Okay .. some feedback on Shipandani Hide.
We arrived at Mopani to book in.
Completed the same forms you would complete for a night drive, walk etc.
We had the option for bedding, water cans, lights but chose not to take it so that we could get an early morning start and just have to drop off the keys (big bunch of keys
We left and arrived there at 17h30 and the last people left.
Decided to take a drive around and found a leopard less then 3km from the hide.
We came back at 17h50 and unpacked everything.
Your vehicle is left outside but even with hippos chomping around the hide they did not go close to the vehicle.
The main entrance gate of the hide is not locked in the evening but has a very strong spring to keep it closed with a bit of play to let the odd serval or caracal in ..
The toilet is right at the entrance gate away from the sleeping quarters and "lapa" ..
The braai area is locked so no day visitors can enter there.
Upon arriving we found the hide clean and tidy.
Please note it might be good at this stage to tell you that you are not allowed to burn candles or any open flames in the hide except at the designated braai area (the braai)
We decided to make the beds before starting the braai and be warned .. to open the lock is a bit of a mission in some places, especially if you have big hands ..
If the missus or ladies is not afraid of putting their hands in places where spiders might lurk then this should not be a problem.
However, finding the right key for the lock between the 10 keys might not be that easy as they are not in sequence
After having done that you can enjoy watching out the birdhide from the luxury of your bed ..
If you are brave like I am you can leave the hide "shutters" open for the night .. else you have the option to close it ..
Note that these will do nothing to prevent mosquito's etc to come in.
After all that we decided to make the braai and get ready for a night of peace and quiet in the bush ..
It was very cold when we there end of May .. however, I do not think this is the norm .. but I would advise anyone to take some warm clothing with.
We had 3 lights .. one for the braai area and the other 2 for the hide and used the torches to go to the loo when needed.
May I also point out that although the toilet is a porcelain one, that is where the luxury of this toilet ends .. Never judge a book by it's cover
The long-drop is not for the faint hearted and would recommend it only for "emergencies".
There are no basins in the hide, shower or baths so if you don't like roughing it .. I would suggest to use the camps facilities for that .. But where is the fun in that
We "survived" the evening on about 7 litres of water for brushing teeth, making coffee the evening and the following morning, washing the little dishes we had, put out the fire before going to sleep and washing our faces the following morning.
There is a dustbin with a rubbish bag in it so please make us of it as they do come to clean it everyday.
We took mostly paper plates etc to take as little dirty dishes with us .. but we used some water to clean them in any case.
The hide is provided with mattresses and these were quite comfortable .. Bedding can obtained from the camp but you would need to provide a deposit for it .. I think R200 if I'm not mistaken.
The evening was great .. although extremely cold and as such not much animal activity except for the 4 or 5 hippos grazing along the hide.
We brought enough bedding and warm clothes along and were glad we did because it got cold .. very very cold.
There was no mozzies to be found anywhere. In fact it was dead quiet the whole evening. And it was great!
We woke up the following morning .. made a quick coffee, and may I mention that having a gas bottle with stove attachment is great to have for this evening along with your kettle, and packed the car .. we left at 6h00 the morning and saw that it was -3.5 degree Celsius the morning.
When leaving please don't forget to lock everything again .. And I would say switch off the lights, but there is no electricity, so no need for that.
We dropped off the keys and were on our merry way.
Oh BTW .. As for the rodents .. Never saw or heard any .. besides for the few holes in the mattress, it seems to be the only evidence of mice or rodents .. Thou I would not worry about it at all ...
Hope I've shed some light for you ..