A Ruckomechi Concession Traverse

Our Collective

Eddie Mudzimu


Immerse yourself in a game drive around the Ruckomechi Concession with camp manager Edmond Mudzimu as he paints a vivid mental picture of this wild and beautiful area…


Lying between the Nyakasanga River mouth to the west, and stretching just beyond the Ruckomechi River to the east lies Wilderness’ Ruckomechi Concession: an area covering some nine kilometres of water frontage along the Zambezi River and five kilometres inland. Looking towards the river, on the left side of our pristine concession is the Hurungwe-Charara state-owned tract, controlled by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s Marongora Area Manager. Our concession falls under the Mana Pools Nyamepi Office which controls the Sapi and Chewore areas.



Ruckomechi Concession is shaped like a semi-circle and as you exit the Nyakasanga River on the west, dense trichilia, balanitis, diospyros and philenoptera woodland provides refuge for kudu, impala and baboons heading inland towards the Nyakasanga Boundary. Over towards Pebble Hills is an area thick with mopane woodlands interspersed with combretum and acacia trees; following that ridge to the southern boundary you pass by Baobab 1, and cross the Ruckomechi River upstream into a croton, strychnos, balanitis and tamarind woodland area… this area is good for leopard sightings as these cats love the cool riverbeds, lying in wait to ambush their prey – normally impala and baboons. Arguably though, the most beautiful scenes in the riverbed are the huge acacias dotted along the banks, going down towards the Zambezi.


Continuing along the boundary of our concession is another section, here more sparsely populated with mopane woodland with hyphaene palms. Beyond the Ruckomechi River in the woodlands you start edging towards the Zambezi River, passing through another mopane woodland with combretum and acacia again, still on the boundary road. The vegetation here is in stark contrast to what the Zambezi River’s edge has to offer. This is actually ideal as it creates diverse habitats for game, depending on what the particular area has to offer in terms of food for the different species. Within the eastern area of our concession are many stunted mopane trees – but it is also rich with evidence of life before the area was proclaimed a Heritage Site. Here we find hollow baobabs, open areas, pottery and evidence of pole and dagga (adobe) houses of the early settlers.


From this point you move down from the high terrain onto the rich floodplain where the Croc Pools and Golf Course areas are found. Here the vegetation is predominantly combretum, kigelia and ficus. The elephant love to spend time here, though during the rainy season they can be found in the mopane woodlands. Waterbuck, impala and zebra are seen here a lot.


This is lion territory as the plains game is abundant, including huge herds of buffalo. Turning east after reaching the river you cross the mouth of the Ruckomechi River into a mahogany, acacia and croton infested area were you will find hidden under a canopy of towering mahogany trees Little Ruckomechi Camp. This is leopard territory as here you will find lots of impala, as well as baboons roosting. Leopards creep into camp and we hear them calling almost every night; then, following right behind the leopards, will always be the opportunistic hyaena which have perfected the art of stealing leopard kills.


In the dry season plenty of waterbuck take residence right in front of camp, so an armchair safari at Little Ruckomechi is always an option as you have a huge diversity of animals either coming into camp or foraging in the riverbed below the camp. Not too far out of camp, running along the banks of the river, is Mahogany Loop with vibrant birdlife to your right and some plains game to your left (this is a mahogany woodland with crotons, balanitis, indigofera and some vetiver grasses).


After Mahogany Loop we cross the old Ruckomechi riverbed that has created the now very famous Green Carpet, an area well-known for fabulous views and great sundowner spots. Going on to Henry’s Channel, not far from here is the great floodplain where it’s possible that the birdlife is better than anywhere else in the area, as a huge variety of aquatic birds flocks here, from geese to storks to kingfishers, and uncountable species in between. In the heat of the day elephants love to come into this floodplain to pick out the tubers that have choked this once-flowing channel while giving themselves a much-needed water break.


Between the ridge and Henry’s Channel is our renowned Leopard Loop – now your guess is as good as mine as to why it was given that name… This is an area thick with combretum and croton, plus pockets of the vetiver grass so good for camouflaging predators, but also good feeding ground for kudu or others needing a cool hiding spot.


Leopard Loop eventually joins Camp Drive, passing through a dense mahogany treeline on the right dotted with thick vetiver grasses. Here we also have Vetiver Loop, perfect camouflage for leopards and lions with its brownish grass. From the next open area you enter into Ruckomechi Camp’s domain on the right with all our guest tents strategically positioned in the mahogany and acacia treeline on the banks of the river. Why strategically, you ask? In this treeline during the dry season, pods falling from the acacias are a delicacy for the elephants and the camp becomes the elephants’ territory. Meanwhile, the mahoganies provide cool cover from the sweltering sun, and with the cool breeze off the river your afternoon nap is a comfortable treat. At night, as the temperatures drop and the winds sweep past camp, you wish you could stay a little longer.


Behind Ruckomechi Camp, on the southern side, is Parachute Pan where we have our sleep-out platform. This is a good open area with a diversity of vegetation attracting a wide range of animals from warthog to zebra, kudu, baboons, monkeys, hyaena, leopard, lion, elephant, hippo and waterbuck. A night in the treehouse is always rewarding: nights are a hive of activity from leopard and hyaena, and of course, baboons. There is never a dull moment around the platform and the beauty of it all is sleeping under a blanket of African stars, being carried away in your imagination as you fall asleep to the sounds of a Mana Pools night.


That and so much more is what our concession has to offer, and irrespective of which camp you choose, you will enjoy the same wild delights that our little haven has to offer.


Looking forward to hosting you and sharing a piece of our paradise in 2018 and in future.

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