Mana Pools Safaris: an Overview

Mana Pools National Park, in the north of Zimbabwe, stretches from Lake Kariba to the border of Mozambique in the east, in the heart of the Zambezi River Valley. A World Heritage Site it is a perennial favourite with visitors and it is not difficult to see why with its rich variety of ecosystems, game and activities and the Zambezi River running its border for the length of the park.

Eleanor and Louise Fitzgerald are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Spend longer in this area by combining a stay at one of the lodges with a mobile canoe safari
  • For those seeking adventure, Mana Pools offers the chance to canoe amongst hippos and walk through riverine forest with elephants (and wild dog, if you're lucky)

Our guide to holidays in Mana Pools

The name "Mana" means four in the local Shona language, and refers to the four large pools that lie inland from the river. They are ox bow lakes that remain from when the Zambezi changed its course and are host to a great variety of wildlife; populations of hippo and crocodiles and large herds of elephant that appear from the thickly vegetated areas in the south to drink. In the dry season the game is particularly concentrated as it congregates along the river and around these pools.

This beautiful and remote National Park is made up of 2,500 kilometres of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs. Many of the camps in this area are situated along the river bank, allowing excellent sightings of the game found along the river edges.

Game viewing activities are varied, from game drives in open 4x4 vehicles, to exciting guided walks and walking safaris, and then making the use of the river, with canoe safaris or boat trips to catch (and release) the renowned tiger fish. The perfect way to experience all that Mana Pools has to offer is to stay at one of the permanent camps and once you have found your safari feet take off on a 3 day mobile canoe safari drifting down the river and camping on islands in the river overnight.

Access to this area is either by light aircraft from Lusaka in Zambia and then combining a road or boat transfer to Mana Pools or by combining with Victoria Falls and flying by scheduled flight to Kariba followed by a scenic boat transfer along the river.


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Original Highlight

Walking in scenery akin to the Garden of Eden, brimming with wildlife and incredible bird life. Relax afterwards with a chilled drink on the edge of the Lower Zambezi River - it has such beautiful views over to Zambia. Heaven!

Louise Fitzgerald, Original Traveller

A note on price

Zimbabwe is currently offering incredible value for money compared to its neighbours in Zambia and Botswana, and the option for some internal road transfers instead of all internal flights can help keep costs down. Holidays in Zimbabwe start from £4,500 per person at the cheaper end of the spectrum, including flights, but for a more elaborate itinerary exploring some remote regions, £8,000 per person is the kind of price you'd expect to pay. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 21°C / 69°F
  • Rainfall — 20cm / 7.9 inches
Flight from London

10:00 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +2 hrs


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