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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:49 am 
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This bird hide was still under construction during our December 2003 visit.
When we visited it last year November we only then realised that it was an overnight hide.

We have not stayed there yet.
By the look of things it would be advisable to take a spotlight with for game viewing from the hide.
It has a nice enclosed area with braai facilities under open skies.
Thought to myself that it would be awesome to hear a lion roar outside that fence while enjoying a braai :shock:

There are also toilet facilities, but as far as I can remember you will have to walk a few meters on the boardwalk to it so take along a torch.
I could not remember if there was any form of lighting available so maybe you should inquire from Letaba or Phalaborwa gate so you can prepare for it.

Be sure to take some pictures!

[EDIT!] There are insect screens that can close over the viewing holes as well as wooden shutters that close over the screens. As it is close to the water remeMber insect repelant AND SOME WARM CLOTHING![/EDIT!]

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 Post subject: Sable Dam Bird Hide, S51, West of Phalaborwa Gate
Unread postPosted: Tue May 17, 2005 8:43 pm 
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Location: Probably not coming back to Africa soon :-)
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 8)

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.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:07 pm 
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Below a report on a sleep over at Sable dam hide that was posted on one of the BirdNets.
Thought it might be of interest to some of you.

Quote:
It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, if slightly low on actual animals/birds seen (I think because the dam is so low currently).

Basically, the hide has a small (about 5x7 metres, maybe slightly bigger) fenced off area (wooden fence) that you get the keys to. Park car inside, where there is also a braai area. (Bring own wood, and braai utensils - they only provide a grid.)
Take all your own crockery and cutlery - and don't forget the camp kettle.
It was a life-saver to have coffee at 3.30am!

There is a "bathroom complex" with porcelain long drop toilets (one each for males and females, which are for your use only - they are locked and day visitors can't use them).
Also hand basins (no running water - take your own), but not bath/showers.

No fridge/cooling facilities/towels/stove.

You can only start setting up your beds once the last visitors have left (which generally happens about half an hour before gate closing time, according to the staff at Phalaborwa gate,
but was slightly later in our case), but you can start making your braai fire etc before then.
And you have to be out the hide half an hour after gates open in the morning (which isn't difficult because you wake up so early).

The mozzies are fierce outside at the braai area, but inside we were fine as long as we kept the insect shields up on the windows of the hide. (We opened them in the morning, and sat watching the empty dam with a few birds - was still fun!)

Things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure you have lots of torches. SANP provide you with only one (rechargeable, portable) light, and that's not quite enough to make sure you have light while you braai and once you're ready for bed.
2. Take about double the amount of water you think you might need.
There is no water at all, and we definitely used more than we thought we would (probably because it was so hot at night).
5litres barely made it for two of us (young adults) for the night - with serious rationing and no washing of dishes etc (we washed them later that day when we got back to a "normal" camp).
3. The hide itself has (removable) gauze-lined windows (no glass) and you get bedding and individual mozzie nets for the beds (from Phalaborwa gate).
But the gauze-lining makes it hard to see the animals once it starts getting dark.
4. There is a dustbin and you are provided with a single black bag to bring rubbish back to Phalaborwa gate. We used it to return the dirty braai grid (as suggested by the gate personnel).
5. The dam itself is currently *very* empty - we saw only a few animals.
There are lions around (heard but not seen) and it looks like there might still be a resident fish eagle (no nest, only a singleton, but seen all the time).
Some waders, but nothing spectacular.
Knob-billed ducks (or whatever their new name is), a selection of francolin, lapwings and Egyptian geese. Saw Bateleur and ground hornbill in the area.
Heard scops and pearl-spotted owlets at the dam.
6. There are no curtains (obviously) and you wake up with the sun.
We found having gone to bed early was a good idea, because we were woken up about 3.45am by the sun's light.
7. Take along battery-operated spotlights to scan the area once it's dark - you're allowed to use them, but no-one told us and I'm sure if we had them we would have seen much more.
8. There are rats/rodents (and therefore probably snakes also, but we didn't see them) living in the hide.
We were woken by the rats eating away at our fruit and trying to "break into" closed packets of crisps.
We only got some rest once we'd packed away all the food in containers they couldn't get to.
Other more delightful room mates are surprisingly tame geckos (which is probably why we weren't bugged too much by the
mozzies!)

Still, overall an absolutely beautiful experience,

If there are any specific questions, please ask.

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 Post subject: Sable Dam hide
Unread postPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 2:39 pm 
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Location: Eish !
Sable Dam hide
Image

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:43 pm 
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Hi,

Has anyone stayed in Sable Hide in the middle of winter? How cold does it get? I've got a night there in early July and i'm expecting it to be extremely cold.

Might have to get extra firewood and spend the whole night around the fire with lots of amarula!!!

Cheers,


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 Post subject: Sable Dam (Arks quiz #2)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:09 pm 
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
Image
I actually enjoyed the view from this far end of the dam better than the birdhide. And on another visit, I had a rather scary encounter with a breeding herd of ellies in the narrow, twisting access road to this end of the dam :shock:

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 Post subject: Sable dam hide
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2006 11:20 am 
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I was fortunate enough to have spend a night at the Sable Dam Hide this year. :D
I can certainly recommend it! Although it was said at "check in" that we should not expect to see anything (we didn't) and that it was going to be more an experience then a night full of sightings, we were lucky enough to see a leopard walking around the boma at night and stalking some impala, hear lions roar in the distance and hear some elephants walking around the hide in the middle of the night (we could even hear them breathe and I think one of them was rubbing him- or herself against the hide)
I must admit I was a bit scared (especially in the boma, with the leopard hanging around somewhere) :redface: but it was a night I will never forget. When you get the chance to stay here, do so! Just make sure you are prepared for the rodents......(and lots of them)


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 Post subject: Overnight at Sable dam
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:01 am 
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We stayed overnight at Sable on the 1st May 2007.
It was awesome, the silence was overpowering.
It was a quiet night, we could hear the impala chewing grass.
Saw a single elephant up close and a herd of elephant ac cross the dam, civet, impala, scrub hare and heard an owl calling all night.
Will definitely do it again, it was so worthwhile.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:19 pm 
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Just stayed at Sable and all can is WOW, :dance: :clap: Arrived half an hour before gate closing, decided not to braai rather watch the sun set . Watched two Ellie's come and go then settled down to see what the night brought.

We saw a variety of small buck, birds and a side striped jackal that came right up close - had a look around and then curled up and went to sleep for a few hours.

Took turns staying up, saw more Ellie's in the middle of the night as well as early the morning. Saw a small cat but was just to far away for definite ID - think it was a Genet.

No sign of rodents . The whole experience was awesome and would recommend it to any one. :clap:

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:58 pm 
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
That it could very well be yes! You have a braai area for overnighters, completely enclosed, and a toilet which is a nice distance away, but still in the enclosure.

Let me hustle up some photos...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:48 pm 
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The dam was very dry a month ago, with very little around. But this is unusual; usually there is a lot to be seen, both birds and game.

Richard


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:58 pm 
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The hide is wonderful, because it is much quieter than in the camps. You are much closer to nature. I once saw a herd of ellies and lions at the same time at the dam, but still it is all about luck.

There is one big drawback. There are no bathrooms at the hide. You have to shower at another place. We used Letaba camp. And we took an additional car battery along for our (strong) spotlight.

Go for one night, you won’t be disappointed.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:18 am 
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
As promised:

The inside of the hide. Note the beds on the left, and that the inside is quite large:
Image

The view you get from the hide.
Image

And looking around inside the enclosure:
Image
In the middle you can see the braai, on the right is the toilet. (Which is only for overnighters, so should be clean.)

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Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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 Post subject: Sable Hide
Unread postPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 10:35 am 
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Hi All
Our night was wonderful - coming from Joburg we were more scared of criminals than wild animals :shock:
One does feel desolated and alone and it takes a while for your system to realise that you are very safe there....
We collected our bedding at Phalaborwa Gate and had alot of fun bundeling them into our already very full car!
Two herds of ellies and at least 3 more loners were drinking & swimming in the dam when we arrived at the hide.
They moved off as the sun started setting, but we heard splashing all through the evening.
The wind came up and we were worried that we would have an unpleasant evening - the doors and shutters have only gauze/mesh but fortunately the wind died down after about an hour or so.
We were in bed quite early, not much came of staying up all night - we were just too tired.
At around 10.30pm the lions started roaring - they must have been on the far side of the dam.
They "talked" all thru the night and only moved off at around 4.30am.
It was lovely to be out in the veld as the sun came up.
Our peace & our small piece of KNP got "disturbed" at around 6.35am as other vehicles started arriving.
We sadly packed up and left for the gate to return our bedding and to move on to Tamboti...
A worthwhile experience I will recommend to any Kruger lover.

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 Post subject: Re: Sable Dam
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:54 pm 
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Sable hide sleep over is AWESOME! Stayed there last August. :clap:

Take a good Spotlight ( at least a million candlelight ) There will be no moon on Sunday - stars will be great. We used a spotlight linked to a power pack ( 12 volt battery) which we used to scan with all night. ( every 15min through out night)

Insect repellent

Braai facility nice but best to take finger food so you can watch the sunset. Take grid if going to braai

We saw a side striped jackal that lay in a hollow close by all night . Lifted his head every time we shone near him.Also Ellie's very close.
We also saw small cat like creature but too far to be certain.
Lots of buck, grazers, Egyptian geese and a Eagle owl on the road out the next morning.

Took along the kids ( 4,9,14) who had a truly wonderful time.

Beautiful sunset and sunrise.

Enjoy :thumbs_up:

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