Overview – Mana Pools NP

Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage Site, is pristine wilderness on the Zambezi River. The park is usually explored by canoe or on foot, uniquely offered as guided or unguided activities, and is particularly appealing to adventure seekers. Four of the Big Five are present.

Best Time to Go June to October (Dry season)
High Season July to September (Mana Pools is seldom busy)
Size 2,196km² / 848mi²
Altitude 329-1,180m / 1,079-3,871ft

Pros and Cons

  • Top wildlife viewing with four of the Big Five present
  • Some of the best guides in Africa work here
  • Guided and unguided walking and canoeing is available
  • Excellent river fishing
  • Great birding destination
  • Less accessible than other parks in Zimbabwe, 4WD is essential
  • Limited road network

Mana-Pools Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

The park is home to most big safari animals. The endangered black rhino has become locally extinct, but most visitors will encounter at least one of the big cats. Buffalo and elephant are abundant, and large herds roam around the floodplains. The river teems with crocodile and hippo. Wild dog are resident in the area as well.

Scenery

Mana Pools consists of four main pools and several smaller pools on the floodplains of the Zambezi River. The landscape includes islands and sandbanks fringed by riverine forest and baobab trees against a backdrop of the rugged Zambezi escarpment. The park is just a small part of the 10,500km² (4,054mi²) parks and wildlife estate without physical borders or fences.

Weather & Climate

The weather at Mana Pools is at its most pleasant in the Dry season (April to October). There can be a bit of dust in the air, and the temperature skyrockets just before the rains break in October. But overall the conditions are much more agreeable than those in the Wet season (November to March), when rain is a daily occurrence and humidity hangs in the air.

Best Time to Visit

The Dry season (April to October), when the sky is clear and animals cluster around the Zambezi River to stay hydrated, is the best time for wildlife watching at Mana Pools. If you do decide to visit during the rainy months, be prepared for stifling conditions and the potential frustration of getting bogged on muddy roads. You may, however, be rewarded by glimpses of newborn animals.

Want to Visit Mana Pools NP?

Mana-Pools Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Mana Pools – watery wilderness at the back of beyond
5/5

Ruckomechi Camp, on the edge of Mana Pools, has an outdoor bath on the banks of the Zambezi from where you can watch the sunset with a G&T while up to your neck in piping hot bubbles. My only problem was that a breeding herd of elephants...

Latest User Review
wonderful - it was a dream
5/5

I enjoyed this stay so much - everything was perfect - I loved this stay and one day I'll return to see the Sambesi river again, the wildlife and the kanutrip, the bushwalk - everything ....great - the Service was excellent -