This is an area of spectacular scenery and home to a wonderful wealth of wildlife. And there is no better way to explore the place than via a canoe and/or walking safari!
The dry season is commonly considered the optimum time to come to Mana. The rainy season in this region is so rainy, the park is closed to vehicles! Walking access is also limited during this season, but canoeing is available all year round. We recommend May to September for both canoeing and walking, before the heat really sets in around October. However, if you are able to tolerate temperatures over 38 degrees, you will be richly rewarded with the very best game viewing!
Mana Pools is situated in the Lower Zambezi Valley. So walks present astonishing vistas of the Zambezi River, with the mountainous Rift Valley Escarpment forming a breathtaking backdrop! The river terraces, studded with Faidherbia albida (a type of acacia), offer safe and easygoing terrain for walkers – and the park’s wildlife is relatively relaxed, unthreatened by human presence here. Herbivores, including elephant and buffalo, graze the shores and feast on the acacias’ fallen fruit, while predators such as big cats and hyena lurk close to the forest borders. It is possible to enjoy some brilliant bird sightings too – the park plays host to approximately 380 species, including specials like the blue-cheeked bee-eater, Lillian’s lovebird and the rare Pel’s fishing owl!
All this, and more besides, is visible on a canoe safari. The park may have derived its name from the Shona word for ‘four’, referencing the quantity of large pools here, but the area contains a very interesting variety of smaller pools and ox-bows too. Largest is Long Pool, stretching 6km from west to east, but all the other features are well worth exploring! There are plenty of hippos and crocs in the water and birds flying or fishing nearby – and it is equally exciting to paddle past the land animals as they eat, drink and play in the shallows, undisturbed by your quiet progress across the pools.
Particularly keen walkers are encouraged to ramble all the way to Chitake Springs. This is the park’s foremost water source for wildlife during the dry season, so the viewing here is absolutely awesome! However, newcomers to safari might be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of big beasts hurtling from the hills to slake their thirst, so we advise caution when deciding whether to include this excursion in your itinerary.
Whether you opt for walking, canoeing or a bit of both, the beauty of Mana Pools guarantees a great experience. Just contact us if you need to know more!