Sue & Gordon’s Notebook

A slightly different newsletter this time, celebrating the Underground Hide at The Bush House.

Someone asked us recently "How long ago did you build the Underground Hide."   

Not to be mistaken with the answer, we looked up the detail and were surprised to learn that it was now ten years ago.   As the saying goes, " Time flies when you are having fun."

Over the years countless pictures have been taken from this Hide, by guests with mobile phones all the way up to professional photographers .

Added to this, we save pictures from our live cam overlooking the waterhole whenever we can, and some of these in turn appear on our website.

We now regularly have the pleasure of photographic groups visiting specifically to experience and use this amazing Hide.

Gerald Hinde, professional photographer, has now visited on several occasions.  Gerald has authored many books over the last thirty some years - his most recent being the Big Seven, and watch out for a new release from Gerald due out in August this year. 

So let's celebrate both some of Gerald's work and the milestone of the Underground Hide at The Bush House.  I went through photographs taken at just one of Gerald's visits, and must say that it was not easy to come up with a shortlist.

(All taken at our waterhole, from inside the Underground Hide).



The wise old bull, wrinkled and tough, a testimony to his many years of survival in the African bush.

Caught on camera, this red billed oxpecker coming in for a landing on the Buffalo bull host. 



Having one of the Big 5 right in front of you, at eye level is truly amazing.

Watching me, watching you ! 




The waterhole at The Bush House is particularly well known for Elephant sightings - hardly a day goes by without a visit.


Juvenile Elephant on alert, looking all harassed with his surroundings. Big Daddy, having had a bath in the waterhole, strolling in the direction of the viewing entrance of the Underground Hide.

Snapped as he walks, fast pace forward, right in front of the viewing entrance of the Underground Hide, framing some of his relatives in the background between his legs.

Elephant herd calmly drinking, observed by two white rhinos at the back of the waterhole.

Well protected by the legs and trunks of the herd elders, this baby would not be more than a few weeks old.

Count the wrinkles and the hairs in this photograph!


The Reserve is well known by serious birders, and has over 350 bird species represented here at different times of the year.


Taken right in front of the viewing entrance to the Underground 

Hide, red billed Queleas enjoying a bath. 


A rather untidy looking African spoonbill looking for food on the water. 

The Yellow Fronted Canary and lbj's totally relaxed and enjoying a drink right in front of the Underground Hide viewing entrance. (Not being a birding expert, I trust that I am allowed to say Lbj's)

Stunning picture of this common red-eyed dove, caught in perfect flight.


We do have visits at the Lodge waterhole from all the various predators in Madikwe - not as frequently as Elephants, for example, but are especially excited when these apex predators arrive. 

Only one of the reasons that the African Wild Dog is so successful as a hunter is the fact that they are always alert, and will maximise every opportunity, no matter how small.

The perfect pose and the perfect shot, from the Underground Hide, of these two Dogs at the back of the Lodge waterhole.


and lastly….

After a mud bath…  

What could be better after a mud bath than a really good scratch!!

These incredible photographs, and many many more, were all taken from the Underground Hide at The Bush House during a 5 day visit by Gerald in September last year.


A huge thank you to Gerald Hinde for allowing us to use his material for this newsletter - as always Gerald, very much appreciated.


Take great care,


Gordon and Sue.