It was an all-star cast…

…Rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, lions – you name it. Passionate conservationists. Researchers studying animal behaviors. Volunteers from every corner of the globe, eager to make a difference. Guides tracking animal prints in the dusty savanna. Local children singing gospel songs with big open smiles. Thirsty warthogs drinking cheekily from the swimming pool. And friends enjoying a braai together under a vast African sky. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. In fact, to illustrate this case in point – the name ‘Thanda’ means ‘love’ in Zulu. Fancy that.

And so, it is with a knot of nostalgia that I finally close this chapter of my trip (in a literary sense) and share with you a selection of my photos from my time at Thanda Private Game Reserve as an African Wildlife Photography and Conservation volunteer.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

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229 Responses to It was an all-star cast…

  1. schwermanator says:

    Rad. This makes me also really uber sad too :( our time has come :'(
    Nice flicks to zoe!

  2. nikki Staadt says:

    In these photos Bo, you managed to give the animals ‘personalities’, making them even more familiar and endearing! Thank you for sharing your adventure and taking me to places i have never been and may never go. love mumx

  3. Love love LOVE these shots — my fave is the elephant pic. So fun!
    :)

  4. Wow!! These photos are just unreal! I LOVE the one of the 2 cheetahs…so cute. :)

    You are a brilliant photographer! Honestly! And congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!!

  5. shoes says:

    Wow! Amazing pictures. Please tell me what make that curvy line in the dusty road.

  6. WoW!

    Thank you for sharing!

  7. Cathy says:

    All your pictures are nice especially the cheetahs. Cute! :D

  8. Lakia Gordon says:

    I love animals! Thanks for sharing.

  9. You are an AMAZING photographer! What a blessing to have been able to experience all of that. My boyfriend and I want to travel to Africa, perhaps Kenya, and experience the culture and wildlife there (money first, though). Congrats on being Freshly Pressed. Your images inspire me in my own writing and photography.

    –Shari

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thanks Shari! I couldn’t believe my luck when I woke up this morning and saw I’d been Freshly Pressed! I still feel so new to all this :-) I checked out your blog too – great stuff!

  10. Modern Funk says:

    So jealous! That looks beyond incredible and amazing!

  11. borjangles says:

    Just amazing

  12. NancyShoots says:

    That lion looks so cute and cuddly…

  13. Julian says:

    Great pictures, especially the last one which reminds me of the final shot in movies as the protagonist rides off into the night. I love the two leopards a lot.

  14. Amazing! The cheetahs and elephants are my favorite. Such great composition.

  15. Tamie says:

    Wow…looks like an awesome trip. Now I am feeling….JEALOUS.

    The photos are great. Kudos to you!

  16. mthoffman says:

    You took such wonderful photos! That trip looked like a lot of fun! How long were you there for? :)

  17. Wow, really great pictures. How I do miss Beautiful Africa, but will return after my journey in Thailand. South Africa must be one of the most beautiful countries in the world, if not the most beautiful. Kind regards from http://allansjourney.wordpress.com

  18. Valentine says:

    Congrats on freshly pressed today. I was in Africa back in June – loved it so much will be heading back again in 2013 with friends to celebrate my husbands milestone birthday. Great photos. I am still posting from our 20 day trip – http://roamandhome.com/tag/africa/

  19. My favorite is the zebra.

  20. mamadestroy says:

    Wow– Amazing photos! The bewitching golden light of the landscape alone transports me! Someday I’ll make it to Africa. Sigh.

  21. abichica says:

    very nice pictures.. they are beautiful.. what part of Africa where you in?? which country?

  22. Thanks for sharing your photos and pith helmet with all of us.

    Great images.

    Mr. Bricks

  23. Beautiful photos! Glad it was only a snake track and not the gigantic snake on the road.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      It was actually a track made by a giant elephant trunk dragging along the ground (crazy stuff I know). I’m pretty sure there were snakes lurking in the bushes, I just didn’t see any :-)

  24. Thanks so much for sharing! Those photographs are super awesome!

  25. sarahnsh says:

    The pictures are gorgeous! I think my favorite are the two Cheetahs sitting together. The lion rolling over in the grass is pretty cute too. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Good pictures, very nice.

  27. Beautiful. I haven’t been keeping up with the rest of your series, but I loved the emotion you captured in these photos, especially the one with two cheetahs, the zebra b&w, and the few with humans in them. You really have a talent for capturing the spirit of the place. (That last photo was stunning.) Thanks for sharing.

    Leonard
    http://lightsketches.wordpress.com/

  28. I LOVE these photos!!!! This is definitely something I’d like to experience in my life- very beautiful!

  29. livingvoraciously says:

    Simply WOW!!!! Absolutely love them and I’m so jealous :) in a very good way ;-) I would love to do this someday. Thanks for sharing, posts like yours remind me that I shouldn’t just be blogging about the places I want to see but actually save up the money and go….. lol :)

  30. tmastgrave says:

    Nice, I think the Cheetahs are my favorite, but a lot of the pics are great!

  31. baligins says:

    Incredible photos!

  32. Pingback: Great African Wildlife Photos « baworldtraveler

  33. ournote2self says:

    Amazing pictures! Looks like a great experience.

  34. Eva McCane says:

    phenomenal shots! the animals are beautiful. i’m jealous! thanks for sharing.
    http://www.icouldntmakethisshitup.wordpress.com

  35. Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

  36. Ajay Kaul says:

    It’s the expressions that you’ve captured that make these pics so special – like the yawning giraffe and the grass rolling lion – excellent job!!

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thank you. I had never tried wildlife photography before this, and I didn’t realise how difficult it was to capture these ‘moments’ (let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of photos that don’t make the cut!).

  37. moosenoose says:

    Wow! I so want to rub that Lion’s belly! Your photos are amazing, I am so jealous! :)

  38. Stunningly beautiful photos! The lion looks like a big kitty asking to scratch his belly :-)

    You must be an awesome person!

  39. rastelly says:

    I have always loved elephants, in person they look more eerie then silly.
    Their brains are much larger then ours and the sounds they make will
    make you feel your in the presence of a massive demigod. In the animal
    world nothing is more powerful, or more vengeful. Often they gather the
    bones of their dead and carry them for miles.

  40. sub rosa says:

    Superb! simplesmente maravilhoso. E reconfortante saber que existem pessoas como você.
    muito obrigada

  41. snowepatrol says:

    Wow! You just volunteered and you got to go help out there? How do you volunteer? Is it difficult to be selected? This seems like a great program. Fantastic pictures!

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thanks for reading. Anyone can apply to do the program – it’s through African Impact. I highly recommend them. It was a great experience from start to finish. An amazing bunch of people to work with :-) I want to go back!

  42. bercton says:

    Amazing photos with great character! Nice post!

  43. Just loved your photographs. Photos can say so much and add so much to what we say.

  44. Sajib says:

    Picture of that hippo reminded me of Ace Ventura :P

    Gorgeous shots!

  45. KcRe says:

    God created such a beautiful world!

  46. Amazing and beautiful photographs. The two leopards (?) are so cute sitting next to each other.

  47. Nicole says:

    Beautiful photography! GORGEOUS animals! I love this – simply amazing. Looks like such an adventure – what a wild experience.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thanks for checking my blog out. I only started it a couple of months ago and I still can’t believe all that I’ve seen and done in that time. It certainly was a wild experience :-)

  48. Wow, your photos are absolutely gorgeous!

  49. Frank Allison says:

    Take me away to a place of magnificent views, freely wild creatures and food on a bed aloe vera plants.

  50. Consuelo says:

    great photos! thanks for sharing! :D

  51. pastorvivian says:

    This is Excellent photography of wild life. Beautiful photos that brings nature to live.
    Great job!

  52. khaye says:

    Aw!!! Love the pics!!! Such a beautiful experience for you!!! I really want to travel someday and take pics!!! It’s such a beautiful WORLD out there!!!!!!!!

  53. ava says:

    WOW! I loooooove all the pictures but the one of the zebra by the fence I love best. She’s like a celebrity posing for a photoshoot.

  54. BringFreedom says:

    There’s are very beautiful

  55. Pingback: It was an all-star cast… (via BOBO ON THE RUN) « Bittersweet

  56. I’m so incredibly jealous of you right now… I want to be back in SA on safari so bad! I’d love to experience the Thanda Private Game Reserve next time as I’ve only visited Sabi Sands and Kruger so far. Gorgeous images by the way.

  57. wovilh says:

    like the landscape,beautiful,peaceful…

  58. Amazing photos of those beautiful animals!

  59. Lovin’ the post and especially the huge snake tracks lol.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thank you very much :-) You might be interested to know that they’re not snake tracks at all – it’s the mark left by a huge bull elephant’s trunk dragging along the ground! (Don’t worry, I had no idea until I was told by our guide either!)

  60. Mudmap says:

    amazing photos, thanks! I travelled around Kenya in about 1994 – now I feel inspired to scan in all my old film photos. Nothing quite like seeing the animals in the wild, in their natural habitat.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thank you! I’m keen to travel to Kenya as part of my next trip to Africa (got to save up first!). Last time I did a big round the world trip I was using real film too…I actually miss it sometimes!

  61. yi-ching lin says:

    such amazing shots!! great captures. thank you for sharing! how was the safety thing?

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thanks :-) Luckily we were in the safe hands of our very experienced guide/ranger and the program coordinators at African Impact (who organised the volunteer program). Otherwise I wouldn’t have dared get so close!

  62. Harold says:

    Cool pics thanks! Congrats on being FP!

  63. Mommy Kate says:

    Simply breath taking!

  64. Прекрасные фотографии – очень понравились!

  65. looktosea says:

    your photos are rad!

  66. I was born in Africa. These pictures transport me straight back. Incredible!

  67. We want to take our son on an African Safari in a few years. Your post is such an inspiration!

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      It’s definitely something worth doing. As soon as you see all the animals, it transports you straight back to childhood – all ooohs and aaaahhhhs! You guys will love it!

  68. fionaqiqi says:

    the first 5 photos, i dont know what words are suitable to describe them. i can only say, these are EVER THE BEST photos i’ve seen about animals. THANK YOU.

  69. tita buds says:

    Love all the pics. I suddenly felt for those two big cats on the road. But that zebra picture, wow. The lines on the fence, the lines on the zebra, the zigzag road, the lighting, the composition.THAT photograph is AMAZING.
    Happy World Photography Day! :)

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thanks a lot! We stumbled on that zebra standing in the afternoon light and when it looked over at us I caught the hairs on its chin! You learn to be very quick with the camera when taking wildlife shots :-)

  70. flydaniel says:

    Is that a snake trail?

  71. fatisrecipes says:

    LOL! That first picture is hilarious!
    Beautiful post otherwise :D

  72. South Africa is alright, it’s home :) I personally think that Australian animals are far cuter. Have had one too many close up encounters and my last but worst experience of African wildlife was recently while on honeymoon where I ate a crocodile burger and it bit back, but I also got to hug a few ostriches! My pics still to come. Your pics are stunning though!

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Sounds interesting to say the least! I didn’t get to see any ostriches, but we did work at a crocodile sanctuary for a day. I wouldn’t want any of them snapping at me! You’re brave :-)

  73. wow great read and beautiful pictures!!! xx

  74. jliely says:

    so beautiful, i wish i could go.

  75. sirarmany says:

    Lucky you saw all major Animals of Savannah. Awesome shots.

  76. Sasha says:

    Amazing pictures. You have some serious talent.

  77. Ellie says:

    Some cracking photos – thanks v much for sharing them! Can’t even imagine how awesome this trip must have been, but very pleased to have caught even such a small glimpse of it. Africa is top on my must-see list :)

  78. i super love your post!

  79. beautiful… really.. no words.. :)

  80. leadinglight says:

    Great animal photos. I use a D-40 so I never do justice to wildlife shots so I admire them when I see good ones. That zebra is worthy of being inside a National Geographic mag perhaps! Love the moment captured.

  81. उन्मुक्त says:

    Beautiful picture. सुन्दर चित्र

  82. Sajeevs blog says:

    Africal wild life photography at its best:)

  83. juliacastorp says:

    nice photos, you should do a gallery

  84. Very nice. Animals are our brothers. When they begin to trust, they come near and live with us, just like one of us, just like a member of the family.

  85. Tristan says:

    Your last photo of the lavender sunset is glorious! Great post.

  86. Mackenzie | Red Roan Chronicles says:

    Wow, those shots are remarkable… thanks for sharing them! I can’t decide whether I like the zebra or the reclining lion more. :D

  87. nyzeluminous says:

    Your photos are way too awesome! i love them all :)

  88. zachynyoga says:

    Amazing photo’s.

  89. Excellent photographs.

  90. aahin says:

    Awww!! I am so in love with the pictures!!!

  91. gaycarboys says:

    Magnificent. I love spotty pussy cats and stripey horses.

  92. My God… Those pictures are gorgeous!!! You did volunteer there right? May I know how to be part of it? Your post and pictures makes me want to visit Africa :D

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      I did volunteer – it was through African Impact and it’s their African Wildlife Photography and Conservation program at Thanda Private Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal (about 3 hours drive north of Durban). I fully recommend it! The guys there are amazing and super passionate. You really feel like you’re making a difference and the work we did was very varied. I actually looked for a similar type of program in South America (as I traveled there beforehand) but couldn’t find anything. It’s one of a kind :-)

  93. Pingback: AnimalShak » From an African Wildlife Preserve

  94. lindayoga says:

    Absolutely amazing!! Thanks for showing all the beauty you see;)
    -Linda

  95. Nise en Scène says:

    Fantastic shots! The African continent is definitely on my bucket list and these shots make me wanna go there right now! :) I love your first shot as it captures the adrenaline of your fellow photographers who are also a sight to behold!

  96. trialsinfood says:

    wow, amazing photos! what an experience!

  97. Nice photos. I hope all animals in these photos will have a peaceful life, and safe.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      All good. They’re roaming around a 15,000 hectare private game reserve with a dedicated anti-poaching unit and a team of passionate conservationists ensuring their safety :-)

  98. Big Bobcat says:

    A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is the combination of your photos with your words that makes this so powerful. I really enjoyed this work. Well done!

  99. i would be like you. in 10 years or less, i’ll also photograph and experience africa :D

  100. Mary Royers says:

    HEY! Are those snake tracks?! Just kidding, I lost count of how many people thought that. Kudos for them for knowing that it resembled snake tracks in the first place though, right? I just have to say that your photos are beyond sincere. I felt like looking at them was an intrusion of someone’s privacy- like I was with you while you were taking the photos, they seemed so intimate at times. My favorite is the one where the two women are working with produce in the shade. It’s stunning.

    • zoemarsh001 says:

      Thank you :-) Yes, looking back over the shots, there is a feeling of ‘one-on-one’. We really were very lucky to be so close to the animals. An amazing and unique experience indeed. The shot of the two women cooking was a little moment I captured in Thonga Village…the dinner that followed was absolutely aaaamazing. Nothing like fresh home grown ingredients cooked the old fashioned way :-)

  101. Your a fantastic photographer!

  102. Enjoyed your photos, thank you for sharing. I have always dreamed of Africa and Australia maybe some day.

  103. beautyinvoid says:

    The pictures are beautiful, what an experience this must have been!

  104. All i can say is woww..this is amazing!
    Reading your blogs and being able to look at pictures is so inspiring.

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