Mana Pools National Park
MANA POOLS NATIONAL PARK
Established in 1963 Mana Pools National Park is located on Zimbabwe's northern border, on the banks of the Zambezi River. The Park is rich in wildlife and its 2,190 sq kms are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mana means ‘four’, in reference to the four large permanent pools of Main, Chine, Long and Chisambik formed by the meanderings of the Zambezi River at the middle stage. These pools were formed as the river's course slowly drifted northward. Reeds, sandbanks, and huge Mahogany and Acacia trees near the river give way to Ebonies, wild figs, Baobabs, and finally to dense Mopane woodland towards the Park's southern boundary.
Mana Pools safari
Mana Pools is ranked as one of Africa's outstanding wildlife reserves and during the winter months it has the highest concentration of hippos and crocodiles on African Safari Game parks. Huge herds of elephant and buffalo as well as lion, hyena, kudu, impala, waterbuck, zebra, Painted Hunting Dog, leopard, jackal, the rare Nyala and a huge variety of wildlife are drawn to the permanent waters of the River Chitake and lower Zambezi.
Vegetation diversity and permanent water attracts a bird population that is both varied and abundant and the River is home to the country’s highest concentration of hippo and crocodiles. Sadly however, poaching has denuded what was once the densest population of the endangered Black Rhinoceros in the world
Bird life is wonderful with inquisitive yellow-billed kites swooping down to have a look at you and other raptors and vultures circling high in the thermals. Carmine bee-eaters flit about in a purple blur as they emerge from the sandbank pitted with their nesting holes.
Mana Pools is also a popular Park for walking safaris and the eastern portion has been designated a wilderness area in which only walking and canoeing are allowed. There are no roads or other signs of man.
For the adventurous traveller, a Mana Pools canoe safari is a great way to get close to nature. Paddling down stream towards Mozambique, passing great herds of game without feeling like an intruder, your guide explains how to dodge territorial hippos and how to deal with the elephants that visit your camp by night. Each canoe ride is accompanied by trained, experienced and competent guides ensuring your safety
Mana pools accommodation is available in luxury bush camps, lodges with spectacular views of the Zambezi river. Chikwenya and Ruckomechi Safari camps offer bush walks, game drives and canoe rides where you’ll find several schools of Hippos.
The best time to visit the park for wildlife viewing is at the end of the dry season from June to October when large numbers of elephant, buffalo, waterbuck and impala come to the river to drink and graze along its banks. Game viewing is also very good in June and July. During the rainy season November to March much of the game moves off away from the river towards the escarpment.