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.