Christmas is a time when we like to treat ourselves to some quality time off. We then enjoy sleeping in a big bed and being pampered all around. There is no better choice for us than a lodge in a national park. We are driven by experienced guides on the game drives, they cook for us and we meet other travelers. After some research, we booked ourselves into a lodge called The Hide. This lodge is located in its own concession area, right on the edge of Hwange National Park, at the level of Kennedy Camp and offers all the conditions to enjoy to the fullest and have a lot of fun.
Surrounded by friendly, smiling people
Upon arrival, we quickly realized that we had made a good choice. We received a very warm welcome and the introductory tour was right up our alley. The Hide turned out to be a wonderful place to unwind. The staff at the camp, as well as our guide Teo, captivated us with their warm and open manner without seeming fake. We arrived at The Hide around noon and enjoyed a wonderful lunch first thing. Afterwards, we took a short rest, inspected our luxurious safari tent and enjoyed the outdoor shower.
The first game drive in The Hide
After afternoon coffee/tea, we met Teo in action on the first game drive. A person full of passion, completely to our taste. He loves what he does, that is completely out of the question. He is very experienced and a guide with all licenses. Rumor had it that there were two male lions lying at a spot in the bush. When we got there, there was a small commotion. A vehicle drove off-road to the lions, which infuriated Teo. It was forbidden, the tracks were visible for miles, and besides, it didn’t make any sense at all because it only put the guests a few feet closer to the two sleeping lions. This did not improve the sighting or any photos. We, on the other hand, decided to linger with the lions. We still had about 75 minutes before we had to leave the official park section at 6:30pm. After a brief consultation, we decided to wait and see if they would move after all. 5 minutes before we had to leave, the time had come: both stretched and then slowly came out of the thicket. What a successful start.
Elephants and lions dominate the days
The next morning, Teo had the right hunch. We set out to explore the area around Kennedy 2 when we first saw 4 lionesses trotting away at some distance. Then, as we turned around the next bend, several cubs were lying on the road with their mother. Judging by the size of their bellies, they had been successful in their hunt and had eaten their fill. After some time with this small family, we moved on and encountered a herd of elephants having a good time in a mud hole. The elephants’ zest for life is simply wonderful. It is so contagious and it gave us great pleasure to watch the pachyderms. They played exuberantly, teased and romped around like little children. Just great – it was better than any TV program and we can enjoy such sightings for hours. In the evening Teo drove with us to a special region, which was littered with palm trees. We experienced a dreamlike end of the day.
The shy Tyce showed himself at the end
In addition to the great and sight-seeing game drives, lodge life was not neglected. The crew made an extreme effort to offer us a good time. The food was fantastic, the conversations around the campfire were not too short and the overall atmosphere was familiar and very cozy. On December 25, they surprised us with an extensive Christmas buffet and a festively decorated table that seated all the guests. On the day of departure we were able to have a shortened game drive in the morning and Teo once again gave everything! Tyce, the local dominant male lion was spotted and within moments we were ready to leave and already on our way to the reported location within the concession area. Tyce is considered very shy, but Teo managed to guess the right place where he would reappear and place himself there. Then, when Tyce settled next to a termite mound in the beautiful morning backlight, Guido was hooked.
Lions, lions and again lions
We left Tyce after a while and decided to finish by driving the loop at Kennedy 1 and see if anything would show up in the grove. Our drive was crowned with success, because two lionesses, with their offspring, had made themselves comfortable in the undergrowth. What a Christmas present! We experienced four lion sightings and various herds of elephants in the water within four game drives. What a dreamlike balance! We enjoyed our time at the lodge very much and we can fully recommend the Hide. For us, absolutely everything was just right during this stay. There was not the slightest point of criticism. We are very grateful for an all-around successful Christmas! From the lodge our way led us directly to Botswana. The Central Kalahari is already waiting for us.