Mhondoro is known for many unique elements and quality experiences. But for close quarter game viewing none are so impressive than the underground game viewing hide! I was very excited when I heard about the underground hide at Mhondoro. What I experienced exceeded my expectations! This hide allows guests the exciting opportunity to secretly drop down into a tunnel rigged with motion sensor lights.  As you enter large wooden doors a sign reminds you to be silent and to keep calm. You then start to descend and steadily drop down into the earth. The darkness unexpectedly becomes lit as you slowly and stealthily “meander” towards this secret shelter designed to view animals from very close quarters.

The tunnel stretches 65meters and the walls are lined with images of animals already encountered whilst the tunnel was being built. Images of elephant that frequent the water; belly deep warthogs wallowing; zebra drinking a mere few metres away catch your attention as you follow the path down. As you reach the end and step out of the tunnel you are literally walking shoulder deep in the centre of a waterhole! Almost immediately your view extends to 180 and if your timing is right you can literally see an elephants foot at eye level…

My very first experience in the hide was seeing 2 Rhino walking from the distant tree line straight towards the waterhole. We were standing on the deck when we saw them coming closer. We immediately took the opportunity to go down into the tunnel to hopefully see them drinking. Within a few minutes we were already at the edge of the water excitingly waiting in anticipation for them to make there appearance. These very large and rare pachyderms slowly walked up, looked around and without hesitation proceeded to drink. Welgevonden has an extremely successful anti-poaching record. The reserve designed several programs to keep these animals extremely safe. What a pleasure to see them this close knowing that they are very well looked after. To say that this is just a wildlife hide does not do this piece of engineering genius justice. It’s more like a mini journey into the earths crust towards a secret hide-out where animals can be be heard, smelled and experienced at very close proximity.

This is probable the most impressive hide i’ve encountered on Safari. This “secret underground cave” was designed and built using modern building technique. It’s so close and easily accessible from your suite that if you see animals drinking at the waterhole you can be photographing them within a few minutes.

Mhondoro’s underground hide provides for regular wildlife sightings. It’s a great activity for the whole family or perfect for a quite session with a good book. Viewing animals at such close quarters is a magical experience and provides for amazing photographic opportunities.

Fritz Breytenbach

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