The Mana Pools Safari Company
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
At a Glance
"John Stevens maintains that the best walking in the world is in Mana, right here, right now, just as we are doing."
Delicious, freshly prepared meals from the bush kitchen
Comfortable, authentic safari tents in an unbeatable location
More knowledge and experience in this iconic safari area than any other operator
Walking, canoeing, game drives, birding and fishing are all available on tap
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Mana Pools has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zimbabwe's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game viewing, the dryer months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb birdwatching at the end of the rains. Mana Pools Safari Company opens their camp from mid April until the end of October.
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The Mana Pools Safari Company operates an authentic mobile safari camp of six tents on the Zimbabwean bank of the Zambezi River. This is an exclusive camp in a mind-blowing location, excellent guiding and hospitality combine with a truly unique story.
The Mana Pools Safari Company represents the continuation of a legacy that began almost 50 years ago. In the mid 1960s John Stevens began work for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management. The following 17 years saw him spending time as warden of the most iconic parks in Zimbabwe. However, the place he always found himself returning to, and always considered home was Mana Pools. In 1981 John and his wife set up Chikwenya Safari Camp, on the bank of the Zambezi River. The Mana Pools Safari Company has resurrected the original camp, today it is run by John's daughter Sarah and son-in-law Milo. Following in the footsteps of John himself, they both now call Mana Pools home from May to November each year. There can be no combination of people with a greater shared knowledge of this iconic location, their enthusiasm and love for the bush is infectious. The Mana Pools Safari Company has entered the new age of safari in a blend of old world, traditional safari, and modern eco-friendly safari practice.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1988 and located in the heart of the Zambezi Valley, the Mana Pools National Park is one of the most beautiful and revered game reserves in Africa. It is renowned for its large numbers of hippo and crocodile, elephant and great herds of buffalo. The area is home to healthy populations of predatory species and a diverse array of general game. With the range of natural environments, the bird life of Mana Pools is spectacular. Open over the dry season, from May through to November, The Mana Pools Safari Company enjoys prime game viewing as wildlife heads to the Zambezi River to quench their thirst.
The Mana Pools Safari Company is a mobile safari operator, their camp is set up for you on one of a selection of private camp sites, each set in a secluded location along the banks of the Zambezi River. The six comfortable en-suite safari tents are positioned in the shade of great trees lining the riverbank. Even from camp guests can view the great diversity of wildlife and dramatic scenery that the Mana Pools National Park has to offer. What an incredible base from which to experience some of the best walking and canoeing safaris in Africa.
Just six meru-style mobile safari tents make up the entirety of The Mana Pools Safari Company tented camp. Each tent is fully equipped with comfortable twin beds set on soft rugs and a wooden decking. Crisp cotton sheets, linen cushions and silk throws show the attention to detail of Milo and Sarah in ensuring a comfortable safari experience for their guests. Each tent is en-suite with an endless supply of hot water for the bucket shower and a safari loo. Outside is a shaded verandah with directors chairs and a table.
An experience with The Mana Pools Safari Company is not recommended for children under the age of eight. Older children will benefit enormously from the interactive guiding experience and wealth of activities on offer here.
There is an open sided mess tent where guests gather for meals, and to relax under the canvas shade in the heat of the day. Cool drinks are available at all times for guests to help themselves to, there is never a shortage. The 'bed-on-the-bank' is an indulgent place to while away the day whilst watching game come to the river to drink.
Meals are freshly prepared in camp by the skilled team. Cooked breakfasts, light lunches and three-course dinners keep you fuelled for the adventures of the day. All dietary requirements can be catered for, you just need to let Sarah know in advance so that she can plan her menu for the safari around you.
Lighting in camp is by way of LED, pressure and paraffin lamps. Sarah and Milo are determined to tread lightly on the environment in which they operate. With this in mind, the camp uses no generators, instead environmentally friendly solar panel and inverters are used for power and charging facilities.
The water used in camp for cooking and washing is sourced from the river and passed through filtration systems.
Mana Pools National Park is an area benefiting from a wealth of safari activities. The open flood plains of closely cropped grass and grazed trees not only allow for fantastic photo opportunities of wildlife and the vast and varied landscape, but also provide an open and safe environment to explore, offering some of the best walking safaris in Africa. Sightings are fantastic, guests will often set off at dawn from camp, picking up tracks from the night before and following on foot.
Canoeing on the Zambezi River is a great experience, The Mana Pools Safari Company organize guided canoe safaris directly from camp. Fishing on the Zambezi is also a sought after activity, the hard fighting tiger-fish are a regular catch, get lucky with a good size bream and enjoy it for pre-dinner snacks. You can fish directly from the bank of camp, or you can take a day trip to an island or sandbar along the Zambezi.
It is possible to organize for a spa specialist to join you on safari, a regular member of the camp team, the therapist specializes in massages, hot rock treatments, facials, pedicures and manicures. It is simple to include this experience in your safari, just request and Sarah can organize it for you.
Canoeing on the Zambezi
Join an experienced and qualified river-guide for a canoe safari on the Zambezi River, this is a fantastic way to experience the northern safari areas of Zimbabwe and get a feel for the power of the Zambezi.
Fishing in Zimbabwe
Visitors travel from across the globe to Northern Zimbabwe to try their hand at catching one of the most iconic of fresh water game fish: the Tiger Fish. Ten-pound plus tigers are a common catch on the waters of Kariba and the wider Zambezi.
Zimbabwe is one of the best places in Africa to experience walking in the bush. The guides are of the highest quality, the game is fantastic and the different environments, throughout the country, are well suited for exploring on foot.
Location & directions
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe
The Mana Pools Safari Company operates a mobile tented safari camp in Mana Pools National Park, Northern Zimbabwe. The camp is set up on the banks of the Zambezi River with fantastic views across to Zambia and the Zambezi Escarpment.
How to get there
The best way to access Mana Pools is by air. Charters can be arranged from Harare and Victoria Falls, both of which are serviced by regular international flights.
It is also possible to privately charter from Johannesburg into Mana Main Airstrip, via Kariba to clear customs and immigration.
A road transfer from Harare, or from Lusaka, Zambia takes approximately 5 hours.