Is Mana Pools in Zimbabwe, the new South Luangwa?

October 8th 2018  |  Travel, Unique Experiences, Wildlife Safaris, Zambia, Zimbabwe  |  by  Lucinda Rome
buffalo herd, Ruchomechi Camp, mana pools, Zimbabwe

Safari aficionados have known of Zambia’s South Luangwa Valley for many years. Not only does it have great wildlife, but the guiding is good and the camps exceptional. It’s one of the few places in Africa where people are happy to linger; too often safaris are short stops in a number of national parks or reserves, but the quality of the South Luangwa means longer visits and many people stay for a week, spending time in two or three safari camps during this time.

Lioness, Mchenja Camp, South Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Lioness, Time + Tide Mchenja Camp, South Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Across the border in Zimbabwe, Mana Pools is one of the world’s wildest and best preserved natural ecological areas.  With 70% of the park only traversable on foot, it truly is an explorers’ paradise.  It has always had exceptional wildlife and Zimbabwe’s safari guides are often cited as the best in Africa. Two safari companies now have three camps each in the Mana Pools area, leading to the question whether people could be tempted to stay for a week in this one area, as they do in the South Luangwa.

Elephant acrobatics, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Elephant acrobatics, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Great Plains Mana Expeditions – 6 days over 3 camps

We love a mobile safari – it’s one of the very best ways to get under the skin of the African wilderness and this new six-night option from Great Plains Conservation in Mana Pools and neighbouring the Sapi concession has really caught our eye called Greater Mana Expedition.

Great Plains Mana Expeditions stunning location in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Great Plains Mana Expeditions stunning location in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

If you’re in search of an adventure, its combination of walking and canoeing, classic tented camps and star beds should be very appealing.  Moving camp every two nights, guests will explore this extraordinary wilderness in a style reminiscent of old African explorers with a romance of yester-year.  Along the way there’s excellent birding, plenty of photographic opportunities with large mammals and good sightings of apex predators including lion, spotted hyena and wild dog.

Great Plains Mana Expeditions fly camping luxury tent suite, Mana Pools

Great Plains Mana Expeditions fly camping luxury tent suite, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Great Plains Mana Expeditions mobile safari video

African Bush Camps

This owner-run safari company runs a collection of camps in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe offering guests wonderfully authentic safari experiences.  With the recent opening of Nyamatusi Camp deep in the wilds of Mana Pools, visitors can now stay in three camps to get right under the skin of this, one of Africa’s last remaining wild frontiers.  Nyamatusi sits on the banks of one of the world’s oldest rivers in an area of astounding beauty where visitors can walk, canoe and take game drives amid the magnificent wilderness.

Walking safari at Nymatusi Camp, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Walking safari at Nymatusi Camp, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Combine with African Bush Camp’s Kanga Camp and Zambezi Expeditions and you have an overall view of the inland and riverside experiences available in Mana Pools.

Twin Tent Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Twin Tent Zambezi Expeditions, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Wilderness Safaris

Wilderness Safaris has an unsurpassed record of conservation work, protecting fragile and threatened habitat and endangered wildlife across Africa, as well as providing opportunities for thousands of people in isolated communities. They have recently taken over and revitalised Chikwenya Camp, which is on a private concession overlooking the Zambezi at the eastern end of Mana Pools. The camp offers a bit more luxury than some of the other options in the area, and superbly peaceful wildlife viewing by vehicle, on foot, from a boat and a canoe. Combine this with Ruckomechi, or Little Ruckomechi, at the western end of Mana Pools, and you can have a fabulous week or so on wonderful private concessions in this spectacular place

Chikwenya eland herd at sunset, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Eland at sunset, Chikwenya, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

Any questions on a Mana Pools safari?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa and even experienced the new Great Mana Expedition. We can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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