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“Our first safari experience”
Review of The Hide

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The Hide
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 2, 2012

Our first experience of a safari was spent at The Hide for 3 awesome days. The Hide exceeded all expectations with its welcoming and friendly staff, they could not have made our time in Zimbabwe any better. I have to give a big thanks to Nicholas and Duffy our guides for making this experience so memorable. The food was wonderful, the service great and the overall stay has left an impression that will last for a lifetime. We took the opportunity to stay in the Tree House and would fully recommend this experience. We thought this would be our only visit to Zimbabwe, but the experience at The Hide has made us want to go back again and again. Thank you all so much for making our visit such a wonderful lifetime experience. The Orrs, Australia

Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Debi O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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350 - 356 of 451 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2012

Firstly, a massive thank-you to everyone at the Hide for making our experience great. Nicky, Ian and Andrew deserve particular thanks. We stayed at three places over the course of our holiday and this was the part of our holiday that stood out. The service was impeccable although I felt a bit odd having people jump up to offer me a drink when I was already at the self service bar. Some of our favourite experiences were in the evenings chatting with guests and staff around the fire pit.

The food and accommodation is great, and the location is remote, 1.5 hours drive from the main gate to the camp! It really is out in the wilderness. It may seem a bit daft to say, but worth bearing in mind that but other than safari there isn't much else to do here so be prepared to take a good book with you.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Alexander P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 14, 2012

Just spent three nights at the Hide from August 2 through August 4, leaving August 5th, 2012.

The Hide was great. Food was very good. The guides and hosts were very nice and knowledgeable. The rooms were really nice and the beds were very comfortable. We always felt safe.

The animal life was abundant and we saw new species each day (at least 25 different species, excluding birds over three days or so). The safari vehicles have a 2x2x2 seating arrangement with a holding box between seats. The guides know a lot about the wildlife, stopped whenever requested, and spoke with other camps about where certain wildlife may be. If the animal species you are interested in seeing are in the area, they will know it. Again, they stopped for any creature, including me photographing squirrels and mongooses and not just for lions and elephants.

The Hide has electricity which means the camp is very well lit. It is also in a remote corner of the park and you may only see 5 other vehicles during the course of a day.

In between traveling by jeep, the waterhole that the Hide looks upon has many species of animals stopping by for a drink throughout the day. There is also the hide from which to see animals at the waterhole. Some guests had great experiences wating in the hide for animals to come for a drink. My family didn't as the animals were absent during our turn. Oh, well.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank virginiabackpacker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2012

The Hide was the most memorable experience of our vacation in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The accommodations were extremely tasteful and comfortable. Little details such as hot water bottles waiting for us in bed on chilly nights were much appreciated and anticipated. The food was absolutely delicious and enjoyed even by the most finicky eater in our family (myself). The staff were top rate and we even felt completely at ease leaving our 11 year old daughter in the room when she chose not to partake in the early morning safari. The guides - I will never forget. We were lucky to have both Nicolas as well as Shephard as guides and they were both phenomenal. Extremely knowledgeable in ecology, biology, and conservation, they were both engaging and friendly and we couldn't have asked for more. While the sheer number of game were fewer than in South Africa, the large herds of elephants more than made up for the fewer numbers of other animals. Sinanga was by far my favorite watering hole, where hundreds of elephants could be seen at once including tiny newborn calves. We can't wait to return, and intend to visit the other camp operated by the same family in Lake Kariba.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank DKM2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2012

We had a great time at the Hide. It's location is very remote and it feels like you're experiencing something that very few people get to see. We saw quite a few animals on our game drives / walks. The unspoiled wilderness is beautiful. One of our guides was great, the other not so great. Communal dinners around a 30-seater table let us hear stories from all around the world. We stayed in Tom's Safari House, the newest of the accommodations that wasn't pictured on the website. It was even better than the "tents" pictured on the site. In the daytime, the screen walls made for a nice breeze, but at night, it was very cold in the room. Hot water for showering was inconsistent. The rooms are arranged around a large water hole and animals came within meters of our backyard. I recommend watching elephants drink at the water hole from the upper level of the A-frame at dusk with a gin and tonic in hand. All food and drink is supplied. Water is safe for western bellies. There is no TV, mobile phone reception or WiFi access. No keys or room safe, yet we felt secure. It takes 1.5 hours on dirt roads to get to the Hide from Hwange main camp.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Matthew P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2012

This was my families first trip to Africa and we were lucky enough to pick The Hide as our safari location. We all loved the way you felt detached from the modern world with no money, laptops, phones or even keys to worry about. We took advantage of all 4 drives each day and were rewarded by seeing Leopard, Lions plus plenty other game on each & every drive. The food was great, Jean our young guide was perfect for our family consisting of myself & my wife plus our four fairly grown up kids (20, 19, 17, 16). The rooms were all different & all had a great view of the waterhole. My wife & I also spent a night in the treehouse, an unforgetable experience with the sound of roaring lions all around you. We hope to return in the future, thank you to all the staff for making our experience so wonderful.

Room Tip: All different with their own features, request a bath or outside shower if required.
  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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Thank relaxmilli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Hide-Gavin, Owner at The Hide, responded to this reviewResponded July 24, 2012

Thank you so much for your wonderful post. We too are delighted that you chose The Hide and we successfully contributed to a wonderful first time African safari experience. Hwange National Park offers a large diversity of wildlife, over 100 mammal and 408 bird species including the Big 5 – we are delighted that you witnessed some of these beautiful animals first hand. The Dove’s Nest Tree House is certainly a special experience, made even better with lions roaring around you through the night. We pride ourselves in offering a very high standard total safari experience. We are pleased that we managed to achieve this for you and your family. We look forward to welcoming you and/or your friends back to The Hide soon.

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Reviewed July 16, 2012

Unfortunately, I was 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 little of that. My guide was 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 to view a jackal, was the he did not want to get stuck in the sand on the road. I was there for four nights and felt that 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 at The Hide is relatively new and I would rate him a 2 on a scale of 10, despite the fact that he is a nice guy. I am comparing his guiding to the guides I have had at 7 other safari camps on 2 different safaris. During the final day I requested a different guide and had one interesting game drive, albeit with us still 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 a plethora of African elephants. My only good animal sightings were spent watching the water hole with binoculars, from camp. This part was fun but the game drives were a complete waste of time. Several South African guests were laughing about the fact that they'd gotten up at 6am to see a couple of impala.

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 filtered but chemically untreated Zimbabwean water, bring water purification tablets with you 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 solely to 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.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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4  Thank LovesDogsinSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The_Hide-Gavin, Owner at The Hide, responded to this reviewResponded July 19, 2012

Thank you to this traveller for posting this feedback about their experience at The Hide. We are devastated and amazed by this report and therefore would like to offer some clarity.

Firstly, for her first few drives, this traveller was allocated one of The Hide’s guides who holds a learner guides qualification. Although keen and knowledgeable, he is inexperienced in certain circumstances. The guide has been employed for 15 months and has been taking guests out on successful game drives since.

If this traveller was unhappy with her guide, then we would have hope that she would stated this clearly to the manager, and ask for another. In this case, the management were unaware that this traveller was unhappy or they would have immediately changed the guide to a more senior guide.

Game viewing in Hwange has been very good but it is never guaranteed. Hwange National Park is a true wilderness and wildlife area spanning some 14,600 sq km. It is unlike smaller fenced private game reserves where animal sightings are guaranteed in zoo-like fashion. Travellers staying just before our traveller IN 30 OUT 2 July 2012 enjoyed three different leopard on five separate sightings, and also good lion and plains game sightings. However, a small bushfire was suspiciously started in the middle of our concession on the 29th of June, days before the traveller’s visit. Furthermore, just days before this, the National Parks Authority and our neighbours on the adjoining properties, were undertaking their annual fire guard preparation by burning swaths of bush, known as firebreaks, on the perimeter boundary of the National Park. The sum of these fires created a large volume of smoke in the area which chased off the pride of lions (which currently have cubs) as well as other plains game animals.

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 pure, clean drinking water. This water filtration system has become more the ‘norm’ than plastic bottled water across Africa, perhaps this was not clearly explained to the traveller, for which we apologize. Regarding the comment that The Hide’s water is untreated, in fact, The Hide’s water is treated and we believe that it is better quality than water from municipal 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 wasn’t working properly. If this traveller had reported the problem to the lodge management, we are sure the management would have rectified it immediately, and got the shower piping hot.

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Additional Information about The Hide

Address: | Hwange National Park, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Hwange National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Hwange National Park
Price Range: $766 - $1,841 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — The Hide 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Well known and much loved, The Hide Safari Camp is situated within Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's largest game reserve, renowned for its abundant and diverse wildlife. Built in 1992, The Hide has justly earned its reputation as a great wildlife experience wrapped in warm and welcoming hospitality. Accommodating up to 20 guests in comfortable, spacious, en-suite luxury tents under thatch, The Hide prides itself on having a family of experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. Activities on offer include guided walks with a professional guide, day and night game drives, ‘hide’ sits, sleepovers at the romantic Dove’s Nest and much more! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Hide Hotel Hwange National Park
Hide Hwange National Park

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