An extra special, extraordinary safari experience might be the one that is the most secret and undetected by the wildlife we watch. Certainly, you will never get as close to animals like elephant, leopard, or buffalo if it weren’t for a secret hideaway with a postbox view from underground! Some safari lodges have taken game viewing to the next level, particularly for guests with an interest in photography, by adding the novelty of a game viewing hide to their safari experience. In this blog, we explore some of our favourite hides located at lodges and camps all over Africa, so pay attention if you think you’re ready for breath-taking, up close and personal, exquisite views of wildlife!
First up, it’s The Bush House in South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve, where families can enjoy an adventurous and unforgettable safari experience. The hide is located underground right in front of the waterhole located in front of the lodge itself. Imagine those photos!
Observing the wilderness, undetected, must be the most thrilling way to watch nature unfold at The Hide in Hwange National Park. This month we celebrated World Environment Day, reminding us that we can’t ignore that our destructive influence on the planet has led to pollution, habitat degradation, and endangerment of the world’s species. We have the capacity to preserve the future of the planet, the environment, the wilderness if we begin to make changes to the way we consume and recycle our waste. This series of images is the perfect metaphor for today’s message: it is possible to have minimal unnatural or negative impact while still observing some of our greatest wilderness areas up close. Opt for ecotourism, opt for low impact travel, opt for reusable plastic or no plastic at all! Take care of this special place we share with the creatures we most admire.
Jaci’s Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve has this excellent addition to the safari experience: the Terrapin Hide. Facing westward, this semi-submerged hide is excellent for beautifully soft morning photography as the sun rises behind you and bathes your subjects in first light. Then in the afternoon, the experience changes completely as the sun sets in front of you and produces those magical, dusty, backlit shots you dream of. Photographers love this place because it is accessible 24 hours a day, offering the chance to capture some starlight shots after dark or some pre-sunrise activity. The really dedicated hide lovers even skip game drives in order to spend even more time at peak game viewing hours! Definitely one for the books.
Zimanga Private Game Reserve has made a name for itself as a wildlife photographer’s ultimate fantasy. Located in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, Zimanga has six hides which have been designed with specific achievements in mind by renowned wildlife photographer and hide specialist, Bence Mate. Whether you’re there to capture the energetic and colourful movement of white-fronted bee-eaters or the electric reflection of a leopard, these expertly designed hides provide the perfect environment for it. Sound-proof darkened, non-reflective window, and noiseless chairs, plus there are camera mounts and gimbles installed all ready for guests to use at no extra charge. This is absolutely a winner of photographic hides anywhere in Africa!
Kaingo Camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley has built their safari experience around the superior game viewing in this wilderness area. From traditional game drives to world-class walking safaris and even under-the-stars campouts, Kaingo Camp is classic but extraordinary. What makes us most excited about this intimate camp is its specialist photographic hides that have been visited and used by leading film and photography networks and companies. There are four seasonal hides, which are operational in strategic locations at different times of the year, and then there are a pair of mobile hides which take the experience to any location. The potential to capture phenomenal river activity with pods of bellowing hippos or bathing elephants, to wild dog, leopard, and lion coming to drink. Birds like you’ve never seen them before right in front of your nose. Hides really do offer a new level of safari experience, and Kaingo Camp is not one to be missed.