Photography Lessons and Safaris

Thanda Private Game Reserve offers various Photographic Lessons and Safaris.

Christian Sperka, Thanda’s resident wildlife photographer will tailor any lesson or safari to the individual needs of our guests. In the last three years over 650 guests, from photography beginners to experienced photography enthusiasts have benefited from Christian’s experience and the great photographic opportunities on Thanda.

Wether you only want to spend 90 minutes – to get your camera set up properly and to get some basic instructions to improve your wildlife photography – or if you want to spend one or all of your game drives with Christian to improve your skills and to get great wildlife images, we offer the right solution.

Please select from this ‘photographic’ menu. We recommend that you book these programs at the same time as you book your accommodation. You can also book them during your stay, subject to availability at the time. Please note that these sessions are only available to guests staying two nights or more. Please contact reservations@thanda.co.za for bookings.

Feel free to contact Christian directly at christian@thanda.co.za or via the contact form below if you would like to have a chat about the different options and the best solution for you.

Photography 1
1 Wildlife Photography Lesson

It is not enough to talk about your African experience, because some of the experiences you’ll have will seem completely unbelievable to others. That’s why your trip requires visual evidence, and photographs communicate what words can’t. Thanda’s resident wildlife photographer, Christian Sperka, is an expert in the art of catching the perfect moment. In a complimentary 90-minute session, he’ll teach you how to set up your digital camera for wildlife photography and introduce you to the art of motion photography, ensuring you capture the very best of your stay.
Target audience: From photography beginners to photography enthusiasts
Content: How to set up your camera? / What are the basic rules for wildlife photography? / What makes a good wildlife image?
Equipment recommendation: Point and shoot cameras, bridge cameras, mirror-less system cameras or Digital SLRs
Duration: Approximately 90 minutes in between game drives
Costs: Complimentary

Photography 2
2 Wildlife Photography ‘Professional Chat’

If you are an experienced photography enthusiast or even a professional photographer you will enjoy a chat with Christian on his experience with wildlife photography at Thanda.
Target audience: Experienced photography enthusiasts and professional photographers
Content: Discuss with Christian his style and methods of motion photography
Equipment recommendation: No equipment required
Duration: 60-120 minutes in between game drive
Costs: Complimentary

Photography 3
3 Thanda Kids @ Animal and Wildlife Photography

A fun photography session to teach the youngest wildlife photographers new skills and tricks.
Target audience: Children – age 6+
Content: How to take great animal and wildlife image?
Equipment recommendation: Smart phones/tablets and ‘point and shoot’ cameras
Duration: Approximately 45 minutes in between game drives
Costs: Complimentary

Photography 4
4 Bush Photography Session

Ideal for those looking to put into practice out in the bush what they have learned during the Wildlife Photography Lesson (above). The session includes a morning or evening game drive in a private safari vehicle.
Target audience: From photographic beginners to experienced photography enthusiasts and professional photographers
Content: This safari starts with a 90 minute wildlife photography lesson(or a ‘professional chat’)  and then continues with a three hour game drive focusing on Christian’s wildlife photography methods, with the use of a private safari vehicle
Equipment recommendation: Bridge cameras, mirror-less system  cameras or digital SLRs
Duration: Four to five hours including an evening or a morning game drive (evening game drive is preferable)
Costs: R 2500 per game drive | includes private safari vehicle | up to six guests

Photography 5
5 Private Photography Vehicle

For serious photo enthusiasts this is the only real way to do photographic safaris. Being in control of the agenda and being guided by Thanda’s resident wildlife photographer (he is also an experienced field guide) creates great opportunities for excellent images.
Target audience: Experienced photography enthusiasts and professional photographers
Content: This safari includes two game drives (evening/morning) with the use of a private safari vehicle – the photography safari content is tailored based on guest requirements
Equipment recommendation: Bridge cameras, mirror-less system cameras or digital SLRs
Duration: Two times three hours (evening and morning game drives)
Costs: R 4400 (2016:R 4500) for two game drives per vehicle | includes private safari vehicle | for up to six guests

Photography 6
6 Photographic Bird Hide Experience I

Three of the most advanced photographic bird hides in the world have been built only 45 minutes away from Thanda. Visit one of these hides accompanied by Christian Sperka (for advice/instructions). Please be aware that these hides are purpose-built for photography. The photographers sit in an eye-water-level hide behind a special one-way-visible-glass in an air-conditioned environment. They are not ideal for birders who want to observe sound and observe birds in many different settings.
Target audience: Photography enthusiasts and professional photographers
Content: This excursion includes the transfers to the photographic bird hides, a three hour session at one of the ‘reflection pool hides’.
Equipment recommendation: Digital SLRs with min. 300mm lens (tripods with gimbles are provided at the hides)
Duration: Five hours (replacing one game drive | evening or morning)
Costs: R 2900 for the first guest | R 2400 for each additional guest | up to three guests
Click here if you would like to review some of the images taken by Christian at the photographic hides

Photography 7
7 Photographic Bird Hide Experience II 

Visit two of the most advanced photographic bird hides accompanied by Christian Sperka (providing his advice/instructions). Please be aware that these hides are purpose-built for photography. The photographers sit in on eye-water-level hide behind a special one-way-visible-glass in an air-conditioned environment. They are not ideal for birders who want to listen for bird sounds and observe birds in many different settings.
Target audience: Experienced photography enthusiasts and professional photographers
Content: This excursion includes the transfers to the photographic bird hides, one three hour session at one of the ‘reflection pool hides’ and a three hour session at the ‘lagoon hide’, accompanied by Christian Sperka (for advise/instruction).
Equipment recommendation: Digital SLRs with min. 300mm lens (tripods with gimbles are provided at the hides)
Duration: Two times five hours (replacing two game drive | evening and morning)
Costs: R 5500 for the first guest | R 4500 for each additional guest | up to three guests
Click here if you would like to review some of the images taken by Christian at the photographic hides

Photography 8
8 Mkhuze Hides and Birds I

Mkhuze’s kuMasinga hide is a great experience for birders and non-birders, photographers and non-photographers. It is visited every day by hundreds of animals and a large number of bird species. The animals get very close to the hide.
Target audience: From photography beginners to experienced photography enthusiasts, birders and wildlife enthusiasts
Content: This excursion includes the transfer to the kuMasinga hide at Mkhuze Game Reserve, a four hour session at kuMasinga, one of the most productive hides in South Africa, accompanied by Christian Sperka (for advise/instruction). A packed breakfast is included. Nikon binoculars are provided for guest use.
Equipment recommendation: Bridge cameras, mirror-less system system cameras or digital SLRs
Duration: Half day excursions replacing a morning game drive
Costs: R 1900 for one vehicle with up to three guests | R 1700 for an extra vehicle with up to three more guests
Click here if you would like to review some of the images taken by Christian at the kuMasinga Hide and at Nsumo Pan

Photography 9
9 Mkhuze Hides and Birds II

Mkhuze’s kuMasinga hide and the Nsumo pan are great experiences for birders and serious photographers. They are visited every day by hundreds of animals and a large number of bird species. At Nsumo pan the animals(including Hippos and Crocodiles) are a great distance from the outlooks and long lenses are required for satisfactory photography results.
Target audience: From serious wildlife photographers and serious birders
Content: This excursion includes the transfers to the kuMasinga hide and the Nsumo pan at Mkhuze Game Reserve, a four hour session at kuMasinga, one of the most productive hides in South Africa, and a four hour session at Nsumo Pan. The excursion is accompanied by Christian Sperka (for advise/instruction). A packed breakfast and a picnic lunch are included. Nikon binoculars are provided for guest use.
Equipment recommendation: Digital SLRs with 400mm+ lens
Duration: Full day excursion replacing a morning and an evening drive
Costs: R 2900 for up to three guests | R 2400 for an extra vehicle with up to three more guests
Click here if you would like to review some of the images taken by Christian at the kuMasinga Hide and at Nsumo Pan

Photography 10
10 Photo Shoot in the Bush

Whether on honeymoon, away with your family or with just your loved one, this is for all those who would like a photo shoot and some fun portraits professionally taken of them in the bush. Exchanging one of the evening game drives for the 90-minute photo shoot, you will enjoy photos taken in a variety of locations and backgrounds. The shoot includes transport (SUV), photographer and delivery of images in high resolution, downloadable from a password-protected library.
Please contact
christian@thanda.co.za to discuss detailed possibilities.
Duration: 90 minutes
Costs: R 2500 per photo shoot for up to three guests

Photography 11
11 Photo Shoot during a Game Drive

Similar to the above, but includes a photo session during a 3-hour game drive, a private safari vehicle, a photographer/guide and a Zulu tracker as well as an online download library with the high-resolution images of the photo shoot.
Please contact
christian@thanda.co.za to discuss detailed possibilities.
Duration: Three hours
Costs: R 4500 per vehicle/photo shoot for up to eight guests

Photography 12
12 Wild Wedding Photography Package
For those tying the knot in the safari surrounds, this package includes the coverage of the wedding day (from the bride’s preparation to the evening reception), a photo shoot in the bush following the wedding ceremony, the coverage of the wedding party’s game drives and a high-resolution portfolio (at least 150 images). Photos will be delivered via an online password-protected image gallery. All photos are provided royalty-free. This service is offered to wedding couples booking any one of the three wedding packages.
Please contact
christian@thanda.co.za to discuss detailed possibilities.
Costs: R 10000 per wedding

All photography services listed above are provided by Christian Sperka Photography. Christian is the resident wildlife photographer at Thanda Private Game Reserve. He works as a Specialist Photography and Field Guide on Thanda and also teaches wildlife photography at the reserve. Christian teaches photography according to his “Basic Rules of Wildlife/Motion Photography” under the motto “keep it simple”. Since 2001, he has travelled the world photographing animals in game reserves of South Africa and Namibia, the jungles of Costa Rica, in Yellowstone National Park in the USA, as well as zoos in Europe and the United States. His work has been featured in wildlife magazines, books and many zoo publications.

* Please note: Prices are subject to change without prior notice.

Photography Program Inquiry