Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Located in northern Zimbabwe, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park is wild and provides a true ‘out of Africa’ experience. The remote location of the park and the protection it enjoys as one of the Zimbabwe UNESCO World Heritage Sites means that it is largely untouched by human development.

One of the reasons for its inscription by UNESCO, together with the Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas, is the annual gathering of animals along the Zambezi River during the dry winter months. Leave your Mana Pools accommodation, the Camp Mana, early morning to enjoy an outstanding spectacle as huge herds of elephant, buffalo, as well as zebra and many other antelope species, congregate alongside the broad Zambezi. They are followed closely by several predators including lion, hyena, cheetah and wild dog.

On your Mana Pools safari, visitors will also have the opportunity to observe the great numbers of Nile crocodiles and hippopotamus that the Mana Pools National Park is famous for. The park is a birder’s paradise, with over 450 recorded species. Although the Mana Pools bird list is long it will be an exciting challenge for any twitcher on a Zimbabwe safari package to in Mana Pools.

Mana Pools - Wild dogs

A fascinating dimension to a game walk or drive in Mana Pools National Park is the presence of 4 of the Small 5, which include the Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Ant Lion, Rhino Beetle and Leopard Tortoise. Unfortunately, the Buffalo Weaver isn’t a resident of Mana Pools National Park but the rest of the Small 5 are incredibly rewarding to spot in the wild. The park was given its name ‘Mana’, meaning ‘four’ in Shona, the local language, due to the four main pools formed by the meanderings of the Zambezi River. The pools are fringed by riverine forests of Wild Figs, Mahogany trees and Baobabs.

The dramatic landscape formed by the broad Zambezi River and the Zambezi Valley Escarpment which rises over 1000m from the valley floor provides shelter for immense numbers of mammals. There is no more authentic safari experience than visiting Mana Pools National Park.

Mana Pools - Elephant

Why Do People Travel to Mana Pools National Park?

Visitors to Mana Pools are indeed drawn to witness and photograph the unusual behavior of the Elephants standing on their hind legs. In Mana Pools National Park, some elephants have gained a reputation for displaying a unique behavior known as “stand on hind legs.” Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe is a popular destination for a variety of reasons, primarily centered around its unique and exceptional natural features and the diverse experiences it offers. Mana Pools is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes along the Zambezi River. The park features floodplains, riverine forests, and the backdrop of the dramatic Zambezi Escarpment, creating a picturesque setting for wildlife viewing and photography. One of the park’s most iconic activities is canoe safaris along the Zambezi River. This provides a unique opportunity to observe wildlife from a different perspective and is a thrilling way to experience the park’s natural beauty. Mana Pools is one of the few national parks in Africa where visitors can go on guided walking safaris. This allows for a more intimate and immersive wildlife experience, getting you up close to animals and their natural habitat.

Mana Pools is a paradise for bird watchers. It’s home to over 350 bird species, including various raptors and waterbirds. Bird watching is a popular activity, and the park’s diverse habitats offer ample opportunities to spot different species. Mana Pools is relatively remote and less commercialized compared to other safari destinations. This remoteness adds to the sense of adventure and provides a more authentic and pristine wildlife experience. The park allows for self-driving safaris, which means visitors can explore the park at their own pace. This freedom appeals to independent travelers and adventurers.

Best Time to Visit Mana Pools National Park

The best time for a Mana Pools safari is during the dry season. Between July and October, countless species congregate around the available water sources. The days are warm and the evenings are cool. The rainy season is between November and March when it also gets extremely hot.

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