5 Best reasons to use photographic hides

The Thrills of safari photography:
5 reasons to use photographic hides.

Going on an African safari means stepping in wilderness territory where nature’s magnificence unfolds before your eyes, painting live portraits of wildlife in their natural habitats. For photographers, capturing these moments is not just a passion but a pursuit of storytelling through images. In the stash of photographic tools available, one stands out—the photographic hide.


Nestled within a discreet hut, photographic hides offer a unique vantage point for observing wildlife up close, without disrupting their natural behavior. Whether concealed near a bustling waterhole or camouflaged amid dense foliage, these hides serve as sanctuaries of stillness, where you become immersed in the rhythm of the wild.

Photographic hide at Kafunta River Lodge
The photographic hide at Kafunta River Lodge

At Kafunta River Lodge, our hide is discreetly located beneath the main dining deck, providing an excellent spot to quietly observe hippos lounging in the swampy waters just in front of the lodge. Throughout the day, guests can often catch sight of various water birds and occasional troops of baboons stopping to drink from the numerous murky pools. There’s also a chance of spotting a crocodile lurking in the vicinity from time to time.

At Island Bush Camp, the hide is set in a grass hut positioned alongside an active waterhole frequented by playful elephants indulging in lengthy baths and dusting rituals.

Island Bush Camp the photographic hide
The hide at Island BC
The hide at Island Bush Camp with elephants
Elephants visiting the hide at Island BC

At Three Rivers Camp, although not a hide as such, we have a pond just in the middle of the camp, which is frequently visited by elephants and giraffes. And you can observe them while sipping a refreshing drink at the bar.

Three Rivers Camp elephants at the waterhole
The waterhole at Three Rivers Camp

All these vantage points provide unique opportunities to photograph South Luangwa’s wilderness. We also love the unpredictable nature of a hide; we never know what is going to happen – patience and anticipation are the essential ingredients for an unforgettable experience.

Out TOP 5 reasons to use the hides

Unparalleled Access to Wildlife: Positioned strategically in wildlife-rich areas, photographic hides provide unparalleled access to a diverse array of species. From majestic elephants to vibrant birdlife, and who knows – maybe an elusive big cat, these hides offer front-row seats to nature’s spectacular theatre.

Intimate Encounters: Unlike traditional safari vehicles, which can sometimes startle or disturb wildlife, hides allow for intimate encounters without intrusion. Animals roam freely, unaware of the human presence, enabling photographers to capture authentic moments of raw beauty and behavior.

elephants at Kafunta
The elephants seen from the hide

Optimal Photography Conditions: Designed with photographers in mind, hides offer optimal conditions for capturing stunning images. With unobstructed views, these structures enhance the quality of wildlife photography.

Banded mongooses drinking, unaware
A band of mongooses - totally unaware

Immersion in Nature: Sitting quietly within a hide, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the wilderness, is a deeply immersive experience. It fosters a profound connection with nature, allowing us to appreciate the intricate dynamics of ecosystems and the delicate balance of life.


Opportunities for Creativity: With patience and observation, photographers can experiment with different techniques and compositions to unleash their creative vision. From close-up portraits to sweeping landscapes, hides offer endless possibilities for artistic expression.

A flock of red-billed quelea taking off
A flock of red-billed quelea photographed from the hide

The tHRill of safari photography

Beyond the technical advantages, the use of photographic hides adds an element of thrill and anticipation to the safari experience. Sitting in silence, with only the rustle of leaves and the distant calls of wildlife breaking the stillness, heightens the senses. Each rustle in the bush or ripple in the water spikes up our adrenaline, signalling the imminent arrival of a wild visitor.


Then, as if by magic, the first silhouette emerges from the shadows. It can be a graceful antelope approaching the water’s edge with cautious curiosity. Or a lonely elephant silently coming out to drink. Another time, the crunch noise is simply a water monitor lizard sneaking through the dead leaves while scanning its surroundings.


But it’s not just about the thrill; it’s about building connections and developing a deeper appreciation for the natural world. In the stillness of the hide, we can’t help but feel a sense of respect and awe.

Impalas at waterhole
Some impalas photographed from a hide


Photographic hides offer a gateway to a world of wonder, where the boundaries between observer and observed blur, and the magic of the wilderness unfolds in all its glory.


So, the next time you find yourself on safari, don’t just observe from afar—immerse yourself in the heart of the action, concealed within a photographic hide. Whether at Kafunta River Lodge, Island Bush Camp or Three Rivers Camp, the adventure awaits, and the memories captured will last a lifetime.

Are you interested in wildlife photography? Read our 21 Best Photography Tips for an African safari. 

Many Lilian's Lovebirds drinking water
It would be impossible to photograph these Lilian's Lovebirds if it wasn't for a hide.

Photo credits: Izla Photography, Izzy Defourny, Kafunta Safaris. 

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