Mana Pools National Park
Located downstream from Kariba on the Zambezi River is this World Heritage Reserve which is famous for its wildlife, incredible beauty, inland pools and unique flood plain. Mana Pools is a short 20 minute light aircraft flight from our Lake Kariba lodges and harbour or a 2 hour drive through the Zambezi Escarpment to Chirundu. From Chirundu one would board a transfer boat for a thrilling 1.5 hour river trip into Main Mana and the stunning camps whom we operate with.
Mana Pools National Park is in the far north of Zimbabwe. It includes the south bank and islands of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zambia. The Mana Pools National Park, along with the Sapi Safari Area and the Chewore Safari Area, has been declared as a single UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Early hunters and explorers in Mana Pools had to leave their horses on the escarpment as the tsetse fly would transmit sleeping sickness to the horses, that would then lead the horses to die. Without the use of the horses, all early exploration in Mana Pools was done by foot.
Mana Pools National Park is a core nucleus for the Lower Zambezi Biosphere. This was a recent development in 2010 which gave it an enhanced status in conservation. The protected area extends from Lake Kariba, right through to Matusadona National Park and several other game reserves. This is the first Biosphere Reserve in Zimbabwe and the third for southern Africa, with the other two sites being Malawi and South Africa.
Mana is known all over the world for its elephants; with such a high population of the colossal pachyderms within the park’s bounds – visitors are guaranteed some of the world’s best elephant encounters.
Best time to travel
The best time for wildlife viewing and photography in Mana Pools National Park is during the Dry season, from June to October. With August and September being prime, June and July can get chilly at night whilst October tends to get very hot. The rainy season starts in November through to March and the game disperses inland and the National Park normally closes during this period.