Even though I’m still currently hosting a private safari in Hwange National Park, I’ve decided to find the time to share a brief Best of Mana Pools trip report.
Now when I speak of “finding the time”, let’s share a bit of recent history here…
I’ve been on the road, hosting safaris for just over 4 weeks now (with no off days) and still have just under 4 more weeks to go. I know many people who say guides just have a holiday job. Right, let me ask you a question; have you ever entertained friends or family for a lunch or evening dinner party? Exhausting right? Now try think of just how draining this must be for us, hosting, entertaining, teaching and at times keeping the peace between a group of people that; for the most part, have never met each other.
So, days out hosting a safari get very long at times. In spite of this I always ensure the very best for my guests. It’s about going that extra mile and so every bit of free time I have, especially when I’m only halfway through an 8 week stint, I like to take time for myself even if it’s a mere 10 minute power nap.
I have loved every day I’ve shared with my guests over the past four weeks and to be honest, the very early mornings are now becoming more and more of a challenge but the trill and excitement of each new day and sharing my love, passion and knowledge with my guests is what gets me fired up.
Words will never accurately describe it but the best of mana pools safari was nothing short of thrilling! So much so that that it has made me give up the bits and pieces of my free time to write and share this blog, because this incredible safari and action packed itinerary simply deserves to be shared.
In saying this, I back what I’ve just said, I am going that extra mile for you, who can not on safari with me right now in order to share the experience with you.
Okay, let’s get to why we are really here;
The Best Of Mana Pools Trip Report
A Brief Itinerary Overview
We all meet in Harare and fly to Mana’s Kavinga Safari Camp. This was our introduction to Mana Pools and home for 3 nights.
This camp is located in a private concession within the southern boundary of Mana Pools National Park, approximately one kilometer upstream of the confluence of the Ruckomechi and Chiwuye Rivers and about nine kilometers from camp is the renowned Chitake Spring, which has a legendary reputation for superb game viewing and predator sightings.
Kabinga camp overlooks the dry Ruckomechi riverbed and pan below the camp, this all set against the extraordinary backdrop of the Zambezi Escarpment.
The camp consists of 7 comfortable raised tents built on the edge of the cliff, facing east, with a view of the rising sun above the magnificent Zambezi Valley floor. Each tent has been designed with an emphasis on privacy with a verandah which falls in line with the edge of the cliff giving a feeling of infinite space.
If it's adventure you seek, be it walking, tracking, exploring the hills and river systems, studying the birds or just relaxing in camp taking in the view or even spending your days in the eye level hide, Kavinga Safari Camp will offer you that "Unique Experience in an Untamed Wilderness".
Stand Out Personal Highlights
- Small and intimate camp.
- Eye level hide accessible at any time. This gave us the opportunity to really diversify our photographic portfolio.
- The water in front of camp and the natural spring further east of that (also visible from camp) is the only pertinent water in the area for many miles. Due to this animals are on your door step all the time, so much so that I could see lion feeding on a buffalo from my rooms deck after hunting and pulling it down during our first night in camp. Kid you not, this sighting was literally 60 meters in-front of my room. All the magical moments we got to witness there during our stay was literally within a 2km radius of camp.
From here we transferred by road from to what was supposed to be Zambezi Expeditions but due to covid postponements we were upgraded to African Bush Camps Nyamatusi Camp. We were meant to spend 4 nights along the Zambezi but again, this postponements resulted in us only spending 3 nights in this special place.
Nyamatusi camp finds itself in a private confession providing the guests with a bit more flexibility. The area as a whole and the section of park exudes a feeling of beauty, an untouched wilderness. Mana Pools offers impressive diversity of landscapes and this area sure is its gem in my opinion.
This well thought out camp is situated on the banks of the renowned Zambezi River and is a representation of the surrounding environment. The camp is reminiscent of days gone by and is inspired by nature. Nyamatusi comprises of 6 spacious and well-appointed tents, each with its own private deck and plunge pool, offering remote views overlooking the Zambezi.
Now with this prime location and the Zambezi River itself famous for its large concentrations of hippos and crocodile, listening to the pods of hippo singing every night is very much a thing.
This is a perfect place to watch the drama of nature play out before your eyes. May this be on game drives, phenomenal walks along the flood plains or a thrilling canoeing safari.
Stand Out Personal Highlights
- Small and intimate and absolutely breathtaking camp right in the banks of the Zambezi.
- This time of foot walking the mystical flood plains of Mana Pools.
- The intimate on foot encounters with elephant and other wild animals.
- Photographing the iconic balancing elephant of Mana Pools.
- The colors the flood plains/forests in this area is just photographic heaven.
Our final home away from home was Kanga Camp. A four night stay here instead of the original three nights was something the guests thoroughly enjoyed due to the extremely laid back approach after what was an action packed week building up to our arrival at Kanga.
This camp is set in the most remote part of the World Heritage Site; Mana Pools National Park, is the Kanga Pan. The 12-bedded tented camp overlooking the water hole. The main area has a comfortable lounge and dining area offering you uninterrupted views of a very active water hole. Relax on the upper deck lounge in the shade of a mahogany tree or sit on the deck below near the splash pool and just enjoy Kanga − the old Africa in a new era.
The diverse area has multiple vlei lines, river systems of the Ruckomechi River, and mixed woodland types from Mopane woodland to Jesse bush and riverine forests. Kanga Pan itself is the only known water source in the area available throughout the year, making it a hub for wildlife and a delight to explore on foot. Pristine and undeveloped, this area gives you a pure, unspoilt, private African safari experience.
Stand Out Personal Highlights
- Small and intimate camp.
- The wildlife in and around Kanga pan; of which the main area as well as all the tents have a view, was so prolific. It was as herds of animals left the waters edge, more just seemed to arrive.
- Enjoying the arm chair safari on the comfortable deck all day every day was just bliss after many hours in a bumpy safari vehicle.
- The up close encounters with elephant in and around camp lead to some really interesting photographic opportunities.
- The interesting camp fire stories shared by the local guides in camp.
And just like that, an action packed, 11 day adventure drew to a close.
I’m sure the guests that had joined me on this journey through Mana Pools will agree with me when I say, this safari is designed perfectly to provide you with what I believe is the absolute best of Mana pools. The diversity of wildlife, landscapes, lodging and available activities is what sets a solid foundation for one truly impressive and incredibly diverse photographic portfolio at the end of the day.
The highlights gallery from each destination below will show off more of what I mean by this;
Kavinga Safari Camp
This experience is set apart from any other and will showcase all of Mana Pools to you across 11 days. Nestled within the Zambezi Valley lies a creation of nature still pure, splendid, untouched and wild. With the mighty Zambezi flowing to the north, the wooded floodplain to the south plays host to one of the most astonishing wildlife experiences in Africa. This is a unique safari experience to Mana Pools in that it offers the opportunity to explore both the wildlife-rich floodplain as well as "the last waterhole" further inland known as Kanga Pan, as well as a 3 night stay at the wildest place in Africa - Chitake Springs.
You gain insight into the entirety of Mana on this safari and you’ll love every second of it. You still get to see the elephants, wild dogs and lion prides on the floodplain. In addition though your stays at Kavinga & Kanga Camps will showcase the woodlands & southern reaches of Mana Pools to you in a beautiful way. Both Kanga & Kavinga offers the only water source within their respective regions during the dry season and animals flock there daily. This is a comprehensive safari experience to Mana Pools that will touch your senses in every way.
I do hope that this blog has inspired you to visit and even better, to come join me in this very special place next year or years to come. I would honestly love nothing more than for you to join me on this exciting safari one day be able to share your very own best of Mana Pools trip report with your loved ones.
Best of Mana Pools Trip Report by
Ready to pack your bags for an adventure to Zimbabwe's Mana Pools?
This is truly an experience like no other. Moments where you will not be amazed during every minute of every day are rare and we look forward to welcoming you on what will be one incredible adventure on day soon!