Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe’s first UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, sits directly across the Zambezi River from Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia. Like the Lower Zambezi, the river is the park’s focal point and there are stunning views over the Zambezi Escarpment. The name "Mana'' means "four" in the local Shona language, which refers to the four large pools inland from the Zambezi River that are home to congregations of hippopotamus, crocodiles, elephants and a huge variety of aquatic birds.

Although gaining in popularity, Mana Pools is quieter than other Zimbabwean reserves while still being home to a wide range of large mammals and over 350 bird species. The wildlife is particularly good during the dry season (April to October) when the animals are concentrated around the river in search of water.

Properties in Mana Pools offer plenty of water-based activities such as river cruises, canoeing, and catch and release fishing, as well as game drives, and bush walks. Like the properties in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi, many camps in Mana Pools are closed between January and March. Our favorite camp in Mana Pools is Ruckomechi.

Mana Pools can be easily combined with other parks in Zimbabwe as well as with Zambia. Mana Pools is most often accessed via small planes so it is not ideal for those wanting to avoid flying.

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Lara Ray