Mana Pools NP is located along the Lower Zambesi river in northern Zimbabwe and extends south into the Mopane woodlands for 2,196 sq kms. Mana (meaning “four” in local Shona language) refers to the four ox-bow shaped pools formed by the meanderings of the Zambesi river, that fill at the end of the rainy season. The pools are home to Hippos, Crocodiles and a large variety of water birds. The area of the park closest to the river regularly floods during the wet season. As it dries up in the months of May to November, animals come in search of water and food. On the floodplains the vegetation changes from Mopane and thick bush to open Faidherbia albida woodlands. In the dry months there is a surreal bluish light that filters through the canopy of the trees which provides fantastic and unique images.
In the dry season the floodplains attract big herds of Elephants and solitary bulls, along with Buffalos, Elands, Impalas, Greater Kudus, Waterbucks, Zebras and Warthogs. Predators also abound. It is probably the best place in Africa to see big packs of Wild Dogs and Lions are also commonly seen.
The most striking and unique feature of Mana Pools is the possibility to approach animals on foot. Animals are habituated to people walking and generally are not alarmed or scared. The thrill of sitting next to a pride of Lions or a few meters away from an Elephant feeding is nothing short of unforgettable. Photographically it is also extremely interesting; the photographer has much more freedom in choosing the position, the angle, the distance, the framing, as opposed to when you are confined to a vehicle on a track.
In addition to the floodplains, another extremely interesting area in the park is a spring called Chitake. In the dry season, it is the only fresh water available for many miles, attracting wildlife in huge numbers. Buffalos and Lions have a tradition of meeting here with dramatic outcomes. It is extraordinary to watch as hundreds of Buffalos approach the spring, raising huge clouds of dust. Also here in Chitake, all game viewing and photography is done on foot, so it is not uncommon to have very close encounters with Lions and Elephants.
For this reason, we rely on local professional and specifically trained guides, who know exactly what to do to avoid disturbing the animals or any danger for the guests.
We found extraordinary local partners with our same approach to wildlife and photography, and we look forward to welcome you on our “Mana Pools” safari at the end of October.