The Oxford Dictionary’s description of a hide is : ‘a camouflaged shelter used to observe wildlife at close quarters’ ..
If your game viewing vehicle is full – 12 in total – it’s a mad silent scramble to get a good viewing position inside. Everyone can see through the one-way darkened glass but not everyone gets a chair at an open viewing slit for good photography. The vehicle is parked a little distance away and you snake your way along a path lined with a natural wooden fence (for the benefit of those who don’t know what hides are). Once walking along the narrow path overtaking is not permitted!!! Rule not made by the Rangers, but by your fellow guests – everyone wants a spot at the open viewing slit even those without cameras or sharing a camera. When hubby and I were at Leopard Mountain two years previously, we had a choice of seats as not many joined us. Marvellous viewing and photographic opportunity .. if only we saw something !!! We had to take pics of terrapins, tree frog nests and the like !!!
This time, because it was very dry and wildlife was thirsty, everyone wanted a good view from which to ‘observe wildlife at close quarters’. I was a little slow the first time round (we came again the following day) and ended up in the second row of seating having to get up s-l-o-w-l-y from my creaking camp chair and tiptoe from viewing slit to viewing slip, finding a gap through which to take my winning shots !!!!! Glaring looks .. which I ignored. Was I to take my winning shot from the second row through a darkened non reflecting one-way glass? I was then told to sit down (by a guest) otherwise I would scare the animals!!! Don’t get me wrong, I could quite easily thoroughly enjoy the experience from the second row through a darkened non reflecting one-way glass but I have a camera and wanted to take some photographs!! Who knows if hubby and I will ever return to this magical place or to any other private game lodge, for that matter!! I crept around ever so slowly and silently on tiptoe ignoring what was said. Those on their creaking camp chairs were actually making more noise than me!! Our Ranger didn’t tell me to sit still, so I didn’t. Anyway ….
… between hubby and I we took some nice photos. Hubby managed to get a creaking camp chair at a viewing slit so I didn’t spend the entire time tiptoeing around – we took it in turns to have ‘our best spot’ !!!
The resident terrapins ..
Female Nyala stood under the trees for a long time before they came down to drink ..
The larger of the two sloshed his way to a really muddy spot ..
… and had a mud spa treatment rolling around in the slosh ..
.. then off he toddled, dripping with muddy waters ..
Graceful impala were next …
Male and head of the herd alerted to a sound, looked our way (it wasn’t me! .. a creaking camp chair probably?)
.. and walked off, his herd following, some not even having a sip
Temptation was too great for this young male ..
A Waterbuck appeared from the thicket …
Off he strolled, Waterbuck’s distinctive marking on the bum ..
Another warthog took advantage of the free space at the ‘mud spa’ ..
There were three young ones on the other side of the waterhole who had been drinking and playing, but also made their way to the ‘mud spa’ after the older one left …
Time for us to leave … our picnic baskets for lunch were waiting at the lodge, as well as an afternoon siesta 🙂 We spotted one last animal under the trees, a Kudu bull, not moving, not looking our way .. obviously knowing we were there and waiting for us to make our way silently through the narrow high-sided pathway to our waiting vehicle so he could move to the water with his female companions who were further in the bush ..