Mana Pools – Zimbabwe’s Great Wilderness
Truly wild places, especially those open to tourists, are hard to come by these days and you will find that Mana Pools offers an African adventure with no equal. This remote and beautiful reserve is set among the grand mountains, vast floodplains and river terraces of the Zambezi River in the remote far north of Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas.
Mana Pools occupies 1365 square miles of a 6 520 square mile wildlife estate that sweeps from the Kariba Dam in the west, right across to Mozambique, and is co-joined with Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. This massive and remote conservation area teems with Africa’s wildest creatures, which move freely between the parks, as they have since time immemorial.
The name ‘Mana’ means ‘four’ in the local Shona dialect and refers to the four large pools which are the primary feature of the reserve. These large ox-bow lakes are a reminder of the path once followed by the mighty Zambezi as it etched its way ever northward, thousands of years ago.
The ongoing erosion in this area is still carving out its ecological story after millennia, earning Mana Pools a place as a UNESCO Heritage Site as early as 1984, even before the renowned Victoria Falls. It is fascinating to see how changes in the shape and flow of the river are recorded in the erosion of the sand-bank environment.
The pools are also a major attraction for hippopotamuses, crocodiles and the numerous birds that thrive in and near their confines, while both prey and predator rely on the pools as vital sources of water.
The dense grasslands and woodlands of Mana Pools are home to an astonishing amount of wildlife, including the big cats, wild dog, elephant and rhinoceros, which makes it a sought-after destination for the safari-seeker.
Game viewing excursions take place in the form of guided walks, canoe trails as well as 4×4 excursions, and are best undertaken with an experienced guide.
For the most part, the wild animals of Mana Pools are unperturbed by humans, which can lead to some exceptionally close, and relatively safe, encounters with large game animals.
The elephants are the most well-known of Mana Pools’ species. They congregate here in vast numbers, attracted by the abundance of water and the characteristic Faidherbia albida woodlands. These pachyderms are particularly famous for their unique habit of rearing up on their hind legs to reach the most succulent fruits and leaves of the tallest trees.
As much as Mana Pools reflects the face of Africa as it should be, a visit here is not without its luxuries. Rukomechi Camp, which relishes a prime position on the banks of the Zambezi River, is your leading option for accommodation while exploring this natural wonderland.
At this premier bush lodge, great food, comfortable en-suite tented accommodation, attentive service and all those little extras help to smooth over the prickly aspects of ‘roughing it’ in the African wild, making every moment a memorable one in Zimbabwe’s last great wilderness areas.
To book your holiday to Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools, contact our Africa experts here.