Best Hides In Southern Africa???

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Oct 27th, 2004, 09:40 PM
  #1
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Best Hides In Southern Africa???

Which camps / lodges in Southern Africa have the best animal hides???

In researching Savuti (Wilderness Safaris), I just found out that they have an Elephant Hide that is one of the highlights of their camp. It really appears as if the guests are able to get very close to the elephants. That, alone, is enough to make me strongly consider Savuti.

For hippos, I cannot recommend Kaingo in South Luangwa National Park enough. They have an amazing hide built right into the riverbank, allowing for some great photographs of hippos.

Where else are there very good animal hides???
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Oct 27th, 2004, 11:46 PM
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Provided you visit at the right time of year that hide at Savuti will indeed get you very close indeed to the eles. And it feels pretty exposed though you are assured it's perfectly safe.

We didn't have much time to spend in it and the unusual rain patterns meant the main body of eles hadn't arrived yet but we did spend a short time in it admiring a small group of skittish zebras and that gave us an idea of what it might feel like to be in it and surrounded by eles at the (artificial) waterhole instead.

I think Tubu also have some hides aroundabout their camp...
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Oct 28th, 2004, 03:43 AM
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makololo plains apparently has a great animal hide. http://www.ultimateafrica.com/oct01.htm
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Oct 30th, 2004, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I am strongly considering a trip to Makalolo Plains, as part of an all Zim itinerary (Matetsi/Makalolo/Chikwenya).

I have neither been to Hwange or Mana Pools yet, so this would be a nice option (although I was right across from Mana Pools while at Lower Zambezi NP).

Elephants are my favorite and neither Matetsi nor Hwange will have any shortage of elephants.

The Zim itinerary is about the only affordable option that I can come up with for a 9 night safari unless I retrace my steps through Zambia (but I do feel a certain responsibility to visit Zim right now as the last thing I would want is for CCAfrica and Wilderness Safaris to shut down their operations, thus leaving these areas exposed to poaching).
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Oct 31st, 2004, 03:52 PM
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rocco,
i agree with you wholeheartedly about zimbabwe. i first thought that i didnt want to support any part in the regime there but after talking to a wilderness safari contact here in the states, he opened my eyes to how important tourist dollars were to keeping the national parks running. and none of the dollars were going to support any part of the govt., just the animals and local communities. couple this with very good rates, excellent game (that's what i've been told) and very few people, i decided to include makololo plains in my jan itinerary. the game at makololo is supposed to be very good in jan as the plains game migrates down to the plains as the newly rained on grasses appear. mana pools is not good at this time so i am combining makololo with botswana for a great jan trip. hopefully i can report back only good things and maybe you will decide to go there with your family next yr.
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Oct 31st, 2004, 07:16 PM
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bigcountry,

What does the rest of your itinerary look like? Also, if you don't mind, which agent did you book with? I want to make sure I have the best pricing and I haven't really shopped this trip around, but I do know that it should be about $380 per person per night sharing at WS Zim camps.

While we are on the subject about Zimbabwe, here is an interesting fact that I just learned about Matetsi. Matetsi, at 73,500 hectares is actually about 12% larger than the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. When I was last there, there were a total of about ten of us in camp! Imagine having a space larger than the SSGR for only TEN guests?! That is as good (or better) than Botswana for exclusivity.

Also, there are no fences between Chobe and Matetsi, so the elephants and other game are free to go back and forth.

Lastly, Matetsi is a former hunting area, so I do think it is important that it receives support as a photographic safari area so that there are never any reason for it to return to trophy hunting.

With those interesting little tidbits, I am leaning even more towards an all-Zim safari for my first 9 nights next September.
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Nov 1st, 2004, 07:03 AM
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I stayed at Savuti on my trip to Botswana in August 2001, and if the hide existed at that time, they didn't advertise it -- we had marvelous game drives (including aardwolf, caracal and wild dog), and saw plenty of elephants from the deck, which is only 100 meters or so from the waterhole.

We also spent our time between game drives on walks, so maybe this was the time that we could have elected to spend at the hide.

While not a "hide," the waterhole at Okakuejo, Etosha is an incredible place to photograph elephants, and while I don't think that Rocco would be interested in Etosha (just my opinion since its basic accomodations, not luxury by any standard), I got some of my best photos of elephants in water at Etosha. Its a great place to spend the afternoon, but its not private (there could be 100 people at the waterhole), but the photos are fantastic.
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Nov 1st, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Michael, the "hide" is a collection of large logs by the waterhole infront of the bar/ pool area. If it had been there during your visit you couldn't have missed seeing it though it's not obvious it's a hide - I couldn't believe that it could be a hide given that one isn't exactly hidden from the animals when inside it!
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Nov 1st, 2004, 07:53 AM
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I do recall that large pile of logs, but I didn't realize it was a "hide", because, like you, I can't believe that would have given me adequate cover.
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Nov 1st, 2004, 07:59 AM
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Yup! It's weird isn't it?

And yet apparently they often have guests in there surrounded by absolutely HUGE herds of elephants!

Knowing how easily elephants can move logs I also wondered how secure a hide it could be but I decided I was confident enough in WS' ability to take care of their guests to accept their assertions that it was safe.

In the event, the water levels being higher than usual meant that the large herds of elephants hadn't started visiting that waterhole much yet.

I would like to return to Savuti at a time of year when I could sit in that hide and be surrounded by eles.
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Nov 1st, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Roccco,
I haven't stayed there myself but a friend of mine was at a safari camp in Hwange called The Hide some years ago. She loved it and I know that the highlight was the time they spent in the eponymous hide!

I'd be interested to know if it's still there
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Nov 1st, 2004, 11:49 AM
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I just checked online and you can check it out at thehide.com

I spent over a year in Zimbabwe in 1997 and have visited since then...I assure you visiting the country is not supporting the government and the opposition has never called for any sort of boycott...what Zimbabwe needs is more attention and more visitors.

It is important to realize that the violence, often orchestrated by the government, has never been directed at tourists.I found Harare a wonderful city and have always felt safer there than in California but with rising social problems the crime has increased however I don't think it will have any effect on those visiting safari destinations.

The country is desperately short of foriegn currency and I agree with Zimbabwean that Big Country spoke to that tourism is a bulwark against poaching. The poverty and desperation created out of the current chaos can only serve to weaken wonderful programs like Campfire which have tried to share the benefits of conservation with all.
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Nov 1st, 2004, 04:29 PM
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hey rocco,
in jan we are spending 3 nights at makololo and 3 nights at mombo. i am a little embarrassed to pay the prices i am for mombo but since it's less than $200 pppn at makololo, the average of the 6 nights is bearable. i went to mombo and duba plains this past jan and in 6 nights had the most amazing viewing experience so i really wanted to get back to mombo again. plus my father (very experienced safari goer but never before been to mombo) is coming with my wife and i, and i'd really like for him to get to see mombo and hear his opinion of it. anyway ive booked through africa adventure and my prices were almost identical to those found on e-gnu. in fact, they turned out to be a little cheaper if i can remember correctly.
i chose jan bc i really like the short green grass and ominous skies for photos, i like the migratory birds, antelope babies and especially like to be able to out of the freezing northeast usa weather for a little while to break up the winter. for me the only reason i would travel any other time to southern africa is to see wild dogs. otherwise i really prefer the green season.

hopefully we can spot some wild dogs at makololo ( not likely at this time of yr but you never know) and have some great walks in hwange at midday. i'm pretty confident mombo will be great. so many lions, it's really unique.
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Nov 2nd, 2004, 12:25 AM
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bigcountry,

I thought that you may enjoy this Travelogue that I came across that features Makalolo Plains (as well as Chikwenya, Matusadona Water Wilderness and some very interesting commentary on the Civil War in Botswana 25 years ago before the whites finally gave up their power).

This travelogue takes place around Christmas, so the landscapes should be about the same for your upcoming visit.

Enjoy.
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Nov 2nd, 2004, 03:52 AM
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rocco,
did you forget the link?
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Nov 2nd, 2004, 05:03 AM
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bigcountry,

As Homer Simpson would say, Dohhhhh!

http://wmoore.net/zim/buffalo.html

Enjoy.
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Nov 2nd, 2004, 12:29 PM
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Rocco

I was at Savuti in early September and spent a couple of hours in the hide. It is a great experience, the Elephants are definitely aware of you, and one enterprising teenager sprayed me with water! In addition to great close ups of Elephant in the water, we also got the best Zebra shots we've ever had, because for once they didn't show us their rears as they usually do when a vehicle approaches. I hear there is a hide at Kings Pool, that will be experienced in July. Also at Savuti, there are other hides at boreholes and the guides are usually willing to be out all day.
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