We never get closer to wildlife in their natural habitat than when we’re inside a Hide.
Eye-level to the waterhole, the animals don’t even know we’re there. Or if they do, they pretend they don’t notice us so as not to spoil the moment! Literally a few feet from them, we are impossibly close, watching in silent awe as they slake their thirst in the heat of the day.
We love watching the elephants most of all. They drink a lot of water – as much as 150 liters a day for an adult – and they love to play in it and spray it all over their huge, wrinkled bodies. Amazingly, even though we are so close, we stay quite dry. Usually.
The only sounds are the slurping, splashing and deep rumbles as they communicate, our camera shutters, and the occasional whisper between us as we watch, completely mesmerized at what’s before us.
In the pregnant heat before the summer rains arrive, families of elephants come in a steady, orderly stream to the waterhole by the hundreds. Each family only stays in the waterhole for a few minutes before moving on to make room for the next. It’s all so considerate, so unselfish, so thoughtful – another lesson for us humans!
Others have to drink too
Cape buffalo, the toughest gang in the African wilderness, come in their massive herds and don’t care much for company – or leave any room for them either. They rely on the power of their numbers – and bad attitude – to have the waterhole to themselves.
Other animals like antelopes, wildebeest and zebra are more skittish at the waterhole. They also have an absolute need to drink every day. And they know that they are at their most vulnerable when they are heads-down drinking. Not coincidentally, the lions know this too and will hang around the waterhole daring prey animals to ‘come on down for a drink.’
Our time spent in the Hide is indescribably tranquil. We feel the presence of all these wonderful animals just an arms length away. We just watch in breathless awe as they drink deeply of the life-giving water.
We experience the wonder of nature close enough to reach out and touch her wonderful creatures. And the experience is intensely personal for each of us. We are in their world. No words are needed – or are adequate.
And here, we can safely ignore every guide’s words on a walking safari: “Whatever you do, don’t run!” There’s no need to. We can Hide.
To see a wonderful video of elephants cavorting in a hide waterhole, click here.
Experience Wonder. On a Tasimba Safari.