Mana Pools

Set beside the mighty Zambezi River, Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park offers amazing scenery, wildlife and unrivalled opportunities for walking and canoeing safaris.

A relatively small park of around 2,200 square kilometres, Mana Pools National Park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984 for its scenic beauty and exceptional wildlife. Hemmed in by the magnificent Zambezi River to the north and a dramatic escarpment which reaches 1,000m in parts to the south, the wild inhabitants of this unspoilt landscape include elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and hyena. Large pods of hippos and abundant Nile crocodile also flourish here, in the network of crystalline channels flanked by soaring hardwood trees that crisscross the terrain creating a vital lifeline for birds and animals in the dry season.

There are very few safari lodges and camps within Mana Pools National Park, which merely adds to its appeal. Most are located on the wooded banks of the Zambezi River, providing guests with beautiful views and a unique opportunity to explore the region’s waterways by canoe – the definitive experience of this beautiful reserve. Paddle past families of elephants bathing and drinking, or observe the area’s prolific birdlife as you glide silently through the shallows.

Many lodges and safari operators in this region also offer walks to supplement your canoeing adventure – another thrilling activity. Track game with a highly-experienced, armed guide relying on spoor and all of your senses. Canoeing and walks can also be done on a multi-day basis, which will require you to be physically fit and have a good sense of adventure. Accommodation on such trips can be in basic dome tents or fully-serviced campsites. Alternatively, you can base yourself at a single lodge, going out on foot or on the river for a few hours at a time.

Location

Why should I visit Mana Pools National Park?

  • A small but superb national park set between the Zambezi River and a dramatic escarpment
  • Canoe safaris are a specialty of the region and guided walks are also possible
  • Incredible birdlife and impressive numbers of big game especially elephant
  • Predators including lion and African wild dog 
  • Healthy populations of hippo and Nile crocodile
  • Exceptional wilderness experiences without any crowds

When is the best time to visit Mana Pools?

Mana Pools National Park is only accessible during the dry season (April-November), which is also the best time for gameviewing. Most camps are closed during the rainy season as the few roads into the reserve become impassable during these months.

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Luxury accommodation at Mana Pools

The following are some of the lodges that we recommend in the Mana Pools region. For information on additional accommodation not featured, please contact us.

Kanga Camp

Secluded Kanga Camp sits next to a pan that is the only source of water available all year round in a very untouched inland section of Mana Pools National Park.

Little Ruckomechi Camp

Downstream from its big sister, Little Ruckomechi Camp features just three very handsome tented suites - ideal for a small group or family safari.

Ruckomechi Camp

Set on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, Ruckomechi Camp has been a favourite with visitors to the breathtaking Mana Pools National Park for many years.

Mana Pools FAQ

Where can I see African Wild Dog?

One of Africa’s most endangered species, there are some areas where it is far more likely to see African Wild Dogs. Mana Pools National Park is one such location where guests have a good chance to see them.

Best canoeing safaris in Africa?

Canoeing is one of the most thrilling safaris in Africa – and Mana Pools National Park on the Zambezi River is one of the best places for a canoe safari in Africa. Canoe safaris are led by a professional, armed guide and provide the opportunity to have incredibly close encounters to some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife.

Best walking safaris in Africa?

Mana Pools National Park also offers some of the best walking safaris in not just Zimbabwe, but Africa. Guests can do morning walks at many camps and lodges in the area or, enjoy a multi-day guided walking safari, walking leisurely through the African wilderness to your next fully-serviced mobile camp

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