Mana Pools National Park

Situated on the southern banks of the River Zambezi east of Lake Kariba, Mana Pools National Park covers 2,600 square miles of prime riverfront wilderness – the main reason this area of phenomenal beauty was granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1984.

Coming from the local Shona language for four, Mana Pools National Park comprises a quartet of permanent pools which first formed with a shift in the Zambezi’s flow. They are joined by several smaller seasonal pools which together provide an attractive habitat for many of Africa’s most-loved species.

In some respects, it means visiting Mana Pools is best at the end of the rainy season in March and April, when these pools reach their maximum extent and truly deserve their designation as a Ramsar wetland.

However, the wildlife is equally alluring at other times of year too. The June to August dry season sees many animals congregate in Mana’s permanent pools, including large numbers of elephant, Cape buffalo, and eland. The national park has Zimbabwe’s highest concentration of hippo, while predators including cheetah and leopard are regularly sighted among the mix of sandbanks, floodplains, and riverine forest of baobab, mahogany, and wild fig.

What makes Mana Pools really special are its walking safaris. With the ground limiting vehicular access, a good pair of hiking boots remains the top way to explore. The relaxed wildlife remains unbothered by the occasional group of guide-led humans passing through at the distance of a telephoto lens, but such walks create experiences which are hard to match.

Top Zimbabwe Travel Destinations

Great Zimbabwe / Harere / Hwange National Park / Lake Kariba / Matobo National Park / Victoria Falls

The Big Five

African Elephant / Cape Buffalo / Leopard / Lion / Rhino

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