Mana Pools, with its beautiful wooded floodplains is synonymous with canoeing safaris and wilderness game-viewing.
The focal point of any safari in Mana Pools National Park is the magical Zambezi River - its islands, the surrounding flood plains and the gorgeous forests of mahogany, wild fig, ebony and baobab trees on its floodplains.
Mana Pools is famous for its large numbers of elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, and eland. They concentrate along the river when the inland waterholes dry up, especially in the dry winter months of June to October. Leopard and lion are here, but not seen as regularly.
This World Heritage Site is one of the least developed national parks in Zimbabwe. Indeed this overwhelming sense of wilderness offers much of the attraction, alongside its wildlife.
Earlier on in the dry season there is a lot of surface water. That means less predator activity around the safari camps. This is the ideal time for walking safaris. As you can get close to the wildlife in an uncontrived way.
The Mana Pools National Park has also been synonymous with canoeing safaris for many years. Choose between a morning kayak activity at a riverside camp, or taking a multi-day canoe trip with an experienced and qualified river guide.
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Nyamatusi Camp is a beautiful, well run camp. The flight from Bumi to Mana Pools was approx 30 minutes. The pilot was kind enough to take us over the Kariba Dam wall. On arrival at the airstrip, it is a 40 minute drive to the camp. During the dry season, you can also enjoy a boat cruise from Chirundu airstrip.
The camp is exquisitely decorated and is the only camp to offer both air-conditioning (much appreciated) and private plunge pools (likewise). it offers beautiful scenery with floodplains, the wide Zambezi River and the mountains on the Zambian side as a backdrop. We enjoy stunning evocative sundowners by the river.
The food was by far the best food on the trip and the hosting was very friendly and attentive.
But it was late October and it was HOT! It was 42C (110F) . Mana Pools was in the middle of one of the worst droughts in 40 years. So we didn’t see a lot of game, but this massive heat was a huge factor. They are currently having to bring in hay for the animals, but the drought is still desperate.
However assuming you visited prior to say mid September, this camp would definitely deliver on the true Mana Pool experience. Their activities include game walks (which are very hot in October), game drives, canoeing safaris, fishing on catch and release basis and boating (non-motorized).
The rooms are very far apart and there is a strict no walking policy because of the presence of elephants all around. You radio in for a ride to the main building.