Umgodi is an entirely unique hide concept pioneered on Zimanga in which up to 4 photographers can be accommodated and sleep over in the air-conditioned hide, built into a waterhole with the large window opening up a few centimeters above water level. Animals that visit the waterhole drink only a few meters from your bed. The drinking edge is 4m from the photographers’ chairs and to date a large variety of mammal and bird species have visited the water-source.
The unit consists of a custom-built metal hide with chairs and camping-style bunk beds, built adjacent to a small and well-equipped kitchenette to store and warm up food or make a steaming cup of coffee to keep you awake during the long hours of night.
Toilet facilities are available in the hide. The modus operandi of an overnight hide session is to enter the hide in the afternoon and photograph through the backlit afternoon session, and after sunset make use of the paired floodlights installed either side, beautifully illuminating subjects that approach the water’s edge. The industry-leading colour spectrum emitted by the light fixtures ensures true-to-life colour and illumination of your subjects. The following morning the sun rises behind the hide bathing the drinking edge in golden light, adding a third dimension of lighting to an Umgodi hide session and offering guests a variety of images to take home, all incorporating Zimanga’s trademark low angles, carefully selected backgrounds and quality natural lighting. Electric heaters are provided to keep the glass and photographers warm during cold nights and whilst it eliminates fogging at also creates a cosy area from which to wait for your subjects to arrive
Wi-Fi is available in the hide to assist in keeping guests occupied during periods of low activity. The hide is also equipped with a VoIP telephone for communication with guides, as there is no cell-phone reception inside Umgodi. A ventilation system is installed in the hide to constantly draw in fresh air and to release air from inside the hide quite a distance away, limiting the chances of subjects detecting occupants inside the hide.
A network of 22 passive infrared beams keeps a lookout over the drinking edge warning you of an animal’s approach with a soft beep, hence you do not have to permanently sit at the window whilst waiting for subjects to arrive. A sizeable collection of books are available in the hide, many of them authored by award-winning international photographers
Some pointers when photographing from Umgodi hide.