was hosting a film team at Thanda for seven days to take footage for a new brand film – these are some of the models – three Humans and a Lion | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
A community visit to my favorite homestead – the ‘master of the house’ explaining his daily schedule to the guests | iPhone 7 Plus
And another Media Group – this time from the UK – our Lions were most impressive | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
Two new male Cheetahs on the reserve – the coalition is doing well | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
Our older Cheetah male vocalizing as he met the new-comers – they went their separate ways – no harm done | Canon 1D Mark IV – f3.5-5.6 – 28- 300mm
Rutting in October – these Impala males were sparring and fighting at the wrong time of the year 🙂 | Canon 1D Mark IV – f2.8 – 300mm L
And last my favorite shot of them all – Dung Beetles at work – burrowing their ball in the ground – gone in five minutes – macro photography from a distance 🙂 | Canon 1D Mark IV – f4 – 500mm L

http://www.sperka.com

#christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography