A look inside the first subterranean photo bunker in the Greater Kruger

Posted by Anita Froneman on 29 September 2021

Makumu Private Game Lodge is home to 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.

After a visit to a camp in Botswana where he saw a similar hide, Breuer decided to introduce the concept to the Klaserie. This subterranean bunker descends below ground level and is 6m in length, 2,4m in width and 2m in height with 800mm of the front of the bunker above ground, allowing the photographer to be at eye level with the water.

“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.”

Take a look at this fantastic photo spot and how it was built:


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‘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 and tea making facilities, a comfortable couch and bar stools for photographers. Photographic resource books and magazines are also available for guests to enjoy.

Pictures: Makumu Private Game Lodge


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