Walking Safaris in Mana Pools National Park

Walking Safaris in Mana Pools National Park

Zimbabwe is one of the very few destinations in Africa to offer walking safaris in both private game reserves and national parks – an accommodating attitude that has made Zimbabwe one of the finest safari destinations on the continent. Walking safaris in Mana Pools National Park are incredibly popular because of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and year-round opportunities to sight wildlife around the four permanent pools that lie inland from the Zambezi River.  

 

Why Choose Walking Safaris in Mana Pools

Walking safaris at Chikwenya Camp offer incredible elephant sightings
Walking Safaris in Mana Pools will heighten your senses and teach you about eco-systems and various fauna and flora.

Mana Pools is remote, wild and just simply beautiful – a wilderness lovers dream getaway.

The eco-system comprises of a large floodplain, sweet grasslands, and woodlands; making it the perfect home for a wide range of animal species.

But what makes Zimbabwe an exceptional walking safari destination is undoubtedly the high standard of guiding. It is extremely difficult to obtain a guiding qualification in the country as the training programme is very intense, with guides needing to meet specific criteria. Having a full gun license and at least five years of bushwalking experience offer you access to the programme. It is for this reason that Zimbabwe has some of the most highly skilled and respected guides in Africa.

Mana Pools National Park is also the only place in Africa where you can walk unguided but unless you are very experienced, we recommend that travelers undertake this activity under the guidance of an armed ranger.

 

Wildlife to be seen on Walking Safaris in Mana Pools

Hippo in Mana Pools National Park
The pools of Mana are a magnet for most of the park’s wildlife, with hippos and crocodiles taking up permanent residence.

Mana Pools is not well mapped with roads which means that walking safaris allow one to explore untouched wilderness areas that make up 70% of the park.

“Long Pool” is the largest of the four pools found in Mana and is inhabited by a large number of hippo and crocodiles. The pool is also regularly visited by a variety of aquatic birds and huge herds of elephants. Mana Pools is home to as many as 12,000 elephants, making it an incredible place to view these gentle giants.

In the northern reaches along the river terraces, walking safaris bring up-close encounters with elephant, buffalo, baboons, monkeys, zebra, warthog, hippo, and various antelope species. Predators such as lions, leopards, spotted hyena and cheetah are present in the area however their elusive nature may require you to be a little more patient.

 

When to go to Mana Pools for a Walking Safari

Mana Pools is best visited during the dry season months of April through to November when the rainfall is at its lowest, allowing for incredible game viewing around the park and the permanent pools.

The months of September to November generally see fewer crowds because it can be very hot and humid but wildlife sightings remain good, with animals congregating around the pans and floodplain.

The months of January to June are considered to be low season, with many lodges closing between January and March because of the downpour of rain, making several lodges and camps inaccessible by road.

 

What to Pack for Walking Safaris in Mana Pools

It is most important that you feel comfortable when walking so we recommend wearing natural lightweight clothing, preferably nothing in white or bright colors as this attracts the attention of animals and unwanted insects.

Being a sub-tropical country, Zimbabwe experiences very hot weather and therefore it is best to wear long sleeved tops, lightweight trousers, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect you from the sun and insects. It wouldn’t hurt to pack some insect repellent spray as well.

A good pair of walking shoes is essential: light and sturdy trainers or hiking boots are ideal. Carrying and regularly applying suncream is a must on walking safaris as sunstroke is no fun.

Although most guides will carry water for their guests, it is always a good idea to have a water bottle in your backpack, along with your compact camera and binoculars.

 

Where to Stay in Mana Pools

Walking safaris in Mana Pools and Zimbabwe are part of the safari experience at many lodges and camps, some even focussing completely on walking. Here are the top lodges and camps located in Mana Pools National Park.

Kanga Camp, Mana Pools National Park
Savor incredible sightings from the guest area of the camp, where herds of elephants love to gather at the pan.

Kanga Camp is located in one of the most remote parts of Mana Pools National Park, nestling on a permanent pan that is the only source of water in the area throughout the year, bringing wildlife right to the doorstep of your Meru-styled tent. Kanga Camp is a wildlife photographer’s dream destination and offers a true wilderness experience through a number of exhilarating activities. These include game drives, walking safaris, bird watching, canoeing, and fishing on the Zambezi River.

 

Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools National Park
Right on the edge of the river, Zambezi Expeditions offers a classic tented safari experience in the heart of Mana Pools.

Zambezi Expeditions offers a luxury mobile safari experience in one of the most magnificent areas of Zimbabwe’s iconic Mana Pools National Park. A stone throw away from the river, you can look forward to the sounds of hippo grunting at night and birds bursting into song at dawn. Zambezi Expeditions is a great place to really connect with nature and experience a range of activities, including canoeing safaris, walking safaris, fishing, and game drives.

 

Walking safaris in Mana Pools, Nyamatusi Camp
Walking safaris offered at Nyamatusi Camp venture off the beaten track and bring you up-close with Africa’s beloved wildlife.

Nyamatusi Camp offers a more intimate experience on the banks of the Zambezi River in the Mana Pools National Park. Nyamatusi incorporates the elements of water to ensure guests feel at one with nature whilst enjoying a touch of luxury. Extraordinary luxury tented safari accommodation and the experience of open-vehicle game drives, walking safaris, canoeing safaris, bird watching, and fishing expeditions makes Nyamatusi Camp one of the top choices amongst travelers.

 

Nestled in a prime wildlife area of Mana Pools, Vundu Camp offers the most incredible views and walking safari experiences.

Vundu Camp – Mana Pools is one of Africa’s best parks for walking, and Vundu focuses only on the very best guiding. Mana National Park has a very open landscape, offering good visibility for walking safaris. Travelers shouldn’t be surprised by the opportunity to get close to relatively relaxed elephant bulls and packs of wild dogs. It is all part of the experience of walking safaris in Mana Pools. 

 

Main Area at Little Ruckomechi Camp, Mana Pools
Nestled in a private concession of Mana Pools, Ruckomechi boasts spectacular views and offers an exclusive safari experience.

Ruckomechi is situated on the western boundary of the Mana Pools National Park and overlooks the Zambezi River. The camp offers the most spectacular views of the Great Rift Valley and offers the unique facility of a bath with a view. Ruckomechi offers a number of activities, including game drives, walking safaris, boats, canoes, and fishing. Bird watching is at its best, with the river attracting a large number of aquatic species.

 

Elephant outside a room at Chikwenya Camp
Enjoy a tranquil setting on the banks of the Zambezi River, surrounded by a dense woodland forest that is loved by elephants.

Chikwenya Camp is situated on the eastern boundary of the Mana Pools National Park overlooking the Zambezi River. The tented camp offers gorgeous tented rooms with outdoor showers. The surrounding floodplains and forests are home to a rich diversity of wildlife, particularly elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, and eland who congregate along the river. Game viewing is enjoyed in open safari vehicles, motorized and non-motorised canoes, on foot, and in hides.

 

Walking Safaris in Mana Pools at sunset
Walking safaris in Mana Pools offer the opportunity to explore untouched wilderness and witness magical sunsets.

Walking safaris in Mana Pools offer a unique opportunity to view big game, learn about tracking animals, discover the medicinal purposes of trees and plants, and be fascinated by the smaller wondrous creatures of the bushveld. The quieter movement of walking also offers bird lovers the opportunity to view those brightly colored birds up-close.

If you are planning a visit to Victoria Falls and would love to incorporate Mana Pools into your trip then let us tailor-make an itinerary to best suit your needs, ensuring an unforgettable experience in this beautiful part of the world.