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


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48 replies to this topic

#21 RobKeul

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 11:01 AM

I have been to Mana Pools recently( end of October 2011). It is one of the best parks in Africa especially because of the freedom of getting out of your vehicle , that is to say in the area of the Zambezi floodplains. Also because of the beautiful different campsites they have, a number along the beautiful Zambezi and a few more inland along the Chitake river. Chitake camps are not for the faint hearted, along a dry riverbed with a spring that provides the only water source during the dry season and all animals have to come daily to drink. So you just sit in front of your tent and watch the elephants, impala, kudu, warthog buffalo etc to pass by. Incredible! And of course predators are around . We had 3 encounters with the Rukomechi wild dog pack , numbering 27 dogs!!
The only thing that in fact is far over the top is the price you have to pay for different camping spots. Though locations are beautiful they are mostly without any facility. Well as long Zimparks does something useful with the money such as anti poaching controls, paying the staff and improving their facilities and morale, maintaining roads etc. it is maybe acceptable.

#22 wilddog

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:49 AM

Managed to get the link to the recent game count in Mana. It can be found at http://www.managamecount.co.zw

Edited by wilddog, 05 November 2012 - 11:50 AM.


#23 Paolo

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

Thank you very much for sharing it.

#24 A&M

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:04 PM

Managed to get the link to the recent game count in Mana. It can be found at http://www.managamecount.co.zw


Thanks for this wilddog,makes interesting reading.

#25 tonypark

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

Come to the Hwange Count. We have more fun there.

On a serious note, it's a shame that in 2013 the mana and hwange game counts yet again fall around the same time. This is usually, but not always, the case.

#26 A&M

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:29 PM

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, 15 November 2012 - 02:30 PM.


#27 Tdgraves

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 04:03 PM

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?

#28 Big_Dog

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 05:49 PM

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?
 


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#29 Atravelynn

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 09:13 PM

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.


When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#30 Big_Dog

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 09:55 PM

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!


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#31 Atravelynn

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:07 PM

@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, 08 November 2015 - 10:07 PM.

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When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#32 SafariChick

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Posted 08 November 2015 - 10:28 PM

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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#33 Tom Kellie

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 06:01 AM

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.



#34 Atravelynn

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Posted 12 November 2015 - 02:02 AM

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.


When you think of a rhino, think of a tree (African proverb)

#35 luangwablondes

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Posted 12 November 2015 - 03:11 AM

 

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. 



#36 LarsS

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 10:04 PM

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?

#37 wilddog

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Posted 24 February 2016 - 11:01 PM

@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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#38 LarsS

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 08:12 AM

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.



#39 wilddog

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:26 AM

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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#40 LarsS

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Posted 25 February 2016 - 09:42 AM

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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