Travel Experiences

Mana Pools National Park
Nestled in the far north of Zimbabwe, Mana Pools National Park stands as an epitome of untamed beauty and pristine wilderness.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site beckons adventure seekers, wildlife enthusiasts, and nature lovers to embark on a journey into a realm where the rhythms of the wild set the stage for an unforgettable safari experience.

Spread across 2,196 square kilometres along the southern banks of the iconic Zambezi River, including many of its islands, Mana Pools offers an unparalleled opportunity to witness Africa's natural wonders up close and personal.

Lions walking in Mana Pools with a baby following
zimbabwe-african-bush-camps-Zambezi Expeditions

The Zambezi itself is teeming with hippopotamus, crocodiles and an incredible array of aquatic birds. While on the land, there is a vast array of wildlife. You can expect to spot plenty of ‘prey’ game, zebra, common eland, kudu, impala, buffalo, warthog and waterbuck. Plenty of predators inhabit this wilderness; you have a great chance of seeing lion pride on the hunt around the waterholes and rivers edge, where prey are seemingly easy pickings. Leopard are plentiful and are frequently spotted on their kills, and when not denning the area is known for its population of playful wild dog, and if lucky, you may even encounter cheetah.

The beautiful landscapes are dotted with acacia ebony and mahogany trees, giving the park a distinct and stunning greenish/blue light and providing vital shade to the park’s abundant elephant population in the dry season. Far away from any human settlement, you’ll relish the feeling of remoteness here. Surrounded only by extreme wilderness, you’ll find yourself exploring amongst the highest concentration of wildlife in Africa. An experience for which words can do no justice. All the camps we off in this area, including Ruckomechi, Nyamatusi, Chikwenya, Vundu Camp, and Tembo Plains sit along the banks of the Zambezi – and to give you an idea of its vastness, a fast motorboat ride from the camp’s in the far west to those in the east takes around two and half hours on the Zambezi.

A family enjoying a safari activity in Mana Pools
Sapi Explorers camp lounge area
kayak activity at mana pools with hippo watching
Ruckomechi Camp outside sitting area
Outside sitting area at Kanga Camp Mana Pools
A hand illustrating a lions paw size in Mana Pools
Chikwenya Lodge in Mana Pools
A lion cub watches an elephant in Mana Pools
Mana Pools National Park

The best time to visit Mana Pools National Park in the dry season; between April and November, the sticky black-cotton soil in the area means access is almost impossible in the rainy season. As such, it can be tricky to access. It remains one of the most remote, untamed, and rewarding national parks in Southern Africa—making it the ultimate paradise for off-the-beaten-track adventure seekers. Mana means four – after the four large pools in the park, which consists of national park areas and private concessions. The activities do vary between camps and areas; for example, motorised boats and fishing are not possible from the national park, while the camps in private areas can take you to test your skills against the ferocious tiger fish which inhabit the Zambezi (catch and release only). Be sure to watch for, or be watched by, the resident hippos, ellies and crocs that team these water causeways!

The real draw in this area is the ability to go on walking safaris with some of Africa's best-trained safari guides; Zimbabwean Pro Guides undergo what is arguably Africa's toughest, most rigorous guiding regime to receive their coveted guiding status. In Zimbabwe, there is also a specialist canoeing guide status for those trained to facilitate canoeing safaris, and only certain camps will offer canoeing on the Zambezi... Not for the faint-hearted!

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