Safari Hides – a Sustainable Approach to Game Viewing?

The times that game drives were the only activity on offer during your African safari have fortunately passed.
Our urban city dwellers need more to get the heart pumping nowadays. Game walks, scenic flights, helicopter trips, canoeing and fly camping are some of the new thrilling activities that guests want to experience. Action is today’s motto

Although I am a fan of all these exciting activities as well, we sometimes tend to forget what we came to do in the first place: watch the magnificent African wildlife.

The hide

Personally I always got a smile on my face when I visited an accommodation that had built a hide.
Hides come in all sorts of forms and shapes. Some are build in trees, some in riverbanks and some underground.
Yet, all have some characteristics that are universal. Most of the hides are (relatively) small, they conceal their occupants and they are built close to a point of action. Be it a river, a waterhole or an active open space or plain.

Pro’s and con’s of a hide

There are very few things more rewarding on safari then not going on a drive and experience the silence of a hide. No vehicle noises, no bumping around, silences that encompasses you, shade that protects you from the sun and obviously the not knowing what will come in view next.

Needless to say that visiting a hide also has some downsides.
Since hides are often situated close to a place of action, it is paramount that those visiting a hide are silent. VERY silent! Animals are used to these hides but that doesn’t mean that noise won’t spoil your experience. So make sure there is nothing that can fall down, that you rather whisper than speak and that you are careful with silence when you drink your beverages from glass.

That brings me to another luxury problem.
If you decide to stay in a hide for an early morning, or a lazy warm (late) afternoon, make sure you have enough liquid with you. Waiting can be a thirsty affair and nothing is more annoying than having waited for all that wildlife to arrive and you having to leave the hide to get your thirst-quenching drink.
Also make sure you got your binoculars, camera and handbooks with you.

TIP: It is not a bad idea to take a reading book with you. The fact that you are sitting in a hide does not mean that gameviewing will always be successful. So just in case……

Below I have collected a few images of hides in Africa. When you do have the possibility to spend time in a hide, please do so. Enjoy the silence and the view!

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