Four Unique Mana Pools Safaris

Marlon duToit All Authors, Marlon 2 Comments

Nestled within the Zambezi Valley lies a creation of Nature still pure, splendid, untouched and wild. With the mighty Zambezi flowing to the North, the wooded floodplain to the South plays host to one of the most astonishing wildlife experiences in Africa. A visit to this secret forest allows you the rare privilege to travel back in time to an Africa we all wish we knew, an Africa free of human encroachment, the Africa we all dream about.

Far removed from any urban landscape, Mana Pools has the special ability to transport you away from taxing modern-day living. Large elephant bulls balancing precariously on their hind-legs as they reach seven or eight meters into the canopy of an Ana Tree, prides of lion stalking Cape buffalo on the open floodplain during the heat of the day, or African wild dog running freely in pursuit of impala underneath a wooded canopy.

Mana Pools is a place so different to any other. Very little time is spent on conventional safari vehicles – walking with Africa’s big game is the norm here. Since it’s inception more than 30 years ago, people have explored on foot & resident animals have become accustomed to this. The few visitors that have experienced this before can attest to the fact that it is completely life-changing, like nothing you would have experienced before.

We as Wild Eye have been hosting safaris to Mana Pools for the past 5 years and can wholeheartedly say that we offer guests the most comprehensive experience. We pride ourselves on bringing you 4 very different safari encounters in 2018, all designed & crafted to bring across your path a different side of Mana Pools. Much of the park is covered in thick “jesse”, an impenetrable blanket of vegetation. There are however several absolute gems to be found in the park and these 4 new safari offerings are designed to show the very best of Mana Pools to you, our guests.

Below I will discuss in detail the differences between them, and give you the opportunity to get to know Mana Pools a little better through the eyes of Wild Eye.

Mana Pools Photo Safari

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

This is our trusted 6 day Mana Pools safari experience, tried & tested and one that delivers without fail.

The safari is designed to introduce you to the most scenic region of the park, the open floodplain.

Our idyllic tented safari camp on this Mana Pools Photo Safari is located only meters away from the edge of the mighty Zambezi. The camp is warm & charming and is hosted by a team that puts your comfort & experience first. Exquisite cuisine, campfire stories & the sounds of Africa permeating your canvas tents all form part of an unforgettable encounter with Africa.

The majority of time on safari will be spent on the scenic floodplain beneath of canopy of Winter Thorns. During the dry season these trees yield an incredible crop of seed pods, and these are relished by many of the animals resident here in Mana Pools, most notably the elephants. The presence of these tree’s coupled by the shade they offer & the water provided by the Zambezi, is a massive draw-card for the wildlife in the area, and from June – November you’ll find fantastic game viewing on the floodplain.

It’s a relatively small area when compared to the rest of the park, but that should by no means dissuade you from exploring this with us over a 6 day period. You’ll no doubt leave wanting more of it.

There are atleast 2 of these safaris scheduled each year, and it gives you some options as to which one to book.

Mid-year will offer you fantastic winter light. The dust within the Zambezi Valley hangs in the air like a thick blanket during the late afternoon, and when the sun collides with this absolute magic happens! It’s a photographers delight.
There are good predators sightings around too, but it is also the time of year that the well known wild dog packs in the area den. During this denning period the dogs can be somewhat challenging to find as they roam many kilometers daily, and the den itself will be very well hidden. Lion however can still be found on the floodplain, they are an ever-present feature & good quality to spend time with.

October in Mana Pools can be very hot. It’s likely the warmest time of year and you’ll feel it.
We structure the activities to take place during the early hours of the day, from 6am to about 9 or 10am. That gives you time to relax in camp during the hottest time of day, a relief no doubt. The afternoon activities start at about 4pm, and continue till nightfall.

Regardless of the heat, it’s a very productive time of year to visit. It’s extremely dry further in land, apart from a few isolated waterholes. This causes many animals to venture out on to the floodplain to drink from the Zambezi, and this brings them right into our path.

The wild dogs also tend to spend alot of time out on the open floodplain in search of prey species like impala & baboon. The odds are best of finding them during late September & into October.

There’s no “best” time to be in Mana Pools, when choosing between these safaris mentioned above. Both are unique & anything is possible on either.

Another thing to mention and also a reason good enough to return for, is the impeccable dining experience and hospitable service in camp.

Tess & Dave (the camp owners) and their team cook up incredible meals & their hosting is second to none. You’ll always feel incredible welcome and it’s something you’ll higely enjoy, without doubt!

Coming home to Tess’s cooking after a long day out in the field is a highlight in its own!

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

Mana Pools Extended Safari

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

The floodplain itself has more than enough to keep you happy & occupied. There is however more to Mana Pools than just the floodplain itself, and this extended Mana Pools Safari experience will take you further inland for a portion of the safari.

Away from the scenic open areas & the Zambezi River lies a wooded Mopane tree thicket. A single camp can be found here and this is where we will based for 3 nights out of this 8 day safari.

After 4 nights on the incredible floodplain we will drive further inland and call Kanga Camp our home for another 3 nights.

What makes Kanga Camp so special then, you must wonder?

Well, if you consider the only waterhole in the region for many kilometers on end can be found right in front of Kanga Camp itself, you’ll be able to figure out just how many animals this waterhole would attract during the driest period of the year!
Wildlife have no choice but to visit the waterhole daily and this creates incredible photographic & game viewing opportunities.

This incredible camp will offer guests the opportunity to gain a glimpse into the action that unfolds in the lesser explored woodlands of Mana Pools. The camp is exquisite & will cater to your every need & more.

Most of the activities will take place within the surrounds of camp as this is where most of the animals will be attracted to. That said, there will still be opportunity for vehicles based exploration of the area, as well as guided walks by an experienced armed guide.

It offers guests a refreshing approach to the traditional Mana Pools Safari experience, and is no doubt a new product we are proud to present to our followers & guests.

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

Chitake Springs & Mana Pools Safari

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

With this brand new safari experience offering from Wild Eye, we will showcase a remote part of Mana Pools to you in a way very few people have experienced before. Almost an hour’s drive South of the Mana Pools floodplain lies one of Africa’s wildest destinations – Chitake Springs.

For the elite few who’ve heard of Chitake, let alone been, it’s undoubtedly an experience that you can’t find anywhere else. The animals are wild, the camp remote with only one access road leading in to camp itself. All safaris here are conducted by foot as we explore the Chitake drainage system twice a day, early mornings & late afternoons.

Apart from the small Chitake water source, there’s no other available water for many kilometers surrounding the area. This means every single animal in need of a drink will drink from Chitake Springs. The water runs along a small but deep sandy drainage for just over 1 kilometer before vanishing into the sand. Our camp will be located right next to the stream along the banks of the drainage under some well-shaded trees. From here we will walk the area in search of lion, elephant, buffalo, wild dogs and much more.

Chitake is not the kind of place where you burn out the shutter of your camera. It’s about the experience of seeing Africa in a way you’ve never thought possible – wild to the maximum & fully immersed in nature.

I have never before experienced a destination so wild, so incredible dramatic! The real action in Chitake tends to happen when the sun dips below the horizon. Lions will soon start calling, and predators like leopard & wild dog get active around the drainage. It’s not uncommon to play witness to wild dogs on the hunt in the early evening as the pursue impala through & along the stream.

Then, after the sun sets & darkness arrives, many elephant herds will start making their way down to the drainage to drink.

They often dig holes as they prefer sand-filtered water to the actual stream. The experience of having them this close to camp is exceptional, something you’ll never forget!

One of the most exciting happenings at Chitake Springs, is waiting for the large herds of buffalo to come down for a drink. It’s simply incredible.

It’s tough to predict the exact time they will arrive, but most of them arrive mid to late morning. This certainly is a Chitake special & highlight and something not only to photograph, but just to simply watch & be in awe of!

Chitake Springs is wild, it’s raw, it’s completely different to anything else that we offer and it’s an experience you’ll never forget!

From here we move back north to the floodplains of the Zambezi River where our standard 5 Night Mana Pools Photo Safaris are based.

The combination of Chitake Springs & Mana Pools floodplain is simply incredible and something you’ll remember for a lifetime! Both regions are very wild in their own right, and it will give you a great glimpse into two of the park’s most iconic areas, all under one safari experience.

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

The Mana Pools Adventure Trail

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.

This is an something we are extremely proud to present to you. It’s a safari we’ve been dreaming up for some time, and we can finally offer this very unique wilderness experience to you.

The safari will start with 3 nights in Chitake Springs, the wildest destination that I have ever encountered in Africa to date.

The days will consist of daily walks – both mornings & evenings – along the Chitake drainage system where encounters with buffalo, lion, wild dog and more are not uncommon. The nights in Chitake are alive & wild and will no doubt set the tone for what’s to come!

We then walk through the park and spend 2 nights on the trail, exploring some beautiful areas, something only truly appreciated on foot & away from camps. We will carry basic supplies with us – a backpack equipped with snacks, water, bedding & a few other items – whilst the rest of the goods will be set up & waiting ahead of us.

This is an experience you’ll rarely find elsewhere and gives you a special & rare glimpse into the park, a view like few have ever seen before.

At night we will enjoy dinner around a fire, perhaps in a wide sandy riverbed or even under the canopy of an ancient Leadwood. There will be no tents as we will sleep in sleeping bags on padded groundsheets, with a blanket of stars to cover us.

It’s the ultimate way to experience Mana Pools – completely immersed within the experience itself.

There’s no telling what we could encounter on foot, but it will always be in the company of an incredible experienced Zimbabwe Professional Guide and 2 of our trusted Wild Eye guides. Your safety will always be our main mandate, without question.

After 2 days of walking the Mana forests on foot we will end our experience on the banks of the Zambezi River, in our well-loved Mana Pools Tented Camp.

This is no doubt a riveting experience and one you will be sure to enjoy. We have tried as best to craft this experience with as much comfort in mind, but without losing the wilderness & authentic elements. You’ll feel alive, you’ll feel rejuvenated & you’ll leave with a deeper sense of life.

View more details on this safari by CLICKING HERE.


Mana Pools holds a very special place in each and every Wild Eye team member’s hearts. We have hosted many safaris here and have come to know the animals, the area and the people very well. It’s because of this intimate knowledge that we are able to bring this diverse Mana Pools offering to you, confident that they are uniquely different in offering, but completely the same in quality & experience, one that will change your life for the good.

If you have any further questions on which safari will be best suited to you & your needs, please do get in touch with us.

One thing we know forsure, is that once you’ve allowed Mana Pools to enter your heart, best prepare yourself for a lifelong romance of exciting getaways to the shores of the mighty Lower Zambezi.


About the Author

Marlon duToit

Passion, enthusiasm and an unquenchable thirst to explore and introduce you to our natural world’s wildlife perfectly sums up my ambitions. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Through my African adventures I kept my photographic passion alive. Behind a camera aimed at a lion or a leopard is where I am most at home, my heart skipping a beat at the mere thought of it. My intention has never been solely for recognition but for the plight of what’s left of our natural recourses. Using my love and understanding of wildlife I am able to convey to the viewer more than an image or a fleeting moment. I aim to tell a story, to bring that moment alive to you and to capture your heart through it.

Comments 2

  1. Liz Beare

    HI Marlon, we are keen to do Mana Pools early in November. We are a group of 4 or possibly 5. do you have a trip going at this time of year and where do you suggest that we stay? look forward to hearing from you. Cheers Liz and Julian Beare.

    1. Gerry van der Walt

      Hi Liz, Thanks a lot for your comment. Tanya from our office will be in touch soon to look at some options and explore the possibilities. Have a great day and please let me know if I can assist with anything else. Gerry

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