Exploring Tourism in Zimbabwe
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Mana Pools National Park

Kariba, Zimbabwe


Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in Western Zimbabwe. Mana means “four” in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed over time by the movement of the lower Zambezi River, where the flood plains turn into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season.  The variety and number of wild animals that can be seen at Mana Pools change throughout the year.  During the rainy months, most large mammals leave the river area to seek grazing and browsing closer to the Zimbabwe escarpment. As the months become drier, shortages of food and water inland force the animals towards the Zambezi River.  Here they find grasses and acacia pods along the river’s edges, which support them through the worst of the dry season. As soon as the first rains fall, the animals disperse inland from the river once again.

Mana Pools covers 2,500 square kilometres of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools.  It is flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs, and it is truly one of the most remarkable conservation areas in Zimbabwe.  Mana Pools is among the least developed National Parks in Southern Africa, but is renowned for its game-viewing, due to large concentrations of dry-season mammals.  Animals at Mana Pools, among others, include: elephant, buffalo, hippo and crocodile, zebra, lion, leopard, warthog, eland, serval, hyena, wild dog, vervet monkey, porcupine, jackal and baboon.  Mana Pools also boasts abundant and diverse birdlife, with over 300 species recorded.

Game viewing at Mana Pools can be done on by boat, by car or on foot. Fishing and canoeing are highly recommended, and hiking/walking safaris provide an unforgettable opportunity to experience wildlife.  The best time of year to visit Mana Pools is between May and October, as the internal water pans dry out and the animals go to the Zambezi River to drink.  By November, the rainy season has started, after which it becomes exceptionally hot and the roads can become impassable.





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