That’s in the tree!

A Leopard. This female was feasting on the remains of an Impala kill, which she had dragged into the tree. But she lost a large part of her dinner when she dropped it and a Hyena picked it up from below the tree. When I took this picture she had only one leg left. The image was taken with a 500mm lens :-).

Quite a few of you spotted the animal. Well done!

PS: Always look for branches which grow vertically down. They are usually a tail of a Leopard 🙂

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Thanda Cats

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Watching Africa’s iconic large cats – Lion, Leopard and Cheetah – is always a special treat on any safari. But these three sighting were even more exciting than usual. First we saw Thanda’s dominant male Lion mating with the oldest female of the Mduna pride. Then we observed a young Cheetah female doing what Cheetahs ‘never do’, climbing up a tree trunk. And last but not least we sat with a relaxed and very beautiful male Leopard for quite a while, in broad day light!

A pleasure for the Thanda guests and great picture opportunities for all Wildlife photographers among them!

That’s it! – Fourteen for the Villa! (14)

I have selected fourteen images which are now hanging in two of the suites at Thanda’s Villa iZulu. These are some of my favorite images and I have prepared them in sepia to match the existing old-fashioned frames. This is the last of these images. I have also included a gallery with all fourteen pictures below. Enjoy them!

Number fourteen – The End :-): Thanda’s Dominant Male Lion

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PS: If you stay at Thanda’s Villa iZulu in the suites number 2 or 3 you can view them in the original print.

© CHRISTIAN SPERKA PHOTOGRAPHY

Fourteen for the Villa! (1)

I have selected fourteen images to be hung in two of the suites at Thanda’s Villa iZulu. These are some of my favorite images and I have prepared them in sepia to match the existing old-fashioned frames. I would like to share these images with you – one per day for the next two weeks.

Here is number one: A male Leopard!

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PS: If you stay at Thanda’s Villa iZulu in the suites number 2 or 3 you can view them in the original print.

 

 

Rosettes, Horns and a Gorgeous Bird!

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Two amazing days at Thanda! Even our most frequent safari guests were very impressed when we had Leopard and Black Rhino sightings two days in a row.

After last night’s exciting encounters with a young Leopard and three relaxed Black Rhinos (a bit of a contradiction in terms :-)), we spotted a big Leopard male early this morning and then found a quite nervous Black Rhino bull (being nervous is more standard Black Rhino behavior).

But the most exciting sighting for our guests was a Gorgeous Bush Shrike. This very colorful bird is often heard, but seldom seen (especially in good photographic condition). So after six years in which our guests were tracking this species in many different places around South Africa, yesterday Bheki and I were able to show them this beautiful creature (and we even got some decent pictures).

PS: I should mention that during their two-nights stay our guests also saw Lions, Elephants, White Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Cheetah, Black-Backed Jackal, Giraffe, Zebra, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest, Warthog and many different bird species.

20141214 - CS2_5940- T Young Male Leopard

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No camera :-) :-(

What an evening.

As I drove up to the Lodge on Friday evening  – for a meeting – a Leopard appeared around a corner in front of my vehicle and calmly walked up the road for about ten minutes, illuminated by my headlights, before settling down next to my car in the bushes.

On the way home an Aardvark crossed the road in front of me and stayed for about five minutes on the road, just sniffing around.

Now that was the good part of the evening, the bad part was that I had no camera with me. A beginner’s mistake!

But I will never forget these sightings, especially my first Aardvark on Thanda.

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These two images are of similar sightings a few years ago (with camera :-))

Not bothered!

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This was my favorite Leopard sighting since I started working at Thanda 18 month ago!

In the early morning hours we spotted this beautiful male Leopard lounging in a tree. He was quite relaxed,  mustered us for a while, had a short nap, yawned a few times and then slowly disappeared into the bush.

The reason why all the Thanda guests on my vehicle, Bheki – my tracker – and I liked this sighting so much was because this magnificent cat was not bothered by our presence and did not react to us and our vehicle, even if he was clearly aware of us. Observing animals without interfering with their behavior – my favorite kind of sighting!

At the Nashville Zoo …

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Yesterday I gave a presentation about my first year in Africa to the Nashville Zoo staff and docents. It went well. The audience enjoyed the sights from Thanda and my comments :-).

Earlier in the day I had a look at the Clouded Leopard cubs at the zoo. This youngster played with me for a while, somewhat roughly 🙂

My visit to Nashville is almost over and I enjoyed meeting with friends and visiting the zoo. Next week I will travel back to South Africa.

… and thanks to Heather I got a picture with me and the cub!

The First Wild Leopard

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Showing a Leopard to his guests is a pleasure for any field guide.

But being able to show one of these magnificent creatures to someone who has never seen a Leopard before is very special.

This happened to me on Friday evening. One of the Thanda guests on my vehicle saw her very first wild Leopard!