Game Warden

Let's talk Mana Pools National Park. (Zimbabwe)

49 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Would love to Tony,I am always hanging around Pandamantenga,just round the corner from Hwange 40 odd km,and I have a great landy to help ferry people to and fro.

 

Just give me the dates time and place.

Edited by A&M

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I love mana pools. It was getting increasingly more popular with international visitors, but i suppose that will now change.

 

We were there sept 2011 and stayed at vundu - couldn't fault it, fabulous guiding and position. You do have to work harder for sightings though (drive and walk). It was very hot by the end of our visit though-wouldn't want to go in october

 

It is very popular with self-drivers (including conveys from RSA) so can feel less remote than other parks

 

But where else can you walk up to a pack of wild dogs?

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Reading the recent influx of TRs from Mana Pools made me wonder a few things.
Whilst it's popular for it's walking, do camps offer game drives and is up to you whether you go on them, and are night drives allowed?
And is it an area of black cotton soil?

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As one of the parties responsible for the influx of TRs, I'll respond.

 

No night drives.

 

Our private group did game drives, mainly to search for something interesting to walk to. But we got some nice shots such as leopard, hyena, eles, scenery from the vehicle. I know camps like Ruckomechi do game drives. As for deciding to go on them, they way it worked on the other side of the river was (Lower Zambezi) was you had options to walk, drive, or do a river activity.

 

Yes, black cotton soil and alluvial soil when the Zambezi spills into the floodplain.

 

It may not be long before your own Mana Pools report appears, with these detailed questions.

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Thanks @@Atravelynn ! :D

The recent influx of TRs has indeed piqued Mana curiosity...but with so much of Africa unexplored to me that is true of many places, and I never knew where my next travel comes from!
Black cotton soil was due to the fact you never seem to see green season trips to Mana...but I guess foot safaris would much 'tenser' with thick vegetation everywhere!

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Posted (edited)

@Big Dog, right, too hard to get around on the black cotton soil during rains is what I have read in my MP investigations.

Edited by Atravelynn
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Plus I would think not much fun being out in those tents in the rainy season - I had a taste of that in November in Liuwa Plains in Zambia!

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As one of the parties responsible for the influx of TRs, I'll respond.

 

No night drives.

 

Our private group did game drives, mainly to search for something interesting to walk to. But we got some nice shots such as leopard, hyena, eles, scenery from the vehicle. I know camps like Ruckomechi do game drives. As for deciding to go on them, they way it worked on the other side of the river was (Lower Zambezi) was you had options to walk, drive, or do a river activity.

 

Yes, black cotton soil and alluvial soil when the Zambezi spills into the floodplain.

 

It may not be long before your own Mana Pools report appears, with these detailed questions.

 

~ @@Atravelynn

 

Thank you for mentioning this.

I'd had the mistaken impression that Mana Pools was a walking destination, without game drives.

The reading of Safaritalk I've done has been most everything except trip reports, where I've been woefully neglectful.

While I was writing my own trip report I largely sidestepped trip reports. Maybe it's time to redress the oversight.

Tom K.

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One more comment on the game driving. I think you now need a permit or maybe even an actual ranger to go with you on walks in Mana Pools. Without that, it is only driving that is allowed. Definitely worth the effort/cost to be able to walk in this magical habitat.

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I think you now need a permit or maybe even an actual ranger to go with you on walks in Mana Pools.

 

 

No. You can still walk on your own at your own risk.

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I'm visiting Zimbabwe in a few weeks. Hwange is booked, but I want to add another park, which I'll book locally, probably in Vicfalls. I was thinking Chobe, but after reading so many great stories about Mana and seeing so many great pictures, I'm considering it as well.

 

Does anybody know how Mana is in April? All the TR's seem to be between july-oct. Will it be a great experience in April as well for about three/four days? Or do you think it's better to visit Chobe and visit Mana another time in the better months?

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@@LarsS April is normally the end of the rains. I was there in April some 10 years ago and did 6 days canoeing down the Zambezi followed by a couple of nights at the Nyamepi camp site with a bit of bush walking not driving. The roads within Mana are not good at that time and the operators do not open the camps until May. Some self drivers from SA and Zim do visit at that time but I think access and exit can be tricky.

 

I am sure the roads are better managed now but they usually need to be repaired after the rains.

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Thanks @@wilddog! If I'm going to Mana it would be for the walking, not the driving. So bad roads shouldn't be an issue. Camps opening in May is more of a problem. It would be a last minute booking, so may be we can be lucky some camps open a bit earlier then planned. I've understood this year isn't as wet as it can be.

 

Although 10 years ago, how were the wildlife viewings in April? And if you've been in high season to Mana as well, how does wildlife viewing in April compare to july-october? I'm definitely going on a lot more safaris, so I'm wondering if I should hurry to go to Mana or better plan it in a better time of year.

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Well in April it is normally very green, the grass is high and the wildlife dispersed through out the park, as there is normally so much water around. Not sure what the current status is but I believe there has been less rain this year so far, but that is not really good news for the wildlife.

 

Given the above you are much less likely to see the Mana predators as they will be hunting .......well..........any where in the park.

 

As the season progresses the animals tend to congregate near the river as the water holes throughout the park dry out. It is of course a very beautiful park in its own right but I would not recommend April for best wildlife viewing.

 

Best viewing times for me are

 

  • end of September/early October. Out of the school holidays ( lots of families come in from Zim and SA in holiday periods so park can be busy) and wildlife are on the flood plains
  • June July when the wilddogs are usually denning

Re Walking in April. Ground can be difficult i.e muddy and given the grass height potentially, dangerous. We only walked in very open clear areas or on the local tracks.

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Thanks again @@wilddog very helpful information :)

 

In that case I'll save the park for another trip to make sure I'll experience Mana in the best possible way. Will save money for a week stay in Mana another time. I think it's the park I'm most excited about due to all the TR's, which also means I could be easily disappointed if the green season offers a lesser experience (although I can't see how a safari would be disappointing).

 

April will now be about visiting Hwange and almost certain Chobe.

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Hi Lars - I would agree that if you plan to see Mana for a first time then pick one of the prime months ( Aug onwards ). However when you have done that then seeing it in the green is magical but I would suggest late November or early December as being best for this.

Hwange is in great shape at the moment so you will have a great time - where are you going to be staying

Enjoy

Doug

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Thanks @@Doug Macdonald for your advice. I'll be saving Mana for another time. Hopefully I don't have to wait too long.

 

Good to hear Hwange is in a great shape right now. A few more weeks and I'll be experiencing it, can't wait! I'll be staying at Khulu lodge.

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Hi all

I'm planning a trip to Mana in October 2016. Thankfully they still have some spots in Nyamepi! We are not Zim residents (UK-based), and the price quoted was $75 for a camping spot per night, plus $20 per person per day in park fees. It is $115 for a riverside campsite.

  • Do these prices seem correct? This puts our "quick 4-day trip to Mana" at over $600, without considering vehicle hire and fuel and food etc. Surprisingly expensive!
  • Are there any ways to reduce the cost? Anyone have any tips?

Thanks a million!

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@@aquilar. Welcome to Safaritalk. It would be best to put your enquiry in its own thread under the trip planning forum as it will get lost here.

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Given that Mana Pools seems so walking centric with the organised camps/professional guides; what are the age restrictions for walking safaris?

By law in Zambia for example, you must be over 12.

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@@aquilar. Welcome to Safaritalk. It would be best to put your enquiry in its own thread under the trip planning forum as it will get lost here.

 

 

Thanks @@twaffle !

 

I've re-posted the question here

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Was in mana 2sih weeks ago. Wonderful. Wild dogs, lions, leopards and so on. Highly recommended Mana, its by far one of my favorite stops on my trip.

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Sounds awesome, BobsCreek! We are going in October. Did you walk solo or with a guide? Got any tips for wildlife-spotting?!

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Given that Mana Pools seems so walking centric with the organised camps/professional guides; what are the age restrictions for walking safaris?

By law in Zambia for example, you must be over 12.

 

Not sure @@ZaminOz I have seen children younger than 12 there. Most notably that rather famous family from Argentina who traveled the world in a vehicle and some of the children were born en route. I think some of their children were under 12 when I saw them in Mana 2 years ago

 

@@Doug Macdonald may be able to advise on this.

 

Have you checked the Mana Pools NP web site or Zambezi Society website. They set some of the rules/codes of conduct for Mana

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