Mana Pools National Park is a World Heritage site and Africa’s most sensational safari area! A bold claim we realise however the combination of some of the best game viewing alongside the most experienced professional guides, breathtaking scenery, the stunning lower Zambezi river and the most incredible walking safaris really do make this national park stand out.
The river frontage which sits just in front of large areas of open, winter acacia woodland with their cathedral-like statures is like no other safari habitat. The feeling you get when you are there for yourself is not something we can accurately describe for you: it is something incredibly special.
It is the walking safaris here that set it apart. Several of Africa’s absolute top guides are found here. Having lived in Mana Pools for decades in some instances, these guides know individual bull elephants and lion very well indeed. So much so that remarkable close experiences on foot with both species, and wild dog too, are a regular occurrence but not for a person of nervous disposition.
There are several "mobile camps" namely Chitake Springs mobile camp and Ruwesi Canoe trail that take the raw wilderness experience of Mana Pools to a whole new level that we believe is absolutely unique to Mana Pools. Being 5 metres from big bull elephants, huge herds of buffalo or even predator kills on your own two feet will have your heart racing at a thousand miles an hour.
This is all only possible because of the extraordinary skill of guides that have worked this park with these animals for years and years. Vehicle safaris, boat and canoe safaris make up the rest of the activities with 2 camps being able to offer night drives as well.
The camps themselves either sit in the riverine area of the Zambezi River or are set back in the bush along one of Mana’s four natural and large permanent “pools”. These pools help make the area so prolific for game viewing.
There is no average or poor camp here nor any low-cost options. Deciding between them is usually determined by budget or your safari personality and you can be sure of a great experience regardless of where you choose to stay.
Mana Pools is not open year-round as the soil type when wet becomes a sticky bog. Ideally, the best time to visit this park is a little after dry season begins, around the end of June/middle of July, to give the bush a chance to dry up inland and nudge the game toward the permanent pools and the river.
Equally mid-October to November, whilst sensational for game viewing, is extraordinarily hot. Hot enough to have a very serious conversation with us here at Tailormade Africa about your heat tolerances. Only a handful of camps have swimming pools and permanent plumbing for endless cooling showers.
Mana Pools is better suited to clients that have been on safari before or at the very least for those with a strong sense of adventure. It really is a wild frontier only fully felt whilst you are there. Mana Pools is so good that we recommend you plan your entire Zimbabwe safari around it. The rewards for doing so are potentially life-changing.