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.

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.

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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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.

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