TAMBOTI OVERNIGHT HIDE

A door seemingly freestanding in the middle of nowhere reveals a declining passageway leading underground and into the new Tamboti Overnight hide.  Situated in close proximity to Main Lodge, this perfect spot for a hide was discovered on the confluence of two streams, with a natural clearing in a grove of Tamboti trees providing the exact space required to nestle an overnight hide within.

This hide is more spacious than Umgodi, but still only houses a maximum of 4 photographers per session.  A redesigned layout makes much more efficient use of available space, allowing more freedom of movement for photographers sitting in wait at the one-way window.  Bunk beds are equipped with headboards for storage space, whilst the significantly larger combination kitchen/dining area houses beautiful wooden furniture including a dinner table, alongside the usual amenities including a fridge/freezer, microwave oven and kettle for those steaming mugs of coffee whilst waiting for subjects to approach.  As in Umgodi, this hide is also equipped with Wi-Fi and VoIP telephone for emergency calls.  The air-conditioning is essential to control comfort levels, but more importantly humidity, within the hide.  Toilet facilities are available in the hide.

Lateral lighting is provided by industry leading high-rated Colour Rendering lights, providing true-to-life colour without colour casts usually associated with LED lighting and easily picked up by digital camera sensors, especially when photographing in combination with natural light. These floodlights illuminate the large open clearing in front of the hide, from where anything can appear from the darkness, with a passive infrared beam network keeping a permanent lookout, assisting in alerting hide occupants about approaching subjects and often detecting these long before photographers do.

The hide is East facing, meaning a session starts with the golden afternoon hours, followed by floodlight illuminated night photography with the early morning sun rising directly in front of you.

Some pointers when photographing from Tamboti hide:

  • The hide does not have an adjustable sunscreen as all our other hides are equipped with.  This allows the use of wide-angle lenses but also makes the photographers more visible to the subjects outside.  It is therefore extremely important to wear dark long-sleeved clothing in the hide, as any light or bright colours reflect easily in the one-way glass, casting unwanted light patches on images.  Black gloves and even balaclavas can assist in completely obscuring photographers and eliminating reflections.
  • Gaffer tape strips or black insulation tape should be used to cover the usually white-branded printed logos, model numbers etc. on the front of your camera bodies.  These markings do not usually influence one’s own images, but can reflect off the glass and create white spots in fellow photographers’ images, especially when photographing at angles.  This is again especially important when photographing into backlighting.
  • This is one of the hides with the nearest drinking edge at 4m, hence the importance of remaining silent in the hide cannot be over-emphasised.  Cameras that have the silent shutter release function can assist in keeping noise down.  High-speed bursts are not recommended at these close distances as it can disturb wildlife at close range.
  • Recommended lenses for Tamboti would include wide-angle lenses from 20mm and upwards as calculated on full-frame bodies.  A 24-70mm f/2.8 is extremely versatile and the most widely used lens at the hide, and for tighter images a lens like a 70-200 f/2.8 is also recommended.  The most important factors to consider for nocturnal photography are to use a camera body with a good Signal to Noise ratio, as high ISOs are required at night, and to use lenses with increased light gathering ability (preferably f/2.8 or larger).
  • Flash photography will only be allowed in Tamboti for Tour Operators who have entered into Zimanga’s agreement on the regulations for using flash at the hide.  Without this signed agreement, no flash photography will be allowed at Tamboti
  • It is of utmost importance that the hide remains dark inside, especially at night, hence inside lighting is limited in the hide.  A LED head-lamp with soft red-light capability is extremely handy to bring along.
  • Due to limited space in the hide it cannot be booked as a standalone or once-off activity.

It is very important to note that being a completely new water-source, animal activity levels are still lower at Tamboti than at Umgodi, although we are confident that in the coming months the activity levels will equalise for both hides as animals become aware of, and start utilising the hide area.  

 

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Pied crow and Kurrichane thrush.  The birdlife at Tamboti is incredible

 

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Spotted hyenas are regular visitors to Tamboti,  preferring the midnight hours to drink