Mana Pools is arguably one of the best game areas in Zimbabwe, and even Southern Africa. Low-key tented camps, excellent guiding and walking defines the experience here.
The Lower Zambezi has experienced something of a revival through Zambia’s rise to the fore over the last ten years. However, the Zimbabwean side still has much going for it, not least its inaccessibility. Because it is darned awkward to get to, and you can only do so by 4x4 or by air, it is only really a place to visit if you are feeling particularly intrepid and intent on getting off the beaten track. In fact, the best way of exploring this magnificent game area is on foot or in a canoe....so that just goes to show.
The area is characterised by the Zambezi which, after it’s energetic leap over Victoria Falls, its pace having slowed by Kariba Dam, starts to broaden and wind along the valley floor. Lagoons and channels form and the seasonal flooding enrich the floodplains which attract large numbers of herbivores to its banks. In addition to antelope and other grass-chewing beasties, the area is well known for elephant, hippo, super-size crocs, lion and more recently, wild dog.
When you speak to people who have made Mana their place of work, they go all dreamy-eyed and start speaking in clichés. But the photos and accounts of visitors to the area indicate that it is indeed a pretty special place. Many of the people who operate camps and safaris in Mana have developed knowledge of the place and wildlife over decades. Some guides even know individual animals and are therefore permitted to get extraordinarily close on foot. A visit to Mana should be a minimum of 3-4 days but can be anywhere upto two weeks.