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These are structures built to specifically maximize the photographic potential of the subjects that visit them. These hides can be used to view animals in the normal manner, but have been positioned to consider the angle of the sun, the background as well as the angle you are to the animals and birds. If you are a photographer you will notice all of these things immediately and it will enable you to get some absolutely stunning photographs. The results of the images taken form the hides have been published in many magazines and books as well as have won some major awards. This is an indication of just how well the hides are built for photographers. The PhotoMasahtu wildlife photographer will accompany you in the photographic hides. They will help tutor you with the various camera techniques to ensure you get your great images. Have a look at the following the below video, which gives you a beautiful overview of what you can expect at the Matebole Underground Elephant hide.



  • Mashatu is renowned by photographers worldwide for the high photographic ‘hit rate' in both the dry and wet seasons.  The green season at Mashatu is characterised by short summer annual grasses thus ensuring that the wildlife subjects are photographed, unlike many parts of Africa where the wildlife would be only partially visible through thick vegetation or high Savannah grasses, if at all.

  • Mashatu is a semi-arid area. This means animals are attracted to water in the dry season, making it an excellent location to allow animals to come to you.

  • Drying pools in the rivers attract flocks of storks and herons late in the rainy season.

  • Excellent elephant sightings at the elephant hides and out in the reserve.

  • Excellent birdlife for the bird photographs.

  • Open landscape that makes for easy photographing of wildlife throughout the year.

  • Excellent and healthy predator population and sightings.

  • Relaxed animals.

  • Riverbeds frame subjects well.

  • Wilderness area relatively close to the major cities.




PhotoMashatu will have a resident wildlife photographer based at Main camp to help guest photographers when they are at camp. They can hire out the use of the photographer to join them on game drives as well as for the photographic hides. He/she will also be available for tutor sessions in camp during the day (for only one hour). Additionally, you can hire out the PhotoMashatu vehicle, in which your own personal photographic guide will accompany you. All guest photographers booking and using the photographic hides will be booked through PhotoMashatu/Mashatu reservations as an additional activity. This will be charged as per the photographic concession rates. Guests at Mashatu may use the hides for normal game viewing purposes as well as photography, but still accompanied by the PhotoMashatu guide.



At a waterhole, a whole hide has been sunk into the ground in prime elephant habitat. Inside, you are seated so that your head is at ground level. Everything you see will be from the perspective of lying on your stomach looking upwards. The hide is a strong metal structure and totally elephant proof so you can watch and photograph in total ease as the animals go about their business.

The Matebole Hide is located in an Eco tone between mopane grasslands and the thicker central game-viewing region of Mashatu. This unique combination of these two habitat types creates a wide diversity of bird and mammal species, which reside this area. Elephants in this region migrate daily in the dryer season, heading north in the evenings to feed and south in the mornings. The Matebole Hide is situated along these main daily migratory routes, making their visits to the hide very frequent.

March 2018 the hide was modified by doubling its size and refitting the entire interior, so 8 photographers can comfortably photograph from the hide with their lenses laid out next to them. With the changes to the size of the actual hide we had to modify the waterhole to ensure that the intimacy of the original experience was maintained.

The end result is a larger, better designed hide, which still has that same intimate feeling when you are inside, photographing the classic scenes of what Mashatu has to offer as they enfold in front of you.

Target mammal species: Elephant, Leopard, Hyena, Jackal, Lion, Kudu, Impala, Baboon, Eland, Vervet Monkey, Mongoose, Duiker, Giraffe.
Target bird species: Waxbills, Meyer's parrots, African Green Pigeon, Firefinches, Guineafowl, Go away bird. 
Location: Moddergat, just below Beacon Hill.
Drive time from lodge: 25 minutes drive from the Main Lodge and Tent Camp.
Recommended lenses: Wide angle 12-70mm, 70-200 and up to 500mm.

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