Mana Pools is the ideal place to get close to nature. It is a truly remote park, far from any major town or human settlement.
The national park is home to magnificent and enormous elephants that return year after year to the same places and are well known to the locals in the area.
During the winter months, Mana Pools has the highest concentration of game in the entire continent of Africa. Both walking and canoe safaris are available.
After Lake Kariba comes the lower Zambezi valley and here you will find the Mana Pools National Park. The river spreads out over a floodplain and forms pools, oxbow lakes and other formations.
There are four main pools, with Long Pool being the largest, and lots of smaller ones. The flora and fauna of this area are outstanding and it’s a very popular area for either walking safaris or canoe safaris, both excellent ways to get close to the wild animals in a safe way.
Bird watchers can try and spot one of the 380 different species of bird including the Livingstone’s flycatcher and the banded snake eagle. In the Mana Pools area, you can stay in a traditional safari camp in tents with no electricity or running water, a truly eco-friendly holiday.
This unique park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, based on its wildness and beauty as well as the wide range of large mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife.
It is a large area is without physical boundaries and the wildlife is free to move throughout the region – even northwards across the Zambezi River into Zambia, where there are also large wilderness areas set aside for wildlife conservation.
Four main pools and several smaller pools are scattered along the river course and the cliffs hanging over the river and floodplains provide shelter to a large and varied wildlife population.
The landscape includes islands and sandbanks fringed by dense forests of baobabs and indigenous trees, as well as the rugged Zambezi escarpment.
Hippopotamus, crocodiles and a wide variety of aquatic birds are associated with the pools. ”Long Pool”, is the largest of the four pools, extending some six kilometres in a west-east direction.
This pool has a large population of hippo and crocodiles and is a favourite for the large herds of elephant that come out of the thickly vegetated areas in the south to drink.
The park is in a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. Mana means ‘four’ in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi.
As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing areas.
It has the country’s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles and large dry season mammal populations of elephant and buffalo.
On the old river terraces, tourists can walk unaccompanied by guides in the open woodland because visibility is good and there is little danger of unexpectedly coming across dangerous animals.
Elephant, eland, buffalo, impala, water-buck, baboons, monkeys, zebra, warthog and hippo are some of the larger herbivores to be seen regularly on the river terraces as they come out to eat the fallen fruit of the tree Faidherbia albida.
Lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and cheetah are present in the area, but their secretive nature makes them more difficult to see. Despite this, it is not often that the visitor leaves Mana Pools without seeing at least one of these large predators.
Available around the Park at developed, minimum development and exclusive sites
Canoeing on the Zambezi is a favourite activity in Mana Pools and affords an unparalleled opportunity to experience the river.
Visitors can hire qualified armed Parks staff to take them for game viewing on foot.
These safaris are offered at full moon. Parks staff will take visitors on a 3 day hike in the wild of Mana Pools National Park. Visitors will need to be fit, provide their own rucksacks, food and toiletries. This is a unique experience for the nature lover and those who enjoy the challenge of facing nature one on one.
This is a limited activity whilst the lion research project at Mana Pools is in progress. Visitors can join Parks staff as they track radio-collared lions on foot.
Visitors are guaranteed a close view of the lions in most instances. This activity is unique and also assists in data collection for research projects.
Visitors can fish in the Zambezi River and experience the excitement of hooking large fish for the pot. Half of the joy is experiencing the quiet, solitude and beauty of the unspoiled bush around you.
Usually most rewarding in the early morning and late afternoon. Long Pool is often worth visiting soon after sunrise.