Mana Pools – for a killer safari

Posted by Michelle Hardie on 10 July 2019

This place really is manna from heaven for wildlife enthusiasts. It’s also a place where, if you’re complacent, you’ll get eaten. There are no fences and you might find an elephant wandering around camp at night, or a lion. I also got an insect in my ear here. Luckily, a thimbleful of warm oil poured into the canal, while I lay under a huge mahogany tree, meant I had a buzz-free holiday.

Situated on the Zambezi River in the north, this national park lies downstream from Kariba, with the nearest town being Chirundu. Locals have a love affair with the park’s wildness and splendour, and some consider it to be the ‘jewel of Zimbabwe’.

Lighting an evening fire next to the Zambezi River and listening to the sounds of Africa is one of life’s greatest pleasure.

About 20,000 square kilometres of its land is protected so it’s teeming with animals. During the rainy season, big game move inland away from the river and return in April when it’s dry. The riverine forest has plenty of apple-ring acacias, which are the hallmark of this exquisite landscape, sustaining more than 10,000 elephants.

You can take unguided walks, if you’re bush savvy and have a permit, but rather hire a ranger – it’s much safer, even though the animals are familiar with seeing people on foot. We canoed, fished (the river is alive with tiger, bream, tilapia and more), and the birdlife is outstanding – twitchers can see more than 380 species.

Plan your trip

There are lodges, campsites and houses at Mana. Mwinilunga Safaris offer accommodation from $550 (about R7,600) per person per night, fully inclusive. For more visit

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