Ranger Diaries & Press
Makumu Private Game Lodge extends its safari offering by introducing a subterranean photographic hide, the first of its kind in the Greater Kruger region
With Makumu aptly meaning ‘endless view’ in the Xitsonga language, owner Stefan Breuer has always had a passion for photography, inspired by the magnificent landscapes of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve which he visited in his childhood, and which has been his African home for the past 20 years.
Breuer's love for cinematography further led him on an epic nine-week photographic adventure in 2006 in his bright red helicopter from Hamburg, Germany to Cape Town, South Africa, together with renowned German professional photographer Michael Poliza. Their journey was captured in a series of 25 000 images of landscapes, people and wildlife, and a never-been-done-before photographic journal in the form of a coffee table book, Eyes Over Africa.
After a recent visit to a camp in Botswana where he saw a similar hide, Breuer decided to introduce the concept to the Klaserie, this first of its kind in the Greater Kruger region. The ‘Big Five’ Klaserie Private Nature Reserve is one of the largest privately owned nature reserves in South Africa, covering some 60 000 hectares and forming part of the Greater Kruger National Park, providing ample space and a myriad opportunity for remarkable wildlife sightings.
"What I often find missing is the opportunity to get very close to game in a relaxed environment, without them being aware of my presence", says Breuer. "The bunker is eco-friendly and made from a submerged, camouflaged container, so as not to disturb the surrounding fauna and flora. Being able to photograph wildlife at eye-level also provides a completely new perspective to a shot."
'iThumbela' as the bunker has been named, which loosely translated from the Xitsonga language means ‘place to hide', is sunken below ground and overlooks a watering hole, offering guests the opportunity to photograph wildlife coming to the water to cool down or drink, at ground level. A great addition to the Makumu safari scene, this experience will particularly appeal to expert photographers looking for a completely unique angle from which to photograph game, birdlife and animal behaviour.
Elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, hyena, leopard, a variety of bird species and many other game regularly frequent the dam. Serious photographers also have the option of booking a private photographic safari where they have exclusive access to the bunker, a private guide and safari vehicle for a day, or for the duration of their stay.
Located a mere 20-minute drive from the lodge, iThumbela has a small staircase descending into the bunker, where guests are welcomed with a selection of drinks, coffee/ tea making facilities, a comfortable couch and bar stools for photographers. Photographic resource books and magazines are also available for guests to enjoy.
“Guests who have been lucky enough to try out the new bunker are thoroughly enjoying this new concept of iThumbela” says Morné Hamlyn, General Manager and Head Ranger at Makumu Private Game Lodge. “They are enthralled by this unique photographic opportunity, and even those who are not keen photographers simply enjoy seeing game from this perspective.”
For more information please contact our reservations team: [email protected]