Reviews of The Hide
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
The Hide review
We arrived at The Hide in time for tea. It is a splendid safari lodge. The facilities are excellent and likewise the food. A particularly nice touch was the fact that the managers, Ian and his wife Leanne, as well as the guides, took their meals with the guests.
As with Changa, we had a first class guide, Daffie. Although it was the wet season (in fact not very wet this year) there were plenty of animals, and again beautiful birds, in evidence. Many elephants came to The Hide's water hole on two of our three evenings (the third one being a full moon night, and not many animals were seen altogether). Other memorable encounters which we had were one and a half hours spent with two male lions one afternoon, observing a cape buffalo from close up, and successfully tracking down a cheetah and her juvenile offspring.
Wonderful! Also, The Hide's underground observation room, about 50 yards away from the main building made for a unique, albeit very safe, close encounter with a male elephant bull - an experience we shall never forget.
Painted Dogs at the hidd
An excellent lodge in a superb location, this is one of the best places we have stayed, i only have 1 criticism; sometimes it can seem a tad too formal, but do not lat that put you off.
In 1 memorable morning we saw a pack of 17 wild dogs, 250 buffallo, and 100 Elephants; all from the Hide it'self.
The Hide review
Location next to waterhole gives wonderful and very close access to game. Staff friendly and very helpful, AMAZING food, brilliant guide.
Family of 5 and stayed at Tom’s Little Hide....loved it !!
The Hide review
The best part of our holiday.
The service and attention we had could not be faulted.
The game viewing was well planned and varied the guide knowledgeable and helpful.
Food is good and plentiful and surprisingly varied you don't go hungry.
One of the few places we would go back to our stay was too short!
I saw all the game I expected even a glimpse of the wild/coloured dogs.
Amazing Safari at the Hide
Our Safari at the Hide was by far the highlight of our entire time in Africa. The property is absolutely beautiful. We stayed at Tom's Little Hide, and it is just wonderful. There are three large bedroom areas with beautiful indoor and outdoor showers, bath tubs, beds…there is even a plunge pool outside on the deck.
The service was 5 star. Ian and Leanne took excellent care of all our needs, large and small. They really went above and beyond to make our stay enjoyable. They also have daily laundry included and an area for wifi.
The food was amazing, the best we had in Africa by far. We had private dinning in Tom's Little Hide, the dining room was great, they served breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, whatever we wanted. We also really enjoyed having dinner at main camp with everyone else. It was so nice to chat with the others and have a social evening.
Our guide, Mark Friend, was just incredible. He is so knowledgable about everything in the bush, from the smallest plant life to the largest animals (and how to handle a herd of buffalo standing a few feet from the jeep!). He is also very kind, funny and accommodating to all of our questions and needs (and there were many from the 6 of us!). We went on early morning hikes, late night drives, and everything in between. We saw so many amazing animals and enjoyed drinks and snacks at the watering hole at sunset with herds of zebra, giraffe and elephants. It was just beautiful.
They really take safety seriously and we appreciate that.
We want to come back to Zimbabwe just to go to the Hide - but for a longer stay next time.
From the moment we arrived we were made to feel more than welcome.
The guides were fantastic and their knowledge made such a difference to our understanding of wildlife. Nothing was too much trouble for them.
We chose to have very full days to get the maximum from our visit and it all worked out extremely well, but others could spend the time enjoying wildlife at the waterhole.
The Hide review
We have visited previously and looked forward to our return - they did not disappoint.
Over more than twenty years we have travelled extensively to southern Africa on safari and in certain locations have found camps or lodges to which we keep returning. The Hide falls into that category.
We feel that the Hide benefits from the ownership being a privately/family owned operation and we were made to feel "at home" and the organisation of the events for the day is very relaxed and personalised.
The location in terms of the view from the main facility is one of the best we have met and it is possible (at the right time of year) to virtually stay at the camp and watch all the animals come to you. The waterhole in front of the camp is large and well frequented and provides excellent photographic opportunities.
We consider the Hide to be very good value and look forward to a return soon.
A truly professional camp!
The Hide is a well-established camp that pays great attention to detail. A very high standard of guiding and a good range of game, including at its own waterhole. The rooms are well-laid out thatched and tented. Ours was one of the honeymoon suites (must have been at least our third honeymoon!) with indoor shower, two outdoor showers and an outdoor bath.
It's a very comfortable camp but doesn't feel in any way 'over the top'. You can do as much or as little as you want. We had the same guide (Dafi) throughout our stay (we were paired with one other couple) and he was licensed to take us walking as well as driving. We came across buffalo, elephants and kudu while on foot and saw lion who had killed two elephant, wildebeest and giraffes and ostrich from the vehicle. The number of elephants was astounding - we must have seem at least 100 at one waterhole. One of the highlights was an amazing electric storm which chased us back to camp after the evening drive. 24mm of rain fell in about an hour and the power went out - but the kitchen still delivered dinner promptly at 8 o'clock! We were pleased we had chosen to spend 3 nights here.
What a waterhole!
What we most enjoyed about The Hide was the feeling of being in the wild. Elephants just outside our tent at 2am, buffalo watching us having dinner, bushbuck nearly on our veranda.
There are plenty of activities to choose from but we missed some of these because it was so peaceful and relaxing on the veranda watching animals come to the waterhole. Except for ostriches we saw all the animals at the waterhole that we saw on our drives.
We enjoyed the cup of coffee with the wake-up call-why don't more camps do this? Excellent cooked breakfast eaten outside.
Low game, weak game drives, Disappointing!
I was VERY disappointed in my experience at The Hide. The game drives were incredibly weak and that section of Hwange National Park has very low game density. I went there specifically for the game but found the guide to be very weak. He had little to say, and did not stop to view the very few animals (small predators) which we did pass. His reason for this, during the one instance that I insisted he stop, was the he did not want to get stuck in the sand on the road. I was there for four nights and it was a complete waste of my time. Given a do-over, I would have completely skipped both The Hide and possibly Hwange. The experience did not compare to South Luangwa National Park in any way.
The guide to whom I was assigned is quite new and I would rate him a 2 on a scale of 10. I am comparing him to the guides I have had at 7 other safari camps during 2 recent safaris. During the final day I requested a different guide and had one interesting game drive, albeit with us seeing almost no game. But the experienced guide was able to make the experience interesting by filling in the time with information about other things such as plants and a description of an elephant salt lick, etc.
The Hide has a water hole in front at which some interesting game passes through, particularly African elephants. The only good animal sightings I had spent watching the water hole with binoculars.
Other things to consider: They do not use bottled water and it is not available to buy at camp. If you don't wish to drink untreated Zimbabwean water, bring water purification tablets and your own water bottle. There is no heat in the rooms and the shower water gets warm but not hot. The very rustic accommodations provided an interesting change, but the price point is far beyond what is on offer here.
The positives about The Hide were due to many of the people: The guests comprised a very interesting, international group of people. The management was welcoming and professional. The wait staff was attentive and helpful. The dinners are served family style, so it is an interesting place if you are traveling alone.
Expert Africa comments
We were really sorry to read this report. We passed the comments to lodges team where Lorraine, who has owned The Hide for many years, quickly replied that she was devastated and amazed by it, before taking time to investigate the issues.
Firstly, for her first few days, this traveller went out with Jean, one of the Hides learner guides. Jeans a young Zimbabwean man of 20 who has grown up with a passion for wildlife, especially birds and spent a lot of time camping in the bush (notably in Mana Pools). After his A-levels he worked and saved to follow his dream of becoming a professional guide. He put himself through the first set of guides exams, passing first time in Feb 2011. (Quite a feat if studying on your own!) It gave Jean the qualification to guide game drives, whilst working as an apprentice to a Zim-pro guide.
The Hide heard about him, and offered him a position over a year ago, and Jean has spent the last year shadowing the camps excellent pro-guides. He has already, from his salary, bought all the literature to study and the necessary rifle. Jeans a very well-mannered young man, but under-confident. His knowledge is said to be excellent, but hes shy and doesnt always have the confidence to impart that knowledge to guests. Clearly he didnt have the confidence to deal with the sand trap near the jackal that he should have had!
Zimbabwes Zim-pro standard of guiding is the gold standard in Africa: the continent top guiding qualification. Getting it requires many years of learning, and practice on the job. Thus some guides at even the best camps are learner-guides; they are qualified to conduct game drives, but not to lead walking safaris. Jean was one of these guides.
The Hide is now reviewing their policy on their learner guides; re-considering how much guides like Jean are used to guide guests on their own. They pride themselves on high guiding standards, and realise that allocating this inexperienced guide to one guest for multiple days wasnt fair.
That said, they deeply regret that this traveller didnt tell the manager what she felt much earlier. Had they known that there was a problem they would have immediately swapped her guide for one of their more senior guides.
Weve had good game viewing in Hwange, and guests staying for three nights just before our traveller had five sightings of three different leopards, and good lion sightings. However, we understand that a small bushfire close to camp a few days earlier, and some burning of firebreaks on Hwanges boundary, by the National Parks Authority, may have chased some of the game, including the areas usual pride of lions (with cubs), out of its normal territory near the lodge.
Regarding the bottled water, most camps are now doing away with plastic disposable water bottles; the environmental impact of their transport and disposal is massive. The Hide has installed a top-of-the-range five stage reverse osmosis water filter to produce very pure, clean drinking water. This kind of system is becoming more the norm than plastic bottled water across Africa, so Lorraine apologised that this clearly hadnt been explained properly. The Hides water is not untreated in fact its probably of a higher quality than most municipal water supplies in the developed world.
Water for showers in each tent is heated individually by gas. Whilst these systems are checked regularly, clearly this one wasnt working properly. If this traveller had reported the problem to the lodge team, theyre sure that they could have rectified it immediately, and got the shower piping hot. This issue wasnt reported to the managers by this traveller, or anyone staying in the room before or since.