Tag Archives: cheetah

22 Images from the awesome Zimanga Wildlife Hides

A backlit portrait of a yawning lion photographed during the NaturesLens Zimanga Wildlife Hides and Safaris photography tour

In September 2019, I led our second trip of the year to make use of the main reserve & Zimanga wildlife hides in South Africa. Our photography tour is a combination of hide photography & traditional game drives, with the main attraction being the overnight hides & the opportunities that may present itself.

The Big Five can be photographed here but on this particular occasion, the leopard eluded us. More on that story later!
Our first game drive set the tone for the remainder of the trip – we walked with a pair of cheetah brothers. This is a truly breathtaking experience – there are no words to describe what a privilege it was to be in the company of these stunning, graceful predators.
The following morning saw our first hide session in the Scavenger Hide. The set-up is meticulous, the hide has been positioned to give photographers a clean background. As you look out of the hide, there are two perches, one to the left & one to the right. Both have been positioned for the 300mm lens – you don’t need long lenses here at Zimanga.
The Scavenger Hide is popular with canids & birds of prey like vultures & tawny eagles. And, it would seem, hornbills too!
We encountered the first of the Big Five during our afternoon game drive – the elephant. We were mindful that we had strayed into their territory but they seemed to be perfectly relaxed & not the least bothered by our presence.
The following morning saw us in one of the birdbath hides. If you love birds, this is the hide for you! We had visits from blue waxbills, oxpecker, cape glossy starling & even a brown hooded kingfisher, to name but a few of the species. Quelea, yellow fronted canary, Jamieson’s fire finch, coucal, & Black-capped bulbul were also frequent visitors.
Our first overnight hide session was in Tamboti. We had many visits from another of the Big Five – the Cape Buffalo. They may not be as glamorous or as highly sought after like the lions or even the leopard, but they make for a pretty stunning subject.
Activity at the Lagoon Hide was quieter than normal, so we used this opportunity for some photography tuition, assisted by a very obliging black crake, green-backed heron & even a crocodile!
Our next overnight session was in Umgodi. We didn’t have to wait long before the first visitors arrived – the nyala. Later on in the evening, we would be visited by the third member of the Big Five – the Rhinoceros. As you can see, their horns have been removed to protect these gentle herbivores from poachers.
It has to be said that photographing from the overnight hides is very addictive! It can also be very tiring but the rewards are worth it. These state of the art hides are equipped with wifi, flushing toilet, beds, kitchenette furnished with a microwave & fridge to ensure that your time in the hide is as comfortable as possible.
The modus operandi for using the overnight hides is to arrive around 3.30 pm so that you have the opportunity to photograph from the afternoon to sunset, through the night, to sunrise. We were fortunate to have warthog & rhinos visit by day & it was a real treat to be able to observe their behaviour up close & personal.
Everyone in the group had opted for an extra activity in the form of a backlit session with the lions. Judging from the photos I have seen, I think I can safely say that it was a huge success.
Our trip to the Zimanga wildlife hides was coming to an end but we had not yet managed to photograph the elusive leopard. When we were offered the opportunity to have another go in Tamboti, we jumped at the chance! As the saying goes, “you have to be in it, to win it.”
We didn’t get the leopard. Instead, we were treated to visits from hyena, nyala bull, hare & a serval cat! On our way back to the lodge for breakfast, we came across the sub-adult lions. It was the perfect end to a perfect trip.


To photograph the awesome wildlife of Zimanga for yourself, join Pui Hang, in South Africa for the 1st – 8th May 2020 for a 7-night photography trip. With photography opportunities in traditional open jeeps & specially designed hides at water level, including an overnight hide, this tour will give you unrivalled exposure to the wildlife.

The photography holiday is offered on a full board, shared basis. Group size for this photography holiday is a minimum of 6 participants & a maximum of 6, plus Pui Hang
All the details of the Zimanga Wildlife Hides & Safaris Photography Holiday are available on the dedicated event page & it’s priced at the rather super price of £2999 at the moment.

Photograph the African Wildlife of Zimanga in 2018

A low level image of a herd of elephant, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

Head to South Africa to photograph the African wildlife of the Zimanga Reserve, the first reserve in Africa to be designed specifically to satisfy the needs of today’s wildlife photographer.

A low level image of a herd of elephant, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

The 2018 event has one place available – you can join the NaturesLens Zimanga African Hides & Safari Photography Holiday, which is taking place between the dates of May 4, 2018 – May 11, 2018 , & is priced at £3599 – you can hold your place with a 20% deposit only.

A low level image of a rhino, typical of those that may be captured at Zimanga Game Reserve during the NaturesLens African Wildlife of Zimanga Photography Holiday

The African bushveld is an environment famed for its variety of wildlife, & the unique safari experience it can provide for wildlife photography enthusiasts. Join NaturesLens photography leaders on an African wildlife experience, delving deep into sub-tropical bushland; photographing incredible native species from both jeep & specially designed hides which are embedded within the landscape.

This is a trip you’ll never forget, & will have you leaving with both stunning images & memories which you will treasure for a lifetime. Places are limited so make sure to book early to avoid missing out.

Our trip offers you 5 traditional game viewing drives from open safari vehicles, with no more than two photographers per row to ensure maximum comfort & access to the best angles for photography. These are not limited to tracks, so off-roading will give you maximum photography opportunities. You will also have at your disposal a range of water-level hides, which are perfectly positioned to capture images of the African wildlife at their eye-level. These hides have been created with the photographer in mind, providing the optimum structure & positioning throughout the park.

Accommodation & internal transport is included within the price of the trip to keep things simple for you & NaturesLens will provide photography tuition as needed.

This is a trip you will never forget – book now to avoid disappointment & to take advantage of the special offer pricing!