ECTOTHERM MONDAY – SCORPION

A (not so) friendly neighbor at the door!

The presence of *Scorpions* is one of the reasons why one should never walk around barefoot or with open shoes and never without light at night.

These small, but fierce creatures, can defend themselves by administering a painful – and in some cases deadly – sting. Any reaction usually lasts up to 10 days. For most scorpions these are usually minor and go away without complications. Severe stings can cause more pain, fever, and muscle aches for a few days.

The genus Parabuthus contains some deadly scorpions. There are a few species that are potentially life threatening and all the others will ruin your week.

If a Scorpion has a thin tail compared to its pincers then it is usually fairly harmless. If it has a thick tail and small pictures (like Patabuthus) then it is usually highly venomous.

So the one in this picture, which sat in front of my room, looks more fierce then it is 😊

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

PICTURE OF THE WEEK – ELEPHANTS AND THE ROLLING HILLS OF ZULULAND

uMkhanyakude is the name of the northernmost district in KwaZulu-Natal.

Thanda Safari – where I live and work – is located on the eastern border of this very rural district. It contains many areas of outstanding natural beauty such as the St Lucia greater wetland park, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, Tembe Elephant Park and – of course – Thanda.

The picture shows a herd of African Elephants moving thru the rolling hills of the district.

Have a good week!

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari @thandasafari

PICTURE OF THE WEEK – AFRICAN LION

The flehmen grimace is a rather comical sight produced by many male mammals. The main organ involved in the grimace is the Jacobson’s (vomeronasal) organ, in the nasal cavity just above the roof of the mouth.

The function of flehmen is to identify reproductive status of a possible sexual partners by ‘analyzing’ pheromones in the air.

To accomplish this the male will inhale a lot of air through the mouth which will then reach the Jacobson’s organ.

Have a good week!

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari @thandasafari

Happy New Year 2020

That’s it for 2019. I am on my way to Pakamisa for a few days of relaxation over the New Year’s holiday. I wish all of you a Happy New Year! My next post will be in 2020 😊

VIDEO OF THE WEEK – BLUE WILDEBEEST

Yesterday morning I took this video showing a baby Blue Wildebeest – also called Striped Gnu – standing up for the first time and following its mum. This happened only minutes after the birth.

Sorry for the shaky camera work, but I had to hand-hold a 500mm lens to get this footage.

Mother and child were running just ten minutes later. Nature is marvelous!

And, for the last time in 2019: Have a good week!

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari @thandasafari

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020

Dear Friends,

2019 was a good year for me. I got my permanent residence permit for South Africa in June. My Thanda Cats book got published in December. Many friends from all over the world visited me at Thanda. I was able to organize support for many underprivileged kids in rural Zululand. I got to help many people improving their wildlife photography, no matter if it was with a smart phone or an expensive DSLR. And, last but ot least, I spend many hours in the bush to capture the beauty of nature with my cameras.

I am looking forward to 2020 which is starting with a special trip to Europe. For January I got an invitation from very kind friends to visit their photography exhibition in Brussels, Belgium. This will also give me the opportunity to visit my family and meet up with some of my friends in Germany and Switzerland. And many more interesting projects will come throughout the year. A highlight will be my trip to Europe in April to visit my family and celebrate my mum’s 80th birthday.

I will be working (and posting) at Thanda Safari until 29 December. As last year I will spend the days over New Years at Pakamisa, which will be my 60th! stay at this beautiful place. In the first week of January I will depart for Europe.

On this 4th advent Sunday, I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2020. Thanks for all your interest in my wildlife post throughout the year.

Enjoy your Holidays!

MAMMAL FRIDAY – SOUTH AFRICAN GIRAFFE

A newborn South African Giraffe is ~1.8m (~6ft) tall. After a few hours of birth, the calf can run and is almost indistinguishable from a one-week-old.

Mothers with calves will often gather in nursery herds. In such a groups they may sometimes leave their calves with one female while they forage and drink elsewhere. This is known as a “calving pool”.

Have a pleasant weekend!

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari @thandasafari

BIRD WEDNESDAY – AFRICAN FISH EAGLE

Fish for lunch?

This *African Fish Eagle* caught his meal just in front of our boat.

For many people its distinctive and shrill cry represents the true spirit of Africa. This magnificent creature appears in the coat of arms of Namibia, Zambia, and South Sudan, as well as on the flags of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

And just in case you wondered: African Fish Eagles are related to the North American Bald Eagle and look quite alike, but they are two different species in the same genus.

They are both considered sea eagles not true eagles.

#Christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography

INKANYISO CRECHE UPDATE

Please note: Follow the Inkanyiso Creche on Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/inkanyisocreche/

The kids at the crèche had a great time since they returned from their holidays.

As they arrived back they encountered their new jungle gym. What a success! Every morning there is now a small stampede – once the crèche gates open – to get to the slides, swings and climbs.

And now they get every morning a bowl of flavored porridge with full cream milk to get them ready for the day.

But the best thing that happened last week was that Olivia joined Lungy (our crèche teacher) to help her teaching the kids. Olivia is an Australian primary school teacher who signed up as an Ulwazi volunteer (Ulwazi is Thanda Safari’s volunteer organization). She and her boyfriend Will, who is also a teacher, are in South Africa for four weeks to work with us at Thanda. Will is a very talented photographer (@willkentphotography) and works as my assistant for four weeks. If our ‘photo work schedule’ permits he also spends time with the kids at the crèche.

Lungy benefits greatly from learning modern teaching methods and how to use resources to provide a stimulating environment for the kids. It is very encouraging to see these two young people from overseas investing their time to help our rural communities.

I hope you will enjoy these few pictures from this exciting week! More updates about the next projects will come soon!

My heartfelt thanks to all friends of the Inkanyiso Crèche around the world who enable us with their donations to help these children.

Thanda Safari guests and followers on social media often ask about the possibility to help with donations. For more information contact me at christian@sperka.com.

Any donation – small or large – helps to make the life of these little ones a bit better.

Picture credits: Will Kent, Justin Van Doorene, Christian Sperka

#inkanyisocreche @inkanyisocreche #ulwaziresearch @ulwaziresearch #christiansperkaphotography @christiansperkaphotography #thandasafari @thandasafari

Imagine! Four nights Custom Luxury Safari at Thanda Safari – Day 4

Back on Thanda! Day 4 was another productive day with great sightings. The highlights of the day were two male Lions at sunrise on a newley burned area and a herd of more than 120 Cape Buffalo drinking at a waterhole as the sun set.

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

A Hyena greeted us at the start of our morning drive …
One of Thanda Safari’s Two Male Coalition …
A Kudu bull crossing the savanna…
A Lilac-breasted Roller on a power line …
Egyptian Geese in between Cape Buffalos …
Long neck …
Sunset …
Cape Buffalo …
At the waterhole …
Thanda Safari dinner entertainment …
Picture of the day: Male Lion on newly burned area …

Major sightings:

⁃ Spotted Hyena

⁃ Cape Buffalo

⁃ Lion

– Giraffe

⁃ … and many more mammal and bird species

Previous blogs:

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

https://sperka.info/2019/09/12/imagine-four-nights-at-thanda-safari-day-2/

https://sperka.info/2019/09/13/imagine-four-nights-custom-luxury-safari-at-thanda-safari-day-3/

This 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.