Explore two of the finest protected wilderness areas in Africa on this sensational safari. The magnificent Mana Pools National Park and the neighbouring Sapi Concession form part of a World Heritage Site, with around 85% of this area only negotiable on foot. This is the ideal safari for active travellers who prefer getting really close to nature and the environment’s smaller details. Sapi is a private photographic reserve and Mana Pools is a designated Ramsar Site – an area of international importance for the conservation of wetlands and their resources, especially waterfowl habitats.
Start your adventure on the Sapi riverbank, discovering the Mana Pools wilderness area on guided nature walks and game drives. Revel in up-close encounters with some of Africa’s largest animals like elephant, lion, leopard, and buffalo – hopefully you will capture exceptional photographic moments! The area is also home to hyena, endangered wild dog, eland (the biggest of all Africa’s antelopes), zebra and various other ungulates.
Then head inland to the area’s highlight, the Sapi Star Beds. These wooden platforms are positioned over a natural spring, shaded by beautiful indigenous trees like cluster figs, jackalberries and leadwoods. The Star Beds have two levels: the lower houses your bathroom with flush toilet and open-air bucket shower, while the top is equipped with a large bed that is elegantly draped with a mosquito net. Fall asleep under the magical African starlit sky to the gentle sounds of a bush lullaby… the cooing of owls, the far-off chuckling of hyenas and perhaps even the distant contact calling of lions.
Spend your last few days exploring the diverse terrain of the Sapi Concession on game drives and nature walks. Discover the final resting place of the legendary Chief Chikwenya’s various personal equipment: a 1 200-year-old baobab tree with a huge hollow inside its bark walls. If you are feeling more adventurous, hop in a canoe and go for a gentle paddle down the Sapi River, enjoying unique sightings of wildlife from water level.
The concession is also a prime bird-watching territory, with an estimated 380 recorded species including Shelly’s sunbird, rock pratincole, African skimmer, Arnott’s chat, broad-tailed paradise-wydah and the ginger-feathered Pel’s fishing owl. Early mornings and late afternoons are fantastic times for avid birders. At night, look out for slit-faced bats, which eats frogs and fish!