I've just realised that I've been a bit remiss and not really said a lot about my overninght stay at Sable Dam last month.
First of all - there are a few pics here....http://simonb6.co.uk/gallery/KNP20050414
The hide is of conventional wooden KNP construction, and is large and curved, with a palisaded walk-way at each end - it looks a bit like a US Cavalry fort in an old John Wayne movie
The hide is at the dam-wall end of the dam and overlooks the whole dam, facing north-west towards Phalaborwa.
The look-out "windows" have hinged bug screens which can be raised or lowered very easily.
The beds (nine of them) are hinged against the back wall of the hide and fold up against the wall when not in use.
A locked cupboard at one end contains the mattresses for the beds.
All the other bedding - duvet/cover, pillows, sheets and the all-important mosquito net are handed over at the Phalaborwa gate when you "check in".
When you check in, you are also given a pair of keys on a huge keyring - these keys unlock the outside gate to the boma, the access gate to the ablutions, the cupboard containing the mattresses and the padlocks which lock the beds to the back wall of the hide when they're out of use.
Outside the hide, there is plenty of room for parking in the boma, and there are two purpose-built concrete braai pits.
At the far end of the boma is the ablutions block - basically two chemical loos (over big collection tanks) and two wash-basins which empty into the tanks.
There is no running water at all so you will need to take water for washing as well as drinking.
The collection tanks are well ventilated so there is no smell.
The place is yours from 30 minutes before gate closing time in the evening to 30 minutes after gate opening time in the morning - outside those times you must have all your gear packed away.
On my night there it was partly overcast but it never got completely dark, even after the moon set - there was a visible horizon to the north-west because of the lights of Phalaborwa.
After much thought, I went into Phalaborwa and bought a 1.5M candlepower spotlight - this easily reached virtually the whole dam area.
Unfortunately the only thing I saw all night with it was the reflection of a pair of eyes in a tree a couple of hundred metres away - probably an owl.
I avoided the tree after the first flash and, hopefully, the owl's eyesight recovered OK.
So there were no animals - you can't have everything.
Other than that it was a superb experience, all on my own in the bush, with the nearest human about 10 km away at Phalaborwa Gate.
Cheers, SimonMy photograph album
KNP 08-22 March 2011 - Letaba/Satara/Skukuza/Letaba/Shingwedzi