Mana Pools Featured, Parks and Reserves
Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is one of the few wilderness areas where it's possible to explore on foot (either guided or on your own) or by canoe. Roads are few and far between so game driving is by 4x4. It's a pristine, unspoilt paradise, with abundant game, spectacular scenery and an incredible variety of birds.
* Mana Pools Highlights
- ∞UNESCO World Heritage Site
- ∞Explore canoe trails along the Zambezi
- ∞Guided walking safaris
- ∞Authentic, rustic African safari camps
- ∞Excellent birding and game viewing
- ∞Remote and uncrowded safari destination
- ∞Huge herds of elephant and buffalo
- ∞Rivers teem with hippo and crocodile
- ∞Superb fishing
Mana Pools National Park is situated in the far north of Zimbabwe, in the Zambezi river valley. It is a remote and beautiful game reserve that is home to some of the most legendary safari guides in Africa, and known for fantastic canoe trails and walking safari adventures. Situated right opposite the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, this part of the Zambezi river valley is home to an impressive variety of species and birds. There are a number of rustic bush camps, some permanent and some seasonal. A number of camps have become a bit run-down during Zimbabwe's economic and tourism slump, but in general the area seems to be recovering well, and it is certainly worth a visit.
Mana Pools is generally warm and hot. The winter season is from mid-May to mid-August, where evenings and early mornings can be chilly at around 12°C (54°F). Days are clear and warm at 28°C (82°F). August to October are the hottest, driest months, with temperatures soaring to 40 - 50°C (104 - 122°F). November usually sees the first rains, which bring high humidity levels in their wake. December to February is peak rainy season, which usually consists of afternoon thundershowers - or a steady drizzle that can last for days. Average temperatures range from 21 -31°C (70 -88°F). March and April see rains slowing down, with evenings and early mornings becoming cooler. Average temperatures 19 -31°C (66 - 88°F). It also depends where you are in Mana Pools as the altitude varies greatly - from 335 -1181 m above sea level (between 1098 -3875 ft) which can also change temperatures considerably, getting cooler the higher up you are.
Best Time to Go
Although the height of the dry season at Mana Pools (July to October) can be unbearably hot for many, it is the best game viewing time. The area literally teems with wildlife as animals congregates around these perennial water sources. That said, Mana Pools is a rewarding destination right throughout the year. It's scenic, remote and offers an incredible outdoor and adventure safari experience.
Mana Pools is renowned for its huge herds of buffalo and elephant. You may also be lucky to see wild dog as there are several resident packs in the area . The waterways are alive with hippo and crocodiles. The birdlife is also excellent. The elephants of Mana are renowned for standing on their hind legs to reach up high into the Acacia Albida trees for the protein-rich, apple-peel like pods.
While self-drive is possible (it's a good 5 or 6-hour drive from Harare), it's recommended to use a 4x4 vehicle with an experienced driver. Conditions can be grueling, especially in the wetter months. Fly-ins are usually preferable, from Victoria Falls, Harare and Kariba.
Besides the national park camps, there are some excellent tented safari options - ranging from budget to upmarket. The private lodges have superb guides who will help you explore this compelling, untamed safari destination. We have personally visited many of these camps and areas and can give you unbiased advice on which option/s would suit you best.
Related Trip IdeasBotswana and Victoria Falls Safari - 11 Days
It is easy to combine Botswana with Victoria Falls. This trip idea combines 4 of Botswana’s top safari destinations with 2 nights at Victoria Falls. The duration of the trip is flexible, and you can easily stay an extra night at any of the destinations on this trip. There are lots of lodges in Botswana to choose from, but we always recommend using lodges in the same group or chain, so you can benefit from long stay specials. This trip idea is based on Desert and Delta lodges, which are reasonably priced and based mostly inside the national parks.
More about Botswana and Victoria Falls Safari - 11 Days