Reviews of The Hide
Wildlife sightings and reviews
29 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited The Hide and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
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." See all these reviews: 9n in Zimbabwe; 1n in South Africa
"The Hide review"
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." See all these reviews: 8n in Zimbabwe; 2n in Botswana; 1n in South Africa
"A truly professional camp!"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Zimbabwe
"What a waterhole!"
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." See all these reviews: 11n in Zimbabwe
"Low game, weak game drives, Disappointing!"
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." See all these reviews: 6n in Zimbabwe; 3n in Zambia
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.
"Wow-this was amazing!"
We ate and drank around a large teak table which was a very sociable way to end the day and the food was delicious. Having been open for twenty years, or so, it felt traditional but not stuffy and there was great attention to detail." See all these reviews: 7n in Zimbabwe
"The Hide review"
In our opinion, when considering the charges for this lodge, it punches well above its weight.
The quality of the food was very high and its presentation made one feel you were in a quality restaurant. Not large quantities and you don't need that when there are so many meals in a day, but absolute superb quality.
The Manager, Ian, was always available to communicate with guests and arranged our programme which had considerable flexibility and options.
We had the advantage of being present at a time of year when game sightings were plentiful in the area due to water being concentrated at the water holes. I do not know how good the sightings would be when there is rain and water available in more widespread areas.
The lodge provides several options for the length of game drives so, if you are up for it, you can spend a large part of the day game driving or however long you wish depending on your energy levels. They have 2hour, 3 hour and 4 hour drives scheduled each day plus a variety of other activities including walks, community visits, and an excellent hide right alongside the main water hole in front of the lodge from where you can get superb pictures - it seems you can almost touch the animals as the drink at the waters edge.
This a privately run operation, not part of a group, and that ensures attention to guest needs is high on their list of priorities.
You have to remember that the lodge is within the National Park and they are not allowed to go "off road" so some of the trips may appear to cover the same ground but this did not appear too much of a problem as the sightings were plentiful. However, this comment will apply to all the lodges in the Park." See all these reviews: 8n in Zimbabwe; 1n in South Africa
"The Hide review"
All the staff are genuinely helpful and friendly and you are made to feel at home. The big family room was just right for us and we could watch the animals walk pass our veranda on their way to drink from the pan. The food was excellent and we really enjoyed eating around the large communal table for meals. There is a lovely fire to sit around at night before and after dinner and this is where you get the opportunity to swap stories and talk more to other guests and your guides about their work and life in Zimbabwe. The hot water bottles in our bed each night were a lovely cosy touch.
The guides at the Hide are all incredibly knowledgeable and committed with a real passion for their work. We saw lion, elephant , giraffe, Zebra, wlldebeest, lesser Bushbaby and more and learn't so much about not just the animals but beautiful birds too. We went somewhere different every day and went out with different guides so that we had a real variety of experience.
The highlight of our stay was seeing a Cheetah up close from our jeep - a very cool and handsome creature." See all these reviews: 14n in Zimbabwe
Holiday styles & special interests in Zimbabwe
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Zimbabwe.
Other lodges in Hwange National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.