My real office!

I was a bit tired of working in the office in front of my PCs so I decided to go on an afternoon photo drive with my Green Mamba 1.

The result was amazing: Lions – Elephants – Rhinos – Buffalo – Zebras – Wildebeests. This is a collection of just one picture for each of these species – I got many more from just one afternoon on Thanda.

That’s my real office!

A young male Lion watching Cape Buffalo in the evening light …
A Cape Buffalo watching me in the evening light 🙂 …
In heavy wind White Rhinos are rather nervous …
An Elephant herd is an impressive sight, especially when seen in the open …
A young Zebra leaving a waterhole with his mum …
And last but not least a very young Wildebeest staying close to its mother …

And a bonus Lion picture of Thanda’s dominant male Lion …

www.sperka.info  |  www.thanda.com

 

Incredible South African Bush Experiences

In the last few month I had organized some very special safari experiences for overseas guests. I really enjoy arranging and hosting these customized trips with Thanda Safari (my work place and home in South Africa) as the center piece of each program.

It started in September 2017 with a seven day photo safari. A lady from Switzerland wanted to learn wildlife photography properly and we had customized lessons every day using the Green Mamba 1 (my luxury photography vehicle) for the bush sessions. Bheki and I enjoyed this immensely and I am proud to say that my student wants to come back to Thanda Safari this year for additional advanced lessons.

Then followed a nine day program at Pakamisa and Thanda for a couple from Nashville. This was their first safari and they had a fabulous time on both reserves experiencing the African bush and learning about my way of doing wildlife photography. What a pleasure it was to host two people with such passion for wildlife.

In November I was the guide and photographer for a very special group (6 guests) from the USA. I had organized a 12 day trip to Ngala, Sabi Sabi, Pakamisa, Phinda and Thanda. The whole group was amazed about the variation in accommodation and surroundings and this extraordinary way to experience the African Wild.

And over New Year I was hosting a couple from Switzerland experiencing Thanda, Pakamisa and St.Lucia/iSimangaliso at the Serene Estate Boutique Guest House. It was their first safari trip  to some of the most stunning locations KwaZulu Natal has to offer. And I was having a good time taking all the pictures to document their stay.

This is a ‘two-pictures-a-day’ record of the last one of these trips. I  will also post pictures from all the other programs in the next few weeks. I hope you will enjoy the images and the stories. In case anyone is interested in one of my customized programs please send an email to info@sperka.com.


30 December 2017 – 10 January 2018

The first game drive from Thanda Safari Lodge.
An encounter with White Rhino.
Zebras at sunrise in exquisite morning light.
Hard tracking work to find a male Cheetah.
An incredible sunrise on New Year’s morning with the Lebombo Mountains as backdrop.
Observing this little one having a good scratch.
Having a photo session with Thanda Safari’s dominant male Lion.
Arriving at Pakamisa Private Game Reserve for horseback safaris, bush walking, clay pigeon shooting, superb food and relaxation.
Climbing the mountain behind the lodge for an exciting walk ending with drinks at sun down.
An day excursion to Ithala Game Reserve for fabulous scenery.
With some very special species – like this Secretary bird or …
… this Blue-cheeked Bee-eater.
Back at Pakamisa for the first horseback safari.
Exciting close encounters.
Off to St.Lucia to stay at the very unique Serene Estate Boutique Guest House.
Experiencing the iSimangaliso Wetland Park – first the west side with Waterbuck,
… Buffalo. and many other species.
And then the eastern shore with a bull Elephant as the highlight of the morning.
A stop at the beautiful beach at Cape Vidal for a first dip into the Indian Ocean.
With a few Monkeys to observe the picnic lunch near the beach.
Two (morning and an evening) Hippo and Croc tours on the estuary with Hippos, Crocodiles and …
… many bird species. These are mating Broad-billed Weavers.
A midday walk where the estuary meets the ocean with its formidable waves.
An incredible night safari with Chameleons, Porcupine, Hyena and grazing Hippos.
And a Monkey to send us on our way to Durban Airport on the last morning.

http://www.thanda.com

http://www.pakamisa.com

http://www.serene-estate.co.za

http://www.sperka.info

Lake St.Lucia boat tours and iSimangaliso night safari by http://www.shakabarker.co.za

In case you are interested here is the detailed agenda:

Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 1  (Arrival) – 30 Dec
– Evening game drive
– Dinner at the Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 2 – 31 Dec
– Morning game drive with a special Rhino conservation activity
– Evening game drive
– New Year’s Eve dinner at Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 3 – 1 Jan
– Morning game drive
– Thanda luxury spa experience
– Evening game drive
– Dinner at the Thanda Safari Lodge
Day 4 – 2 Jan
– Morning game drive
– Drive to …
Pakamisa Private Game Reserve
– Evening bush walk
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 5 – 3 Jan
– Morning bush walk and stable visit
– Evening bush walk
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 6 – 4 Jan
– Excursion to Ithala Game Reserve
Day 7 – 5 Jan
– Morning horseback safari
– Clay pigeon shooting
– Dinner at the Pakamisa
Day 8 – 6 Jan
– Morning horseback safari
– Drive at iSimangaliso Wetland Park (western shore) to
Serene Estate Boutique Guest House St.Lucia
– Dinner at Reef and Dune, St.Lucia (phone 035 590 1048)
ay 9 – 7 Jan
– Drive at iSimangaliso Wetland Park (eastern shore)
– Picnic lunch at Cape Vidal (Indian Ocean)
– Dinner at Ocean Basket, St.Lucia (phone 035 590 1241)
Day 10 – 8 Jan
– Morning boat cruise on Lake St.Lucia (Estuary)
– Sunset boat cruise on Lake St.Lucia (Estuary)
– Dinner at Reef and Dune St.Lucia
Day 11 – 9 Jan
– Morning to relax
– Lunch at St.Lucia Ski Boat Club (phone 035 590 1376 – 12-6:30pm only)
– Night safari in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Day 12 – 10 Jan (Departure)
– Transfer to Durban King Shaka International Airport

A real beauty!

I love this image of a Thanda Safari Lioness which I took on Friday – a real Lion beauty …

… and sorry for not blogging for a while. I was extremely busy over the last few weeks but I promise a detailed post with many pictures soon!

Have a great week!

White last night – Black this morning!

Over the last few days we had some incredible sightings on Thanda. But these are two of my favorite images from ten exciting game drives.

A White Rhino Bull last night and a Black Rhino this morning.

More soon …

#christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari #whiterhino #blackrhino #rhino

Just now …

Just now – for the first time in the last two weeks – I had a chance to think about a blog message. I thought you might enjoy a summary of all my Instagram images posted since my last blog post on 29 August, And I have included four new bonus images for all my blog followers 🙂

Let’s start with the ‘bonus material’ …

… our oldest Cheetah boy enjoying a drink at Thanda Safari’s Villa iZulu waterhole (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 4/500mm L) …
… a Thanda Lioness flehmen (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 4/500mm L) …
… a Burchell’s Zebra hosting 15! Red-billed Oxpeckers at the same time (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 3.5-5.6/28-300mm L at 235mm) …
… Thanda’s dominant male Lion at the end of the terrestrial twilight (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 3.5-5.6/28-300mm L at 210mm / f5.6 / 1/30s / ISO 6400) …

… and now the images published on Instagram …

… a young female Rhino denying the advances of a male (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 3.5-5.6/28-300mm L at 300mm) …
… Egyptian Geese mating (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 3.5-5.6/28-300mm L at 300mm) …
… the bliss of mud-bath (Canon 5D Mark IV / EF 4.5-5.6/100-400mm LII at 220mm) …
… one of Thanda’s largest Elephant bulls feeding (iPhone 7 Plus) …
… two baby Scrub Hares (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 4/500mm L / ISO 3200 / -1EV / 1/500s / f/4) …
… the view from the Thanda Safari Lodge as the mist rises in the early morning
(iPhone 7 Plus) …
… an awesome White Rhino sighting (iPhone 7 Plus – using the 2x optical zoom – still pretty close 🙂 ) …
… Buffalo yoga at the bush spa (Canon 5D Mark IV / EF 4.5-5.6/100-400mm LII at 180mm)
… Moon and Sun in the same picture – and Bheki 🙂 (iPhone 7 Plus) …
… a little Ellie protected by the herd (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 3.5-5.6/28-300mm L at 90mm)
… Thanda’s young male Lion – ready to mate (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 4/500mm L) …
… Cheetah at sunset (Canon 1D Mark IV – EF 2.8/300mm L) …

I hope you enjoyed the selection. Have a good week.

www.sperka.info | www.thanda.com

The Montagues and Capulets


As in Romeo and Juliet this Lioness has no way to get united with her Romeo. As one can see in the video the young female is in esterous and is keen to mate, but the fences between two game reserve prevent the males from getting to here (the roars in the background are from the males on the neighboring reserve).

The lady is obviously not interested in the perfectly good dominant male on her side of the reserve. The grass seems always greener on the other side of the fence.

Enjoy the video and your week!

Video by Christian Sperka, Resident Wildlife Photographer Thanda Safari

May and June

In the last weeks I did not have a lot of time to blog. But over the last few days I worked on a lot of images (sorting/filing/deleting/editing a few thousand) and I thought you might like to see some of my favorite shots from May and June 2017 which I took at Thanda Safari.

The Big Five, Cheetah, Hyena and more …

Enjoy them!

Big boy …
Bigger boy …
Close …
Closer …
On camera – twice! …
Down the road …
Follow up …
Incredibly strong …
Breakfast …
A good fight …
Just caught …
Almost no light, but still very special indeed …
iPhone 7 plus 2x distance 🙂 …
Me and The Green Mamba 1 – More information at https://sperka.info/gm/

Pictures information for the photographers among you:

  1. 10 June – Small Elephant – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 300mm
  2. 11 May – Large Elephant – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 85mm (DoF-PP)
  3. 30 May – Small Lion – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 85mm
  4. 28 May – Me (Mirror) and Hyena – iPhone 7 Plus
  5. 9 June – Vulture – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 270mm
  6. 30 May – Pride of Lions – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 105mm
  7. 2 June – Cheetah – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 250mm (DoF-PP)
  8. 5 June – Bark Spider – iPhone 7 Plus
  9. 28 May – Hyena on Kill – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 90mm (DoF-PP)
  10. 28 May – Giraffes fighting – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 235mm
  11. 12 May – Leopard with Nyala kill – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 300mm
  12. 20 May – White Rhino with new-born calf – Canon 1D Mark IV with 28-300L at 105mm
  13. 8 June – Cape Buffalo bull – iPhone 7 Plus (2x magnification)
  14. 28 May Me with my Canon 1D Mark IV and the Canon 28-300L lens sitting in the Green Mamba 1 – iPhone 7 Plus

Note: DoF-PP = depth of field change in post processing