OUTLOOK

This Black-backed Jackal used one of the Kruger NP sign blocks as a lookout.

Tihongonyeni Waterhole, Tropic of Capricorn Road S-143 | Kruger National Park

#ChristianSperkaPhotography #ChristianSperka #Kruger #KrugerNationalPark #KrugerSouthToNorth #KrugerNorth #KrugerSouthAfrica #ExploreKruger

@ChristianSperkaPhotography

@SperkaChristian

TAKE OFF

African Fish Eagle taking off after a bath and a drink

Lake Panic, Kruger National Park

#ChristianSperkaPhotography #ChristianSperka #Kruger #KrugerNationalPark #KrugerSouthToNorth #KrugerNorth #KrugerSouthAfrica #ExploreKruger

@ChristianSperkaPhotography

@SperkaChristian

Kruger National Park – From South to North and back …

I am sure that many of you have heard of the famous Kruger National Park (KNP) in the North-Eastern part of South Africa. This large nature reserve is about the same size as the country of Israel and measures approximately 360km (220miles) from North to South.

Since my first time in South Africa almost 20 years ago I always wanted to explore KNP all the way up North. But during all my visits over the years I always ‘got stuck’ in the South exploring its game rich areas and spending a lot of time at my favourite hide at Lake Panic.

A few weeks ago I decided that it was time to get the job done properly, drive up all the way North, and experience the various ecological zones with its varying fauna and flora.

I reserved 10 days for this trip, booked accommodation in various rest camps, packed all my photographic gear, signed off from social media and the internet and started my KNP adventure.

Because of recent heavy rainfalls and subsequent floods I had to travel mainly on the tar-roads (H-roads in KNP terms). But I was compensated, with incredible vistas of overflowing rivers which are usually dry, with waterfalls at places where usually a little creek winds its way down a hillside, and with lush green grassland areas instead of yellow/brown savannas.

I experienced the many changing landscapes from the open areas in the centre of the reserve to the Mopani forests in the Northern part. The North is a great place for tree lovers with its many species including my favourite tree, the Baobab.

I am planning to come back to do the same trip in Winter (June/July) to experience the differences in the various areas and drive more of the dirt roads.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of the pictures which I took while exploring this beautiful part of South Africa.

If you have any questions about the trip please post them as comments or send me an email to info@sperka.com.

I hope you will enjoy them!

PS: I am now back home on Thanda Safari (www.thanda.com) and back on social media, instant messaging, email and the Internet. But I very much enjoyed my two weeks of using my iPhones and my iPad only as cameras and audio book players. It was very relaxing!

#ChristianSperkaPhotography #ChristianSperka #Kruger #KrugerNationalPark #KrugerSouthToNorth #KrugerNorth #KrugerSouthAfrica #ExploreKruger

Some trip information in case your are interested:

  • Total distance travelled = 3,333km (from Thanda and back, driven in my own Toyota Fortuner)
  • Total time spent in the park = 208 hours ~ 8.6 days
  • Daily morning start time: 4:45am (Rest camps’ gates open at 5:30am at this time of the year)
  • Overnight rest camps used = Skukuza, Satara, Mopani, Punta Maria, Olifants, Pretoriuskop
  • Entry gate used = Kruger Gate
  • Exit gate used = Numbi Gate
  • Rest camps visited during the day = Lower Sabie, Letaba, Shingwezi, Orpen
  • Furthest point North = Pafuri Gate
  • Furthest point South = Lower Sabie Bridge
  • Favourite rest camp location = Letaba Rest Camp
  • Favourite restaurant in the park = Kruger Station, Skukuza Rest Camp
  • Most productive major road = H-10 between Lower Sabie and Tshokwane
  • Most productive dirt road = S143 (Tropic of Capricorn) with the Tihongonyeni waterhole
  • Favourite hide = Lake Panic Hide near Skukuza Rest Camp
  • Favourite outlook point = Nkumbe outlook on the H-10
  • Game drives with local guides in an open safari vehicles = 2 hour night drive at Mopani Rest Camp, 3 hour evening drive at Punda Maria Rest Camp, 2 hour night drive at Olifants Rest Camp
  • Favourite tree = Baobab
  • Favourite bird sighting = Grey-hooded Kingfisher at Lake Panic
  • Favourite mammal sighting = Lion interaction on the S-50 road South of Mopani Rest Camp
  • Favourite reptile sighting = Two fighting Crocodiles at the low bridge at the Shipandani hide
  • Favourite sunrise location = Low-bridge over the Olifants river
  • Life-list bird sightings = Grey-headed Kingfisher, Yellow-crowned Bishop, Fan-tailed Widowbird, Rock Kestrel, Square-tailed Nightjar, Montagu‘s Harrier
  • First time mammals = Roan Antelope, Southern African Springhare (Krugeroo)
  • Total number mammal species identified: 31
  • Total number bird species identified: 112
  • Camera equipment used = 2 x Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, 1 x Canon EOS 6D Mark II, Canon L-Lenses: f4/500mm, f2.8/300mm, f4-5.6/70-300mm, f2.8/24-70mm, f4/17-40mm, 1.4x Converter, Manfrotto Tripod, iPhone Xs MAX

And these are few ‘trip photos‘:

Trip map …
My ‘work place’ …
Having a rest …
My trip mascot (Ground Hornbill) …
Lunch view – Letaba River …
Crossings the Tropic of Capricorn …
Having a drink at Red Rocks …
Turn around …
Flooded bridges (this one over the Olifants River) …
A common sighting ..
At Lake Panic hide (still my favorite place in KNP) …
Olifants river at sunset …
Green KNP …
Human made waterholes …
Very close …
Water everywhere (this is a picture of the banks of the Sabie river) …
A Woolies’ lunch on the Sabie river …
Very relaxed …
Wet morning drives …
I love hides …
Many beautiful sunrises …

Ulwazi 2019 – a very special way to experience the South African wilderness

A perfect way to experience the South African wilderness ‘hands-on’ is to spend a few weeks on Thanda as a volunteer.

Thanda Safari’s volunteer organization is called ULWAZI. They have just released their program dates for 2019:  https://ulwaziresearch.com/dates-rates/

For more general information go to https://ulwaziresearch.com/ or send an email to ulwazi@thanda.co.za.

PS: My oldest niece and two of her friends participated in the program last year and loved it!

PPS: And I provide free photography lessons to all volunteers 🙂

Europe 2017

Family | Friends | Lunches | Dinners | Ballet | Spring | Basel Zoo
Snow | Monet | Rodin | Zululand Presentation | Alps | Beyeler

What a trip!

These are a few pictures from my trip to Germany and Switzerland. I have arrived on 25 April and I will leave on 8 May (next Monday). Being with my family and many friends is great. I enjoy every minute even if my scale will tell a tough story once I get home 🙂

25 April – Arrival in Switzerland … (iPhone 6Plus)

26 April – Snow in April at my parents’ house … (iPhone 7Plus)

27 April – Dinner in Bad Saeckingen with my brothers and friends – just opposite the church … (iPhone 7 plus)

28 April – Presentation about ‘ZULULAND – Wildlife and People in South Africa’ in Switzerland … (Pictures by Peter K. Weber)

29 April – Lunch at one of my favorite restaurants – ‘The Old Swiss House’ in Lucerne, Switzerland (with my favorite Schnitzel dish) … (iPhone 7 Plus)

30 April – A sunny day with a beautiful view of the Alps … (iPhone 7 Plus)

1 May – An excellent ballet evening at the Zurich Opera House – world class performance… (iPhone 7 Plus)

1 May – ‘Quintett’ Ballet at the Zurich Opera House … (iPhone 7 Plus)

2 Mai – A freshly picked blooming peony – Spring is on the way… (iPhone 7 Plus)

3 May – Enjoying a ‘Monet’ exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation near Basel (me with one of my favorite Monet paintings)… (iPhone 7 Plus)

3 Mai – Rodin and Monet – two of my favorites …. (iPhone 7 Plus)

4 Mai – A visit at the Basel Zoo – their new Elephant exhibit is impressive… (Canon 1D Mark IV)

4 May – What a colorful bird from Australia … (Canon 1D Mark IV)

4 May – A restaurant with a view at the Basel Zoo … (Canon 1D Mark IV)

… and for the food lovers among you here a list of just a few dishes from all the lunches and dinners, so far …

  • Creamy asparagus soups
  • Mushroom and vegetable risottos
  • Local venison with hand-made ‘Spaetzle’
  • ‘Old Swiss House’ veal schnitzel with noodles
  • Peking Duck
  • Local beef, cooked to perfection, with roasted potatoes and salad
  • ‘Zurich Geschnetzeltes’ with roesti
  • German sausage salad
  • Home made spaghetti bolognese
  • ‘Muinch Weisswuerste’ with fresh pretzels
  • ‘Meringue Glace’
  • ‘Panna Cotta’
  • Pavlova with raspberries and passion fruit

I love health food 🙂

More to come ….

 

Deutschland/Schweiz – Germany/Switzerland 2017

As every year I am visiting my family and friends in Germany and Switzerland in April/May.

This year a small town in Switzerland has invited me to give a presentation about “ZULULAND – Wildlife and the People in South Africa”. This is a public event on 28 April and anyone is welcome at the presentation. I will talk about my life and my work in South Africa and show some of my pictures. The presentation I will be in German … 🙂  .

I am also planning to be in the Zurich Zoo on one of my days in Europe and I happy to meet and chat with any of my social media followers. I will announce the date for this a bit later.

And now in German…

Wie jedes Jahr besuche ich meine Familie und Freunde in Deutschland und der Schweiz im April/Mai.

Dieses Jahr hat mich eine kleine Gemeinde in der Schweiz (Schlossrued) eingeladen, einen Vortrag zum Thema “ZULULAND – Tierwelt und Menschen in Suedafrika” zu halten. Dies ist eine oeffentliche Veranstaltung und jederman ist willkommen. Ich erzaehle ueber mein Leben und meine Arbeit in Suedafrika und zeige einige meiner Bilder. (Den Vortrag halte ich in Deutsch). 

Ausserdem plane ich einen Besuch im Zoo in Zurich. Ich treffen mich gerne zu einer Unterhaltung mit Social Media Followers (fiel mir keine gute Uebersetzung ins Deutsche ein :-). Das Datum hierfuer gebe ich ein wenig spaeter bekannt.

Looking forward to seeing some of you in Europe 🙂

2016 Travel Journal – Days 27 to 31 – Pakamisa

Me and Thanda - This young horse is named 'Love' the same as my home game reserve ...
Thanda and me – This young horse is named ‘Love’ in isiZulu the same as my home – Thanda Safari – Private Game Reserve.

I spent at few days – including my birthday – at one of my favorite places – Pakamisa Private Game Reservehttp://www.pakamisa.com.

Pakamisa, as most of KwaZulu Natal, is still suffering under the very dry weather conditions. There has not been any substantial rain for a long time and this winter (dry season) will continue to be very difficult for “man and beast”. It is not the lack of water but the lack of food which is the major threat to grazing species during a drought. Pakamisa is now supplementing food to help its grazer population to survive the winter.

These are a few pictures I took during this relaxing stay. I have a few more days to myself before I will be back to work at Thanda Safari!

 

2016 Travel Journal – Days 17,18 and 19

There and back again!

Day 17 – QI lunch on the terrace

As many of you know I normally do not watch TV, and certainly no quiz shows. But there is an exception – it is a BBC 2 show hosted by Stephen Fry called QI (‘quite interesting’). All episodes are available online on YouTube. It is a great combination of British humor and many interesting facts about ‘all-sorts’. I watch episodes on my iPhone 6 Plus when I have a bit of spare time.

One of the pictures below shows my delicious ‘QI lunch’ on the terrace of my parents’ house in Germany – with poopy seed rolls, Bündnerfleisch (dried Swiss meat), Emmentaler cheese and Fleischkäse (traditional German lunch meat), followed by some of my mum’s superb poppy seed cake.

Day 18 – Last day in Europe

Today was my last day in Germany – tomorrow morning I will leave from Zurich, Switzerland, to South Africa.

I spend a bit of time in the town of Bad Saeckingen, having a look at the cathedral and the old wooden bridge crossing the Rhine river. I grew up in this area and I went to school there for nine years – a long time ago 🙂

PS: My today’s flight to South Africa got cancelled. Now I flying on a day-flight tomorrow morning – which I am looking forward to – seeing Africa from the sky during the day 🙂

Day 19 – Over the African continent

I enjoyed my trip over the African continent. I departed Zurich around eight in the morning and I landed after dark in Johannesburg.

This very good flight marked the end of an excellent Europe trip. As every year the highlight was seeing all my family and friends (and gaining a few kilos while having many excellent lunches and dinners). Thanks!

Picture marked with a * were taken with my iPhone 6 Plus or my iPhone 5s

2016 Travel Journal – Day 14, 15, 16 & 17

Keep travelling …

Day 14 – The wet weather did not stop me enjoying my day at the Zoo in Arth Goldau, Switzerland, which features many indigenous species. And on the evening of the same day I was invited by good friends to a superb dinner at their home. We started with pate de foie-gras de canard with brioche and Austrian red wine salt, followed by an Asian vichyssoise with five spices duck breast. As the main course we had thinly slices veal filets with port wine tomato cream sauce and lentil pancakes and we finished the meal with a rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb vanilla yoghurt timbale, chocolate covered strawberries on a strawberry coulis, accompanies by grand mangier and cherry amaretti. A night to remember!

Day 15 – My yearly visit to the Zoo in Basel, Switzerland, which is located in the center of town; this zoo is providing a beautiful oasis to relax.

Day 16 – On the way to meet more Swiss friends in Sempach, Switzerland, I stopped at the Schloss (Castle) Heidegg. It is a beautiful place in the middle of a vineyard with an amazing rose garden. The large collection of roses was started after a visit of Germany’s first post-war-chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in 1951. He remarked during his visit at the castle, that a place as beautiful as this should have roses!

Good friends, who have recently visited me at Thanda, invited me for an evening at their home in Switzerland. Their house is one of the most spectacular and most unusual private places I have ever visited. It manages to be very modern, but very comfortable at the same time!

Day 17 – After a few days travel I now am back at my parents place in Germany. Heavy rains all day make me very envious (as we could use all this water at home in South Africa), but I enjoy sitting on the covered 🙂 terrace, having a drink and reading a book.

2016 Travel Journal – Day 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13

A few more exciting days in Europe. I visited the Zürich Zoo, I enjoyed Gregorian Vespers Chants and beautiful architecture at the Einsiedeln Abbey, I had more excellent lunches and dinners with friends and family, and I have visited my ‘2000-2007 home town’ of Zofingen in Switzerland over the weekend.

Enjoy the images – more to come!