Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe
Mana Pools National Park is Zimbabwe’s second World Heritage Site and are situated along the banks of the Lower Zambezi river. It consists of four main pools and several smaller pools scattered along the river covering an area of nearly a quarter of a million square kilometres, making it the fourth largest game park on the continent. It is a scenically spectacular national park with great cliffs overhanging the river, Acacia and Mopane Trees and large open grasslands. The Zambezi River, which flanks the Mana Pools for 70 kms, is largely responsible for the park’s great importance as a game sanctuary. In the rainy season the pools fill up with water from the Zambezi and spill over into the surrounding plains causing an explosing of life along the borders of these pools. Riverine terraces of lush, sweet grasses cover the floodplains, as animals descend in their thousands to revel in the coolness of these water and feast on the nutritious grasses, and are follwed by the predators.
Nile crocodile are numerous. Birdlife on the river and in the bush is prolific with over 380 species recorded including Nyasa lovebird, yellow-spotted nicator, rock pratincole, banded snake-eagle and Livingstone’s flycatcher. Common fish include tigerfish, bream, vundu, nkupi, chessa, cornish jack and lungfish.
There are a number of private safari concessions offering game drives by day and night as well as walking safaris, but the highlight of Mana Pools is the Canoe Safari which starts close to the western boundary and finishes 65 kms downstream. This is a journey for the adventurous and NOT the faint hearted as the animal encounters are very close.