Changing Planet

A Termite’s-Eye-View of Elephants at Victoria Falls

Ten years ago, Charles Brightman, a professional safari guide from Victoria Falls, came up with the idea of constructing a unique hide right on the edge of the famous waterhole in front of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe. 

Siduli Hide was designed to look like a termite mound, and after completion allowed onlookers to conceal themselves and wait for wildlife from the adjacent Zambezi National Park to come to the water’s edge, just several feet from the hide.

In early March, photographer Claire Wright had a number of opportunities to photograph elephants from the low vantage of the hide, as the animals came down to the waterhole to drink in the late afternoon dust. Here are some of the best photos:

Elephants moving down to Suduli Hide to drink, with the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in the background. Photo by Claire Wright
An elephant basking in the afternoon light. Photo by Claire Wright
Close up shot of an elephant’s eye from Siduli Hide. Photo by Claire Wright

“Being so close––literally at ground level––yet so safe in the company of a Professional guide, with your camera at the same height as an elephant’s feet, is breathtaking.”

Straight on. Photo by Claire Wright
An elephant bull enjoying a midday session at the waterhole. Photo by Claire Wright
Photo by Claire Wright

Follow Paul Steyn on Twitter and Instagram.

Paul Steyn is a widely-published multi-media content producer from South Africa, and regular contributor to National Geographic News and blogs. Having guided throughout Africa for some years, he went on to edit a prominent travel and wildlife magazine, and now focuses on nature storytelling in all its forms. In 2013, he joined a team of researchers and Bayei on a 250km transect of the Okavango Delta on traditional mokoros. In 2016, he accompanied the Great Elephant Census team in Tanzania and broke the groundbreaking results on National Geographic News . Contact: Follow Paul on Twitter or Instagram
  • Sanat Kumar Kar

    great view of great animal…thanks to the photographer for the pains taken to present these pictures.

  • licia

    Grazie per queste eccezionali foto gli elefanti sono i miei animali

  • Dorothy

    One of the most majestic animals on earth. We have to stop the ivory trade or else the only ones we see in the future will be at the Zoo.

  • Michael Blevins

    Being so close, I am surprised they can’t smell you.

  • Christiane Busch

    I just love elephants. Great pics!

  • Marianne Dewey

    I suspect the elephants can smell humans and maybe even catch glimpses of humans in this hidey-hole but don’t feel under threat. Love the pictures.

  • Judith Adams

    amazing experience to be so close while elephants are free to roam, very special photos

  • Subhash

    I am from Moshi Tanzania have great love for Elephants, draw them they adorn my garden fence

  • wisisani nshKazhogwe

    Wonderful GUIs kep it up expect more from us as clients

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