If you’ve ever meandered alongside the broad and mighty Zambezi River, in the shade of a cathedral-like mopane forest, in pursuit of a sure-footed leopard, you’ll know that you have found magic in Africa. Mana Pools, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its pure wilderness and beauty, has lured explorers to its biodiverse wonderland for centuries.
Encompassing some 50 km of Zambezi River frontage, Mana’s outstanding natural beauty flows from the spellbinding river to its lush riverine forest and wide-open floodplains, and gazes onto the Rift Valley escarpment north beyond its borders. Most captivating is the rich diversity of wildlife at your fingertips. General game abounds, attracted to the lush riparian nutrients and ever-present water. Greater kudu, Burchell's zebra, impala, warthog, common waterbuck, baboons, buffalo and many others can be seen. And where there is prey, there are predators – here in their numbers! Leopard, lion, wild dog and even cheetah.
Hippopotamuses and crocodiles, of course, are an omnipresent force on the banks of the river and in the waters. And given the diversity of habitats, 450-plus bird species can be found here, creating many sublime days for the bird lover.
Mana is renowned for its enchanting woodlands and riverine forests; the ethereal atmosphere makes this place one of the most photogenic in Africa. Leafy albida trees proliferate, attracting countless elephants to their nutritious pods, and vast mopane woodlands create beautiful avenues for passing wildlife, while the glorious evergreen natal mahoganies tower above and create deep, magnificent shade so needed in the Lower Zambezi’s sultry climes. Most iconic are the ancient baobab trees – a mystique and fascinating ecology of their own, not to mention steeped in culture and tradition.
And as one of the most remote and least developed parks in Africa, what more could you want?
Complete privacy to enjoy this safari sensory overload!
This is what Wilderness Safaris has for you. Two private reserves, each with over 1 km of exclusive river frontage flanking the national park that offer the finest experiences, thanks to exclusive access to the wildlife areas and our diverse, flexible and private adventures on the river and on land. Game drives, river cruises, canoeing, fishing and gorgeous guided nature walks are just some of these, while other, more select adventures, include day trips to Chikwenya Island, as well as unforgettable nights under the stars in a Star Bed.
On the western boundary of the park, our Ruckomechi Private Wilderness Area is home to just two camps. There are 10 suites at convivial Ruckomechi, and just three at Little Ruckomechi, for those looking for a really intimate experience. And that’s it, no other lodges, campsites with countless people and self-drivers coming through our concession – just you, your company and your camera, in one of the most productive wildlife zones of the park.
Both camps are known for their elephant activity, whether drawn to the pods of the aldiba shading the camps, or using their regular river crossing to come and go between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Downstream, Chikwenya is located at the confluence of the Sapi and Zambezi rivers, on another of our exclusive private concessions, and is arguably the most photogenic area of the park. In a compact concentration of scenic habitats – woodlands, floodplains, pans, islands and two iconic rivers – it is famed for its wonderful nature walks. And from the tranquillity of the exquisite seven-suite camp, an armchair safari takes in the passing wildlife parade.
As the journey is just as important as the destination, getting to our private reserves is as thrilling as being here. Come by light aircraft, or by boat right to our doorstep – all ideally located on the best circuits of Zimbabwe or Zambia. So when you next get a gap to visit Mana, be aware that the magic is only accessible to humans for seven month of the year, before the summer rains make it inaccessible again, and the mystique continues without us. But whatever it is that draws us here time and again, Mana is a must-experience.
Let’s plan your next journey
When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.