Mana Pools is best known for its walking and canoe safari through the network of islands that line the river. The 2,500 km² of River frontage boasts lush vegetation and forests of Mahogany, Wild Figs, Ebony’s and Baobab trees.
One of my earliest safari experiences; Mana is truly one of Southern Africa’s magic parks, also being one of Zimbabwe’s few world heritage areas. The Zambezi carved out ancient oxbow lakes, four to be exact and this is where the park gets its name. Mana meaning 4 in the Local Shona language. Another strong feature that was also created by the river is the immense flood plain that is littered with some of the most beautiful trees that can be found anywhere in the world. Faidherbia Albida, the Winter thorn is the quintessential tree of the lower Zambezi. These massive trees fruit in the winter when all else is dry, drawing hordes of animals from the Valley escarpment towards the river, where they grow. Also drawn in are the Old gentlemen of the bush, huge Elephant bulls that move through this area with majestic grace.
The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
The mighty Zambezi flows from Lake Kariba through the Lower Zambezi Valley. Over the millennia the Zambezi has rushed through this valley creating islands, channels and sandbanks where each rainy season the flood plains turn into a broad expanse of lakes. It is the abundance of water in these lakes, and luxuriant greenery upon rich volcanic soils which accounts for the Valley’s wealth of big game, most notably large docile bull elephants.
This park is for the true nature lover. The game is very relaxed with people on foot and the close encounters with elephant, hippo, crocodile and lion and excellent guides make Mana Pools another one of Africa’s best national parks for walking safaris and one of the most exciting safari destinations.