Mana Pools National Park is a world heritage site that lies at the heart of the wildlife-rich Zambezi Valley in Zimbabwe. Covering 2230km² much of the park is inaccessible as, despite its size, the road network is limited to one loop road and a few access roads. To truly appreciate Mana Pools one has to explore off the beaten track on foot in the company of a pro-guide.
Mana is famous for its population of bull elephants who have adapted to standing on their hind legs with their trunks at full stretch as they feed off the rich nutritious pods from the top branches of the Ana trees. There are no rhino or giraffe to be found in Mana. The river is home to large pods of hippo which makes for exciting canoeing. During the safari season, National Park rules prohibit the use of motorboats in the park which means fishing is only possible on the banks of the river. This is not the case on the Zambian side where motor boats are a constant presence. This has been attributed to the increase in hippo activity on the Zimbabwe side where it's much quieter.
Unlike so many reserves the sheer beauty of the woodlands, the purity of light, magnificent sunsets over the rugged escarpment means you don't have to see the typical must-see species to have a great time in Mana Pools.
To ensure the best possible experience, it is essential visitors to Mana Pools choose the right safari style to suit their needs and expectations. The choice is between staying in a semi-permanent/permanent safari camp of which there are eight, (seven of which are situated in private concessions) or booking a private tented camp which utilises one of the six designated operator sites. Not to be left out is a canoeing safari - something that is synonymous with Mana Pools.
By definition, a semi-permanent camp is one that can be broken down at the end of the season. Here is a list of what is available:
PRIVATE TENTED CAMPS
There are a handful of private tented camp operators specialising in Mana Pools. As and when they receive a booking the operator has to apply to National Parks for a campsite to be allocated to them. There are six designated operator sites (five on the river and one inland) which may be booked for a maximum of 21 days at a time. Availability is scarce and advanced booking is highly recommended.
A private tented camp offers the ultimate Mana Pools experience and is ideally suited to the safari aficionado seeking a genuine back to nature safari experience. While every effort is made to provide a high level of comfort the emphasis is on flexibility and experiencing the 'real' Mana Pools at close quarters.
Mana Pools Semi-Private camps available:
• Camp Chitake
• Camp Zambezi
• Mana Shoreline Walking
There is little doubt canoeing on the Zambezi adds a different dimension to game viewing. The proximity to large pods of grunting hippo, crocodiles and even the occasional elephant is a breath-taking experience which is not for everyone. The canoeing operators utilise designated campsites of which there are three.
• Ruwesi Canoe Trail
• Natureways Odyssey Mana Shoreline Canoeing Safari
• Natureways Explore Mana Shoreline Canoeing Safari
Know you safari preference and then choose your prefered safari style for visiting Mana Pools