- Excellent wildlife viewing at the watering holes (Mana Pools)
- Four of the Big 5, no rhinoceroses
- Six-packs of wild dogs, around 100
Situated in the northern region of Zimbabwe, on the southern banks of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park will leave you breathless with its beauty. A paradise for walking and canoeing safaris, Mana Pools is a wildlife-rich, biodiverse wonderland that will delight at every turn.
Mana Pools National Park is located in Zimbabwe along the Zambezi River and the border of Zambia. The park covers an area of 2,612 square miles (6,766 sq km).
This broad plain area generates a series of lakes during the rainy season. As the waters begin to recede, the remaining pools become excellent game viewing locations as wildlife flocks to these natural watering holes. It is these remaining pools that draw the animals and create this spectacular game viewing setting.
The Mana Pools were combined with the Sapi Safari Area and Chewore Safari Area to create a single UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. It is also classified as a wetland of international importance by Ramsar. The national park area is also contiguous with Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. Unfortunately, it is not easy to travel between the two parks.
The remoteness of the Mana Pools helps travellers engage the true sense of a wilderness experience while also increasing the intrigue and adventure of discovering Africa.
The best time to travel to visit the Mana Pools National Park is between the months of July and October. Visitors will be in for a special treat as wildlife is visible in the floodplains. As the dry season dries up watering holes in other areas the animals congregate.
Lion, leopard, hyena, and wild dog are the predators that visitors can hope to experience. Elephant, zebra, buffalo, hippopotamus, and crocodile are some of the more popular game species that visitors can hope to see.
One of the unique features of a Mana Pools experience is the ability to encounter wildlife from both the land and water. This gives stunning views of the dramatic landscapes as well as different views and perspectives of the wildlife. This increases your chances of seeing more and different wildlife species.
Access to this remote park is by air charter, 4×4 or boat transfers on the Zambezi River from Chirundu. There are no shops and mobile phone network coverage is very limited.
Accommodation is restricted to a handful of safari lodges, and eco-friendly tented or mobile camps. 4 self-catering Parks chalets and a 5-unit tented camp. Camping on the banks of the Zambezi River is a feature of the Mana experience.
The large and attractive park public campsite at Nyamepi, with shower and toilet blocks. Or several remote wilderness campsites that can be booked for exclusive use, dotted along the river with basic “long-drop” facilities.
The national parks authority strictly controls entry to the park. Prior booking is essential, either through an agent or operator or through the Authority itself.
Things to Do
The reason travels to visit Zimbabwe is almost always for the wildlife and Mana Pools is one of the most coveted places to visit and experience abundant animal life.
Mana Pools is one of Africa’s best places to do walking safaris. The thin vegetation means that visibility is excellent, so you’ll have the chance to get up close to the big game. In addition, the walking guides in the park are among the best in Africa.
Canoeing safaris in Mana Pools are an incredible way to experience raw nature at its best. You can spend your days paddling along the Zambezi past pods of hippos and scores of animals drinking on the banks. At night time you’ll camp under the stars on untouched islands.