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Photographic Hides

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Pilanesberg Photographic Hides

With six bird hides distributed throughout the Park, Pilanesberg is an incredibly popular destination for photographers and birders alike.  There is a hide for every time of day:

  • West-facing hides: Rathogo provides good photographic lighting in the mornings.
  • East-facing hides: Ruighoek and Malatse are great in the afternoons.
  • North-facing hides: Makorwane and Batlhako are better suited to low light photography on cloudy days.
  • Most popular hide: Mankwe* faces east, however both mornings and afternoons are great due to the ‘C’ shape of the hide, allowing you to shoot both east and west. Mornings at Mankwe provide great silhouettes and sun reflections. *Mankwe Hide is currently undergoing reconstruction following a devasting wildfire in 2018.

The bird hides at Pilanesberg are all well built structures with seating where you can wait for that elusive bird you have wanted to see or for animals to come to the waterholes to drink. Hides provide you with the rare opportunity to unobtrusively view the wildlife and birds at close quarters. Spending some time in a hide can be very rewarding and gives you the chance to take some great photos.

Mankwe hide is situated on the edge of the Mankwe dam, the largest body of water in Pilanesberg.  It is built to extend out into the water and is reached along a raised walkway, screened from the mammals, reptiles and birds that may be close by.  In front of the hide, the water stretches away to the distance with a few dead trees in the foreground. These trees are very popular amongst the cormorants and egrets and provide a wonderful “prop” for photographs. Mankwe is renowned amongst photographers as the best hide to spot the illusive malachite kingfisher.  Also keep an eye out for crocodiles and leguans sunning themselves on the water’s edge while you are crossing the walkway to the hide.

All the Pilanesberg hides are safely fenced and have toilets.