Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
Not only is this a UNESCO World Heritage site, Mana Pools National Park is where you’ll see Africa in one of its best lights. There are large mammals and predators, 350 species of bird and aquatic life too. All in all, this Park is a treasure trove of natural diversity. Four pools lie inland from the Zambezi River, giving this park that holds them its name—’Mana’ means ‘four’ in the local Shona tongue.
Check out the largest of these pools. Called ‘Long Pool’, this lovely part of the Park enjoys a six km. stretch which hippos and crocodiles call home and elephant herds use as a water source. You’ll see such diversity in the vegetation cover too. Faidherbia albida woodlands is the name you’ve got to look out for, because that’s the ‘change’ you’ll see when you head north from the Karoo sediments.
There are lodges, campsites and ablution facilities so you needn’t worry about a touch of civilization amidst such wild splendor. There are five well-equipped lodges, so check out the ones that work best for you and you’re all set. They’re all, in fact, quite stocked up on modern amenities, so you’re sure to find yourself at home.
Mana Pools Camping
As with most African Park experiences, nothing beats the camping feel. To this end, check out the camp along the River Zambezi. This is the Nyamepi Camp where it’s smart to bring your own camping equipment and be sure of all the notices involved, like water being taken from the River itself and how many people and vehicles are allowed on site. There are other camps that sit inward and are relatively more private. Again, make sure you know the details behind what each camp needs you to bring.
Two of the most remarkable are Chitake Camps 1 and 2. The latter has an amazing 3-day hike as part of their walking safari program, lion-tracking, River fishing and game drives. You can imagine the fun you can get from such experiences, so don’t feel shy to partake of them all.
Mana Pools National Park is quite a remote place, so be sure to take updated maps and any amenities you feel are personal. That includes medication, sunscreen, anti-bug creams and whatnot. Aside from river fishing, mentioned earlier, you also get to go canoeing, but be certain to respect the natural environment. Meaning, don’t litter and listen to your guide when he says this area of River Zambezi has hippopotami and canoeing is off the list, or that area of grassland has a lion pride coming in and camping has to be moved elsewhere.
This is one wild experience that’ll leave you feeling refreshed than bored or peeved. Mana Pools National Park is even now one of the best tourist attractions in all of Africa.