…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…
Rad. This makes me also really uber sad too 😦 our time has come 😥
Nice flicks to zoe!
I know – I felt it too. I’d been putting it off, but it had to be done 🙂 Thanks chica!
yes, nice, good luck to they
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
Thanks! I think I took myself to places I never thought I would either!
Love love LOVE these shots — my fave is the elephant pic. So fun!
Thanks! If you like elephants, you should check out my post ‘Close encounters of the elephant kind’ – got my best shots in that one 🙂
Wow, absolutely superb.
Glad you like it!
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!!
Thank you – much appreciated! This trip reinvigorated my passion for photography and writing. Stoked to be Freshly Pressed!
Wow! Amazing pictures. Please tell me what make that curvy line in the dusty road.
The curvy line in the road was actually made by a large old bull elephant’s trunk dragging along the ground. Hard to believe, but true 🙂
Thank you for sharing!
My pleasure (and with a little help from the team who look after Freshly Pressed 🙂
All your pictures are nice especially the cheetahs. Cute! 😀
Thanks! The cheetah’s were total show offs…..all feline and spotted. Could have taken a million pics of them alone (actually, I think I did)
I love animals! Thanks for sharing.
I love them too!
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.
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!
So jealous! That looks beyond incredible and amazing!
Thanks for checking it out!
Thanks a lot!
That lion looks so cute and cuddly…
Don’t be deceived….:-)
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.
Ha! I felt like I was in a movie at times 🙂 Thanks.
Amazing! The cheetahs and elephants are my favorite. Such great composition.
Mine too…considered packing them in my bags when I left, but figured someone would notice!
Wow…looks like an awesome trip. Now I am feeling….JEALOUS.
The photos are great. Kudos to you!
Thanks for reading!!
Thank you very much!
You took such wonderful photos! That trip looked like a lot of fun! How long were you there for? 🙂
I was away for about 3 months, just got back home to Oz. In complete denial, of course 🙂
That’s amazing! I would love to go on an exquisite adventure like that! 🙂
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
Thanks Allan. I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to Africa one day too…
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/
Thanks! I was volunteering at Thanda Private Game Reserve in June – beautiful weather 🙂 I’ll return one day too! Your trip sounds great…
My favorite is the zebra.
Yep, I’ll never get tired of looking at zebras 🙂
Wow– Amazing photos! The bewitching golden light of the landscape alone transports me! Someday I’ll make it to Africa. Sigh.
Thanks! I said that then someday came….:-)
that was great photos
very nice pictures.. they are beautiful.. what part of Africa where you in?? which country?
I was in South Africa. It’s a very beautiful country 🙂
Thanks for sharing your photos and pith helmet with all of us.
My pleasure! I will continue to do so!
Beautiful photos! Glad it was only a snake track and not the gigantic snake on the road.
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 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing! Those photographs are super awesome!
No worries 🙂 Thanks for checking it out!
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!
Thanks a lot!!
Good pictures, very nice.
Glad you like them!
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.
Thank you! Checked out your blog too – nice shots! I think when you’re open to experiencing things, it comes through the photos. Glad you like the pics 🙂
I LOVE these photos!!!! This is definitely something I’d like to experience in my life- very beautiful!
Ahh Thanks 🙂 You should!
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 🙂
Ha! Thanks! Yes, saving is difficult. I’ve tried and failed many a time…:-)
Thanks for the feedback!
Nice, I think the Cheetahs are my favorite, but a lot of the pics are great!
The two cheetah brothers were highlights for me too! Thanks for reading!
Thanks for sharing the link!
Pingback: Great African Wildlife Photos « baworldtraveler
Thanks for sharing 🙂
Amazing pictures! Looks like a great experience.
Thanks for taking a look! It was definitely an experience of a lifetime.
phenomenal shots! the animals are beautiful. i’m jealous! thanks for sharing.
Thank you, much appreciated!
Wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing them!
Thanks for taking the time to have a look 🙂
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!!
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!).
Wow! I so want to rub that Lion’s belly! Your photos are amazing, I am so jealous! 🙂
Looks can be deceiving! We watched these lions devour a dead buffalo! Thanks for checking my blog out 🙂
Stunningly beautiful photos! The lion looks like a big kitty asking to scratch his belly 🙂
You must be an awesome person!
Thank you 🙂 Yes, the lions look deceivingly cute and cuddly don’t they!
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.
The elephants were one of my favourites. There’s something about them….they’re truly awe inspiring creatures.
Superb! simplesmente maravilhoso. E reconfortante saber que existem pessoas como você.
(At least I hope that said ‘Thank you’ in Portuguese!!)
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!
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!
Amazing photos with great character! Nice post!
Thanks for checking out my blog!
Just loved your photographs. Photos can say so much and add so much to what we say.
Thank you! Well, you know what they say – a picture tells a thousand words….
Picture of that hippo reminded me of Ace Ventura 😛
God created such a beautiful world!
It is a beautiful world 🙂
Amazing and beautiful photographs. The two leopards (?) are so cute sitting next to each other.
This is one of my favourites too 🙂 They’re actually cheetahs, two brothers. They certainly showed off for us while we were there!
Beautiful photography! GORGEOUS animals! I love this – simply amazing. Looks like such an adventure – what a wild experience.
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 🙂
Wow, your photos are absolutely gorgeous!
Thanks for reading!
Take me away to a place of magnificent views, freely wild creatures and food on a bed aloe vera plants.
I hope I did! I certainly enjoyed chasing the adventure….
why thank you 🙂
great photos! thanks for sharing! 😀
No worries at all 🙂 Glad you like them.
This is Excellent photography of wild life. Beautiful photos that brings nature to live.
Thank you – it was my first ‘wildlife’ photography experience. I’m hooked now!
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!!!!!!!!
Thank you! It is a beautiful world, that’s for sure. I hope you get to travel someday too!
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.
Thanks! Yes, such a poser. I blame the afternoon light 🙂
There’s are very beautiful
Pingback: It was an all-star cast… (via BOBO ON THE RUN) « Bittersweet
Thanks for sharing my link!
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.
Ha! I wish I was back there too! Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. I did the volunteer program with African Impact and can highly recommend them. I think I need to pay a visit to Kruger next time I go….
I will look into African Impact next time I’m heading that way, thanks!
like the landscape,beautiful,peaceful…
Amazing photos of those beautiful animals!
Thank you! Yes, they made very good subjects 🙂
Lovin’ the post and especially the huge snake tracks lol.
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!)
Was just scrolling through all the comments hoping someone had asked about that strange track. Not in a million years would I have guessed the answer! Fascinating.
Haha! I know – almost fell off the Land Rover when I found out too! Yep, that’s a big trunk!
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.
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!
such amazing shots!! great captures. thank you for sharing! how was the safety thing?
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!
Cool pics thanks! Congrats on being FP!
Thanks! I’m still a bit shell-shocked!
Simply breath taking!
Прекрасные фотографии – очень понравились!
your photos are rad!
Thanks very much!
I was born in Africa. These pictures transport me straight back. Incredible!
I can’t speak for all of Africa (still got lots more to see!), but South Africa is certainly a very beautiful country indeed 🙂
We want to take our son on an African Safari in a few years. Your post is such an inspiration!
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!
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.
That’s a big call 🙂 Thanks for the support!
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! 🙂
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 🙂
Is that a snake trail?
Ha! No, it’s actually a trail made by an elephant’s trunk dragging along the dirt – cool isn’t it!
Thanks for the comment!
LOL! That first picture is hilarious!
Beautiful post otherwise 😀
I know, we look like a pack of paparazzi!
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!
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 🙂
wow great read and beautiful pictures!!! xx
Thanks for visiting! Come again 🙂
so beautiful, i wish i could go.
It was on my wish list too….in fact, my wish list is now longer than when I started the trip. How does that work?!
Lucky you saw all major Animals of Savannah. Awesome shots.
Only the leopard’s escaped me….oh, and the hyenas, black rhino, wild dogs…okay, so you can’t have everything 🙂
Amazing pictures. You have some serious talent.
Thanks for the support 🙂
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 🙂
It was indeed a-mazing 🙂 The only problem is that now I want to see more! First things first, start saving…..:-)
i super love your post!
Great! Thanks for checking it out.
beautiful… really.. no words.. 🙂
🙂 Thanks for visiting
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.
Thanks! My month on the game reserve game me plenty of opportunities of practicing 🙂
Beautiful picture. सुन्दर चित्र
Africal wild life photography at its best:)
Thanks! You’re very generous 🙂
nice photos, you should do a gallery
If you mean a physical gallery, then yes – it’s the dream! With a lovely coffee shop attached…:-)
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.
Your last photo of the lavender sunset is glorious! Great post.
Thanks a lot! I like that one too – especially the red tail lights of the car.
Wow, those shots are remarkable… thanks for sharing them! I can’t decide whether I like the zebra or the reclining lion more. 😀
Thank you 🙂 That’s why I posted both!
Your photos are way too awesome! i love them all 🙂
Ha! Thank you!
No biggie. Keep it up. I’ll be waiting for photos on your next adventure 🙂
Thanks very much 🙂
Awww!! I am so in love with the pictures!!!
Thanks – glad you like them 🙂
Magnificent. I love spotty pussy cats and stripey horses.
So do I 🙂
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 😀
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 🙂
Pingback: AnimalShak » From an African Wildlife Preserve
Hey – thanks for sharing my link! Much appreciated 🙂
Absolutely amazing!! Thanks for showing all the beauty you see;)
Thank you! No worries at all 🙂
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!
I know, we look like a pack of paparazzi! I have to admit, I had lens envy at times 🙂 Glad you like the shots
What lens were you using, Zoe?
wow, amazing photos! what an experience!
I know – can’t recommend it enough! If you can get to Africa one day, do it!
Nice photos. I hope all animals in these photos will have a peaceful life, and safe.
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 🙂
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!
Thanks for taking the time to read!
i would be like you. in 10 years or less, i’ll also photograph and experience africa 😀
Sounds like a plan 🙂 Make sure you do!
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.
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 🙂
Your a fantastic photographer!
Thanks! Still got a long way to go….but happy and loving it 🙂
Enjoyed your photos, thank you for sharing. I have always dreamed of Africa and Australia maybe some day.
Thanks for reading! Hopefully that dream will come true one day 🙂
The pictures are beautiful, what an experience this must have been!
Thank you 🙂 Yes, it was a trip of a lifetime…still dreaming about it.
All i can say is woww..this is amazing!
Reading your blogs and being able to look at pictures is so inspiring.