The Hide is located on the edge of an acacia stand overlooking a pan
The Hide: Our full report
The Hide is a relaxed and friendly small lodge which is well positioned within a north-eastern annex of Hwange National Park. It has been around for many years - Expert Africa has been sending travellers here since the mid-1990s - and it has successfully managed to ride out the recent political and financial turbulence in Zimbabwe.
The Hide is independent and owner run and as such has the feeling of a camp which has grown up and developed in a very organic fashion. On our last visit to The Hide in August 2010 the camp had recently undergone a month of refurbishment work. Some areas were modern and new while others still looked in need of an update (and are still due to get one!). This theme continues through to the accommodation with half of the chalets at The Hide having been recently refurbished and the other half looking somewhat older and more worn. It's clear however that there's been a personal investment made in the camp by its owners of nearly 20 years and this gives The Hide a particular warmth and a welcoming atmosphere.
The camp itself stands surrounded by acacia woodland overlooking an artificial pan which supports a variety of game including elephant that come to drink from the water-hole and giraffe that browse the acacia leaves. An ancient vlei (a dried up river bed) 'flows' across the front of camp and this linear clearing often provides a good location for sundowner drinks. It's interesting to note that the soft sands around the camp make it very difficult for hyena to den here and in their absence the lion density is slightly higher in this area than in comparison with other parts within Hwange National Park.
In terms of rooms, The Hide has:
- Ten en-suite A-frame tented chalets within the main camp which includes two family tents. (Read more about The Hide's chalets… )
- One “Dove's nest" platform for sleep-outs, which is a short distance from the camp. ( Read more about the Dove's Nest at The Hide…)
At the centre of The Hide is a large split level main area which is decorated throughout with kuba-cloth and other more locally sourced decorations and materials. There are a variety of comfortable chairs and tables from which to enjoy the sweeping views of the pan and vlei.
A plunge pool has recently been renovated at the front of camp and a wooden deck has been built around this. Set back from the front of camp there is a communal fire pit which provides a welcome source of heat during early morning coffee prior to the day's first game drive.
Meals at The Hide are laid-back events with everyone, including the hosts, dining together around a huge teak table in a dining room found in the communal area. The food at The Hide was very good on our last visit; the breakfast was particularly enjoyable, cooked on an open fire, this was hearty with plenty of variety – and had a very social atmosphere.
There is an emphasis on activities at The Hide with guided game drives and bush-walks available on a regular basis throughout the day. A typical day may start at six o'clock with a game drive or slightly later with a bush-walk. Both of these return in time for breakfast at around eight o'clock. At nine o'clock another, longer game-drive takes place returning for lunch at about one. High tea is taken at around three in the afternoon before an evening game-drive begins in the late afternoon at around four. This evening drive stops for sundowners and then returns at dusk in time for dinner. Because The Hide isn't inside the national park, a night drive is also available after dinner. This is typically a drive of no more than an hour or so but can be extended if something fascinating is found.
The Hide is well established; it has survived some tough times in recent years with levels of investment perhaps not at what they might have been. That said, this is now (2010) being put in, with substantial upgrades all round – and very large, new, well-appointed tents.
This is a good-quality camp which is clean and well managed, with very spacious new chalets and well-appointed bathrooms. Caring owners, helpful staff and knowledgeable guides add to the overall experience at The Hide and the annexed location of the camp makes night drives more of a feature here than at many other camps in the region. As the name would suggest, a number of well-positioned hides (especially one in close proximity to the busy waterhole) make for an interesting addition to the already jam-packed activity schedule on offer here.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay of around two or three nights at The Hide in order to take full advantage of the various activities available.
Directions: Pick-up is available from Hwange Main Camp or from Hwange Airport which is approximately 90 minutes drive away.
Owner: The Hide has been owned and run by the Preston family since its inception in 1992.
Staff: Angus Preston, MD of The Hide and son of the owner, is often in camp to host guests. Barry and Bridget are the resident managers (Barry is also a qualified guide) Cher is the hostess and Justin is the chef.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: During our visit in August 2010 we found the food at The Hide to be good and wholesome.
Breakfast is cooked on the fire and is normally served after the very early morning game activity. There is a choice of porridge, cereals and toast as well as a cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage.
Lunch is served around the large communal teak dining table after the second game activity. This is generally buffet-style where everyone helps themselves. On our visit we had a local fish called tilapia (bream) served with chunky chips and a broccoli and butternut salad.
For dinner we had beef roll stuffed with garlic and herbs served with mashed potatoes, gem squash and carrots. This was followed by a very tasty chocolate desert.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Soft-drinks and wines, spirits and beers are included in the price. High-end liqueurs, champagne, imported wines (except most South African wines) and spirits are not.
Attitude towards children: The camp considers the accommodation of children on a case-by-case basis.
Generally recommended for children: We don't recommend The Hide for families with children under the age of about 16; there is little for younger children to do between game drives.
Notes: This is an open safari camp; dangerous big game will wander through regularly – and so children must be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is no internet or mobile phone reception. A landline is available at reception for emergencies only.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: All the guides are trained in first aid. The nearest doctor is in Hwange Town or Victoria Falls and is accessed by air in an emergency.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The Hide employs night guards.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are provided in each room and in various locations around The Hide.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: The laundry service here is complimentary, although for cultural reasons, underwear can't be washed. Washing powder is available for guests who wish to do their own.
Money: At the end of your stay at The Hide there is the opportunity to tip the staff. This is possible through making a cash donation to one of three envelopes; one for your guide, one for junior guides and one for more general staff. If you wish to contribute to this then cash will be needed. It should be noted that because The Hide lies in an annex of the national park and is officially outside of park boundaries a charge of US$ 20 per person per day is charged to the bill for park fees at the end of each stay.