At Shenton Safaris we are very proud of our unique network of hides built and designed each year by Derek Shenton himself. Along with our mobile hide, elephant hide, hippo hide and Mwamba’s waterhole hide we also have our carmine bee-eater hide.
The hide is available from Mid-August cleverly made up of a boat with a large canvas awning and is anchored right in front of a colony of breeding carmine bee-eaters. It is accessed by canoe which is rowed across the Luangwa by one of our guides. The hide is positioned so that it gives the guests a unique chance to be able to view the wonderful bird’s front and offers unrivalled photographic chances.
Carmine’s are one of seven species of bee-eaters we find in the South Luangwa and begin to arrive during mid-August coming from the southern coastline of Mozambique and its surrounding area. They come to this area for one purpose, for breeding. Once they have arrived they form monogamous breeding pairs and begin to excavate the nest tunnels which they build into the banks of the river – these tunnels are known to reach up to a meter deep with a small chamber at the back where an egg is laid.
Each colony contains thousands of individuals and can stretch for hundreds of meters along an area of river bank. The colony becomes a hive of activity. Pairs will squabble over their hole and guard it aggressively.
The noise is out of this world; it is great to see how industrious these beautifully colorful birds are. The best time to view the colony is first thing in the morning when they are busy excavating – later on in the day they usually move off in search of food. It makes a great start for our guests, what better way to start a morning game drive, something that should not be missed!