Africa Tours and Safaris
Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools covers a total area of 2,196sq km but is part of the 10,500sq km Parks and Wildlife Estate that runs from the Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east. This large area is without physical boundaries and the wildlife is free to move throughout the area - even northwards across the Zambezi River into Zambia, where there are also large wilderness areas set aside for wildlife conservation. This unique park is a World Heritage Site, based on its wildness and beauty, together with the wide range of large mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe's most popular parks, and it is easy to see why it falls into this profile. The name "Mana'' means “four” in the local Shona language. This applies to the four large pools inland from the Zambezi River. These pools are the remnant ox-bow lakes that the Zambezi River carved out thousands of years ago as it changed its course northwards. 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 6 km in a west-east direction. This pool has a large population of hippo and crocodiles and is a favorite for the large herds of elephant that come out of the thickly vegetated areas in the south to drink.

As one moves northwards towards the Zambezi River from the forests on the Karoo sediments, the vegetation changes to open Faidherbia albida woodlands on the old river terraces. This vegetation gives a unique look to the area and a surreal light filters through the trees giving Mana Pools its distinctive cathedral-like atmosphere. On the old river terraces, tourists can walk unaccompanied by guides in the open Albida woodland because visibility is good. This privilege of walking alone in an area with dangerous wildlife is unique in Zimbabwe. Elephant, eland, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, 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 Albida fruit. Lions, leopards, spotted hyena 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 carnivores. Northwards, off the river terraces, is the mighty Zambezi River flowing sedately on its way to the Indian Ocean. This now tranquil river was a major route for the trade in ivory and slaves in the dark past.

How to get there
Mana Pools is a truly remote park. Situated in the extreme north of Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, Mana is far from any major town or human settlement. Drive along the main Harare/ Chirundu tarred road and at the bottom of the Zambezi. Escarpment, branch off the tarred road onto a dirt road that will take you 70km into unspoiled bush to Nyamepi Camp. There are a number of game-viewing roads that run along the Zambezi River and further inland from which you can view the wide variety of wildlife. Visitors can get a free entry permit to enter the Nyamautsi wilderness area and Kanga Pan where vehicle entry is limited to 2 per day.

Accommodation
1. Ruckomechi Camp overlooks the Zambezi River with a superb view of the mountains of Africa’s Great Rift Valley in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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