Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Hide, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Elephant: "Hello!"

Okay, so this is where the blog posts have the potential to get really boring. You see, I could tell you about how we got up really early and went for a drive, had a siesta, then went for another drive. I could write a really long list with lots and lots of commas (and I do like commas) with all the animals that we saw. But really, you just want to scroll down and see the photos (in fact you might already have done that).

Before you do though, let me tell you just a couple of stories from our stay at The Hide in Hwange National Park.

As the name suggests, 'The Hide' has a hide (actually two) that looks out over water pan that elephants love to visit and we managed to score a most amazing visit. We came down to the main building for dinner one night when a herd of elephant was drinking at the pan so we headed down into the hide to watch. They were pretty far off at this point, but there was also a smaller pan where a particular group of elephants apparently like to come. We were sitting there watching this group of elephants mucking around on the pan - a bull elephant, females and babies. The bull elephant was huge. And he knew we were there. He came right over to the hide, which has an open window at the front, and started sniffing around for us. His trunk came right in the window and I could have reached out and touched his knee. There were about ten of us in the hide and none of us were even breathing. I was trying to calculate how much damage a bull elephant would do if it climbed on top of the hide (which is a half-buried shipping container) but finally he just decided he'd rather we didn't watch, so he grabbed a vine that was growing on top of the hide with his trunk and pulled it down to block the viewing window, then he shuffled off back to the water and we all started breathing again.

They also have a hide/treehouse called the Dove's Nest where you can spend the night. They drive you out there, it's in the middle of the park, no other buildings in sight. You climb three stories and they leave you there with no electricity and a walkie talkie in case you freak out and need to call them to come pick you up in the middle of the night, which people do. And the toilet is on the ground floor. I wasn't too clear on whether going to use the toilet during the night was strictly safe since they were pretty clear on the 'if you go out of this door you will die' so I just crossed my legs and poisoned my kidneys. Sounds delightful doesn't it? But when you wake up in the morning, and you watch jackals brushing through the long grass tinged with early morning golden light, it all seems kind of worthwhile.

Two shout outs for The Hide - firstly, manager Leanne who loaned me clothing so I didn't have to wear the same two outfits over and over (and let me take them on to the next camp as well) as well as trying to follow up with the airline and find out where my bag was. Secondly, we had an amazing guide Daffy who understood, and shared, Will's obsession interest in birds and photography so would stop for every little bee-eater, knew what they all were and would drive around to get the best shot in the best light. Many thanks if you're reading this!

Wildebeest

Southern Yellow-billed Hornbills

Greater Kudu

Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Go-away-bird

Giraffe

Giraffe with Oxpeckers in flight

Impala stands his ground

Sunset on the concession


Cape Buffalo

Young Zebra

Grey Crowned Crane

Lilac-breasted Roller

Lilac-breasted Roller in flight

Possible a Tawny Eagle

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

European Roller




Tawny Eagle

Tawny Eagle

Yellow-billed Kite

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu

Greater Kudu being rude

A big Lion

Kori Bustard









Waterbuck

Rufous-naped Lark







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