Step this way for the best wildlife views

April 12th 2024  |   Wildlife Safaris, Unique Experiences, Experiences, Miscellaneous  |  by   Jo Ainscough
Step this way for the best wildlife views

Step into a hide and you enter another world of wildlife viewing.  These fabulous observation posts whether fixed, floating, up high or down low, offer an enthralling and peaceful way to spend a few hours.  Some are even set up for overnight stays to catch the wildlife at dawn and dusk.  Unaware of your presence the animals come and go – often passing incredibly close to your perch – offering the best wildlife views you can imagine.

Here’s where you can find some of the best hides in Africa

One of a number of hide options at Mashatu, in Botswana’s Tuli area, is a ground level hide offering a unique perspective on wildlife visiting the waterhole. There is the occasional sighting of big cats coming to quench their thirst with regular visits from giraffe, plains game visits and elephants who have been known to spray water towards the hide – whether that’s deliberate or just coincidental, only they will know!

Best wildlife views

Fabulous leopard sighting at Mashatu

To watch a stand off between buffalo and lion is exciting at any time – to be able to witness the goings on, close-up, at eye level is another league altogether.  This great shot was captured at the ‘last waterhole’ hide close to Mwamba Camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley. As the Zambian bush dries out from June through to October the animals are forced to water and ambushes like this will happen more regularly.

Lion and buffalo eyeing each other up at Mwamba Camp’s ‘last waterhole’ hide

At Jaci’s Lodges, in the Madikwe Reserve in South Africa, you’re not just at the water’s edge in their ‘terrapin hide’ but in the middle of the waterhole. Access is via an underground/underwater tunnel and, for those with a photographic bent, the hide is set up with custom Gimpro arms with panoramic heads.

Best wildlife views

Terrapin hide at Jaci’s Lodges waterhole, Madikwe, South Africa

Some of the more interesting and productive photographic hides can be found at DumaTau and Kings Pool camps in Botswana.

Sunken hide at Kings Pool

And there are the legendary logpile hides at Savuti Camp in Botswana; Somalisa, Little Makalolo and The Hide in Zimbabwe;  where one can come face to face with huge herds of elephants and other beasts with only a pile of thick logs separating photographers and animals. Not for the faint-hearted, but an experience of a lifetime!

Best wildlife views

Savuti log pile hide, Botswana, Wilderness Safaris

Elephant lovers will also enjoy getting close to the big tuskers that roam the plains near Ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya’s beautiful Chuylu Hills.  This comfy hide is a great spot to while away an afternoon with a beer or two.

Great wildlife viewing from the hide at Ol Donyo

In a rather hidden corner of Kenya, in the Southern Rift Valley, the Shompole Wilderness Hide offers guests a chance to sit in a comfortable, converted shipping container and wait for animals to come to drink at the waterhole, eye-level just outside the window. Together, the combined effort of Kenyan hotelier and safari guide Johann du Toit and world-renowned wildlife photographer and tech-guru Will Burrard-Lucas, has resulted in a wildlife emersion experience that is as good as it gets. In the brief time the hide has been operational, over 33 animal species have been seen, including many rare and unusual nocturnal species such as striped hyena and leopard, as well as an abundance of incredible birds who use the waterhole daily.

Shompole Wilderness Hide

View elephant up close at the Shompole Wilderness Hide

Children will enjoy hides just as much as adults.  Among several great options are the hides at Luangwa Safari House and Morukuru River House.  Both lovely private safari houses in wonderful locations, with plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained – but an hour or two at the hide is a great way to pass an afternoon.

Best wildlife views

Children on their way into the hide at Luangwa Safari House

Among the more unusual hides are the tree top platforms in Kasanka National Park in northern Zambia where you can witness the extraordinary sight of over 10 million fruit bats descending into a tiny patch of evergreen swamp. This extraordinary migration takes place from late October to mid-December and is the largest mammal migration on earth.

Best wildlife views

Bats in Kasanka National Park, Zambia, Robin Pope Safaris

What next?
We would be delighted to help plan your perfect safari holiday, perhaps including some of these camps with their wonderful wildlife hides.  Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice.  Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.

2 responses to “Step this way for the best wildlife views”

  1. Carole Ruffle says:

    We are planning to have a 3 generation safari and ? Beach holiday either August or October 2025, to coincide with school holidays where possible, about 9-10 days in total. The 3 Children will be 7/8, 9 and 10/11. No of adults 5 or 6. We were thinking about £5000 pp, not sure whether this is realistic. Some advice and ideas would be welcome.
    Many thanks

    • Amelia says:

      Hi Carole, thank you for getting in touch. I have passed your details onto one of our sales team who will be in contact to give you some ideas and advice.
      Best, Amelia

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