Mana Pools National Park is famous for many of Zimbabwe’s finest features, the Zambezi River, elephants, lions, it’s remoteness and wildness. This unique park is a World Heritage Site renowned for its remote wildness and beauty. It boasts a wide range of large mammals and over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of Zimbabwe’s most popular parks, and after visiting it you will know why.
Mana Pools National Park
The name “Mana” means “four” in the local Shona language. This refers to the four large pools found inside the National Park. These pools are the resulting ox-bow lakes that the Zambezi River carved out thousands of years ago as it changed its course northwards. Hippopotamus, crocodiles and a wide variety of aquatic birds are found at these pools. ”Long Pool”, is the largest of the four pools, reaching six kilometres in length. This pool is popular with hippo and crocodiles and is a firm favourite with the large herds of elephant that come to drink.
As one moves towards the Zambezi River from the forests, the vegetation changes to open Faidherbia albida woodlands. This vegetation gives a uniqueness to this area with a surreal light filtering through the trees. This unique natural phenomenon gives Mana Pools National Park its distinctive cathedral-like atmosphere.
Mana Pools Wildlife
On the old river terraces, tourists can walk freely on their own without guides in the open Albida woodland. Visibility is good and there is little danger of unexpectedly meeting dangerous animals. The freedom of walking alone in an area with dangerous wildlife is unique in Zimbabwe. Elephant, eland, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, baboons, monkeys, zebra, warthog and hippo are some of the larger herbivores to be seen regularly as they come out to eat the fallen Albida fruit. Lions, leopards, spotted hyaena and cheetah are present in the area, but their secretive nature makes them more difficult to see. Despite this, it is rare for a visitor to leave Mana Pools without seeing at least one of these large carnivores.
Mana Pools National Park is 2,196 square kilometres in size. It is part of the 10,500 square kilometre Parks and Wildlife Estate that extends from Kariba Dam in the west to the Mozambique border in the east of the country. This large area is without physical boundaries allowing the wildlife free movement through the area – even northwards across the Zambezi River into Zambia, where there are also large wilderness areas set aside for wildlife conservation.