Seeking a hide?
Fancy sitting still for a few hours? Shenton Safaris, in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, has added another innovative hide to its collection. Dubbed the ‘Last Waterhole’ hide, this small reed-thatched hut overlooks the last pool in the area to hold water as the dry season takes its grip. Game starts to concentrate here from September, with elephant, buffalo, impala, zebra and even the local lion pride all regular visitors. The variety of surrounding habitat, from ebony groves to mopane woodland, also ensures a wealth of birds. Quiet visitors (and coughing is not a good idea) can observe and photograph a wide range of unsuspecting wildlife at very close quarters, and an hour or two of patience will often produce something unexpected.
Derek Shenton, son of former Kafue warden Barry Shenton, has designed all the hides himself, using local materials to ensure that they blend discreetly into the bush. Comfortable seating and camera props make them perfect for photographers. Each targets a different wildlife spectacle: the Hippo Hide is carved into the riverbank above a deepwater bend of the Luangwa, offering intimate views of the resident hippo pod below and a panoramic riverscape beyond; the Elephant Hide is a wooden tree platform sited directly above an ancient elephant highway, where the great beasts regularly gather before crossing the river; the Carmine Bee-eater Hide is an ingeniously modified boat anchored opposite a riverbank nesting colony, allowing fantastic photo opportunities as these spectacular birds go about their business just ten metres away.
For safari-goers who tire of chasing animals around the bush, Shenton’s hides offer a refreshing alternative. Their photographic potential has already proved popular with professionals – including the BBC, whose dramatic sequence of a monster crocodile seizing a buffalo, shown in the Wild Africa series, was captured from the Hippo Hide.
Shenton Safaris operates Kaingo Camp and Mwamba Bush Camp in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.