Zambia offers another unique way to spend time amongst wildlife! Some of the small and exclusive safari camps in the South Luangwa National Park offer an extra ‘activity’ that adds a new and intimate dimension whilst on safari. Wildlife hides have been built near these camps or erected at specific sites to allow the best vantage points or views. This is especially good for those who are interested in photography!
One camp has a hide built of grass and reeds close to the camp which sits in a dry river bank with a small water hole nearby – great photographic opportunities for getting up close to elephants that frequent the wildlife paths.
Kaingo is one of the camps in the South Luangwa National Park that has a hippo hide nearby. Constructed on the banks of the Luangwa River, guests spending a few hours in this hide are never disappointed. A pod of hippo have established themselves in a bend of the river and visitors can sit quietly here taking great photographs and listening to and watching the hippo as they laze away the daylight hours, occasionally arguing with each other. At night they leave the river to graze on the grassy river verges.
Another hide erected and in constant use from September through to the end of the year are the carmine bee eater hides. The brightly coloured carmines arrive from the north into South Luangwa National Park during late August in order to breed and nest in the banks of the Luangwa River. Carmines swoop through the air catching bees and insects, returning to their holes in the banks.
The hides allow one to get very close to observe and take photographs. You can watch the animals and birds going about their everyday lives completely undisturbed. This gives you the best possible view and chance of capturing some astounding images.
They allow you to feel part of the landscape as the animals get breathtakingly close. Whatever your passion, you can either spend hours watching the animals coming down to drink, wallowing in the mud or keeping a nervous and watchful eye out for predators or you can simply visit a hide in passing whilst on your game drive.
One very special experience in South Luangwa is fantastic for those wanting just that little bit of extra adventure by sleeping out under the African sky. Mwamba and Kaingo have built an elephant hide. One climbs high up – hence ‘higher than an elephants eye’ up to a wooden platform. It is what’s on top that is the icing on the cake – a double bed, the finest linen and soft pillows, all under a billowy mosquito net.
Spend a romantic night listening to the sounds of the night, the distant low rumble from an elephant, munching hippos or the shriek of a jackal or owl, knowing that you are perfectly safe! In the morning, wake to the first chirps and twitters of the dawn bird chorus before descending down to a waiting vehicle to take you on your first game drive.
The hides are an absolute must for keen photographers!
Pictures by courtesy of Bryan Jackson and Kaingo
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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