Mana Pools is the definition of wild Africa – untamed, remote and abundant with wildlife. Time spent here, beneath the apple-ring albida trees, offers unparalleled game viewing and photographic opportunities, with Mana’s light and beauty unmatched anywhere on the African continent.
A small park with a big soul, an exploration of Mana Pools emanates an intimacy rarely found in the larger national parks within Southern Africa. It’s remote and therefore more exclusive – wildlife encounters will be shared with your group alone – and mother nature. Depending on how much time you have, discovery can be slow and intentional, seeking out the secrets of the park, immersing oneself into the delicate nature of the ecosystem. This is the recommended pace for exploring a small park holding big treasures.
Travellers are drawn to Mana Pools for its wildlife. It is famous for its elephants standing on their hind legs, stretching up to reach the delicacies of the Albida trees, especially in the dry season. The sight is mind boggling, such an enormous creature balancing with utmost grace and unbreakable focus. One watches, breath held, eyes unblinking at this natural phenomenon, an adaptation necessary for survival in the drier months of the year. Exceptional.
Cat sightings in Mana Pools are of a raw, wild variety. Prides of lions are known to nonchalantly walk through your lodge at night, taking a moment to pause and lock eyes through the campfire light. Make way, this is their kingdom, and they are royalty. Lions also tend to enjoy the cool shade beneath lodge chalets in the heat of summer – hence the essential service of a professional guide – maintaining the thrill of being in the wild while keeping you safe.
The birdlife of Mana Pools holds some spectacular sightings for the feather aficionados. A favourite and absolute bucket list – Carmine Bee Eaters. Summer time visitors, these birds make their nests in the banks of the river – safe from predators. Their iridescent blues and pinks splash the brown banks with colour – swooping in and out of their nesting holes to feed their young. An incredible event to witness – one can sit mesmerised for hours. A wonderful way to pass the time.
Abundant wildlife is most certainly a draw card of Mana Pools, however, not it’s only charm. There is a Cathedral of Winterthorn Trees, ‘Africa Albida’ which gifts the animals food in winter, its branches lush with vegetation. They are not only vital for survival in the colder months when all the other trees have shed their leaves, they also provide food for the soul.
The Albida forest is an enchanting forest – light falling through the scattered giants, dappling the ground in a magical light. Elephants meander between, glowing in golden dust as their footsteps disturb the earth. The pod of the albida is a particular favourite of the pachyderm, spending their time seeking its sweet delicacy. Watching them wander beneath the albidas emanates a mystical ambience – nature at her finest.
Contrast and light within the forest deem it a photographer’s paradise. It’s ecology fascinates tree lovers and its creatures captivate nature enthusiasts. It is peaceful and powerful, and for those who have been lucky enough to stand beneath its canopy – it is affectionately known as the ‘heartbeat of Mana Pools’.
Do yourself a favour and spend time there, beneath the apple-ring albida trees, enveloped by Mana’s golden light; beauty unmatched anywhere on the African continent.