Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Mana Pools elephants courtesy Chris Worden

Mana Pools elephants courtesy Chris Worden

This is the core of the UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers the Mana-Sapi-Chewore complex and one of the finest safari spots on the Zambezi River. It’s also central to the larger Middle Zambezi Biosphere Reserve.

Renowned for the best canoe safaris in Africa, Mana Pools National Park is also regarded as one of the continent’s top walking safari destinations, particularly between May and November.

The shoreline is dominated by a floodplain with shallow pools under a rich canopy of tall acacias and ancient stands of mahogany and ebony trees. The Zambezi escarpment rises up on either sides of this deep valley. The landscape is spectacular.

The floodplain itself hosts a profusion of game during the dry season (from June to October). Big bull elephants roam widely. With clear and open views through the parklands, the stage is set for some of the best walking safari territory found anywhere in Africa.

However, the Zambezi River adds another dimension. It is wide and languid, with deep channels separating seasonal and permanent islands, which offer perfect overnight sites for canoe safaris.

This combination of dramatic scenery, prolific wildlife and the ability to explore the wilderness on both land and water sets Mana Pools apart. And exceptional guiding standards, small traditional tented camps and the excellent ‘fly-camping’ options seal its reputation. Access may not be simple but this is one of Africa’s best safari spots, so absolutely worth the journey.


John and Trish Berry loved travelling around their native Zambezi Valley so much they started Zambezi Safari and Travel. Nearly 21 years later the company prides itself on its specialist knowledge of the region’s national parks. To read their personal advice and to find out more about Mana Pools, click here

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