Mana Pools is the golden child of the Zambezi Valley, rugged and beautiful, it is home to a wonderful mix of grassy floodplains, woodlands and riverine forest. Forming the park’s northern border is the broad Zambezi River, its backdrop the mountains of the Rift Valley Escarpment across the waters in neighbouring Zambia.
The name 'Mana' means four in the local Shona language and refers to the four large pools situated in the interior of the park. This abundance of water acts as a magnet for all manner of wildlife: elephant, buffalo and waterbuck graze on the wide green floodplains; predators such as lion, leopard and wild dog are often seen; and the rivers and pools are home to large populations of hippo and crocodile. The bird watching is superb - highlights include fish eagles, water fowl and colourful clouds of carmine bee-eaters.
Visitors can go on day and night game drives and guided nature walks as well as river safaris - paddling down the slow-flowing Zambezi in a two-man canoe. Canoe activities last a couple of hours -much like a game drive - but for the more adventure-spirited traveller, we recommend the 6-day Adventurer Zimbabwe. This is a full expedition that combines canoeing, guided walks and fly camping alongside the Zambezi River in comfortable, serviced tented accommodation, with hot bucket showers and 3-course dinners served on linen table cloths at the end of the day.
There are a handful of lodges scattered around the park. Our favourite Mana Pools safari accommodation are the thatched chalets at Ruckomechi Camp, set right on the bank of the Zambezi, as well as the intimate Kanga Bush Camp, which is tucked away in a private concession within the park.