Experiencing the Mhondoro Waterhole Hide for the first time was really a big deal for me – and I needed to sit back and try take in all the feelings I felt. I would call it a ‘senses overload’ because not only do you see a beautiful view, but you also hear the animal drinking from the waterhole, as well as feel the gentle breeze on your face as you get up close and personal with the wonders of nature.
The Mhondoro Waterhole Hide is a unique underground tunnel directly joined to the main lodge. The tunnel is 65m long and the walls are filled with incredible wildlife photographs taken here at the hide, leading to a quiet place of peace and perfection. The tunnel was constructed in reinforced concrete, making it strong and safe, and once you enter the hide one can’t believe that you are so close and at eye-level with any animals drinking at the waterhole. We call this an “eye level” waterhole because once you are seated within the hide, you will be on the exact height and level as the animal drinking, which produces superb photographic opportunities. No guide is needed when going to the hide, which allows you to enter at any time, whilst giving you the freedom of spending as long as you want in the hide.
Being an aspiring Wildlife Photographer, I have spent hours and hours down in the waterhole hide because it gives me endless photo opportunities and there are no disturbances down there. This means that you really can get those ‘one of a kind’ types of shots. Mhondoro is the first and only luxury safari lodge in South Africa to have this tunnel and waterhole hide that offers such intimate encounters with wildlife from this vantage point and within a very safe structure. Let’s have a look at a few advantages of coming to the Waterhole Hide at Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa:
- Taking photos at a low level gives a different perspective.
- Animals appear larger and this is a respectful way for photographers to show the animal.
- When using short focal lengths, it is possible to include the sky or the beautiful background.
- You can get up close to photograph birds.
- There is always a strong sense of anticipation while waiting for the animal to arrive.
- You are able to view wildlife without disrupting them.
Mhondoro has a couple of elephant bulls that visit the lodge on a regular basis to drink at this hide and they are often joined by a number of different animal species such as: impala, kudu, waterbuck, warthog, wildebeest, baboons and red hartebeest, as well as the occasional cheetah and rhino.
TIP: When planning your next safari to Mhondoro Safari Lodge & Villa, always remember to bring a camera with a flexible lens to use for long distance shots, as well as the waterhole close ups. It’s always recommended to bring a memory card with at least 8gig of space and be sure to prepare yourself for a photographic experience of a lifetime!
Marcus Hack – Mhondoro Ranger