Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park

About Mana Pools National Park

The Mana Pools National Park is quite remote but delivers a true sense of being in the wild. The area has pride for its remarkable concentration of wild animals, including elephants, buffalo, leopards, and cheetahs.

This is an area of dramatic landscape and spectacular wildlife. Designing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park offers a plethora of wildlife from large mammals to over 350 bird species.

Meaning “four” in the local Shona language, Mana refers to the park’s four large pools that are the left marks of ancient oxbow lakes carried out by the mighty Zambezi.

Embarking on a Zimbabwe Safari to Mana pools National Park offers an incredible opportunity to explore the hidden treasure of Africa.

Best time to visit

The Best Time to Visit Mana Pools National Park is from June to October. During these months, the dry weather reduces the bush, making animals easier to spot as they gather around the Zambezi River and its floodplain pools. This period avoids the wet season when parts of the park may be inaccessible, ensuring visitors can fully enjoy the park's rich wildlife and scenic beauty.


In Mana Pools National Park, you can see elephants gracefully reaching for tree pods, lions prowling the floodplains, and leopards alongside packs of African wild dogs. The park buzzes with life, including buffalo, zebras, hippos, and various antelopes, making it a wildlife enthusiast's dream. This diversity makes Mana Pools National Park a must-visit for an authentic Zimbabwe Wildlife adventure.

What To Experience

Travel Guide For Mana Pools National Park

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Location & Map of Mana Pools National Park

The Mana Pools National Park is located in Zimbabwe and is physically protected by the Zambezi River. This vast landscape stretches around 676,600 hectares. Mana Pools (219,600 ha) extends over 2,196 square kilometres together with the Sapi (118,000 ha) and Chewore (339,000 ha).

Mana Pools was combined with the Sapi Safari Area and Chewore Safari Area to create a single UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. The national park area is also contiguous with Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

Weather and Climate in Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools generally feels warm weather. During the winter season between mid-May to mid-August, the mornings and evenings can be chilled at around 12°C (54°F).

The days are clear, warm, and humid at 28°C (82°F). The dry months from august to October are the hottest months with temperatures between 40°C and 50°C (104°F - 122°F).

December to February are the heavy rainy days that usually take up with afternoon thunderstorms. The average temperature remains between 21°C -31°C (70°F -88°F) during this time period.

Best Time to Visit the park

Between August to early November is the best time for game viewing in Mana Pools National Park.

During these dry months, the need for water forces the animals naturally migrate to the Zambezi River and the natural pools of Mana. You will get a chance to spot animals in the bush and roaming around the water sources.

Some Parts of the park might get closed off for vehicles during the Wet season from December to March. So, choose the dry season to visit Mana Pools National Park and make your Zimbabwe Safari Tours remarkable.

How to get to the Mana Pools National Park

The remote Mana Pools National Park is located in the northern tip of the country, 388km/241 mi from Harare. The park is mostly off-limits to vehicles during the wet season from November to April.

By Air:

Travellers will most likely enter Zimbabwe via Victoria Falls Airport (VFA), a short distance from the town of Victoria Falls.

The closest international airport to Mana Pools is in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. It is around 240 miles away from the park and takes roughly 5 and a half hours to reach.

Chartered Flights:

Although there are no scheduled flights to Mana Pools, many people find it easier to arrive by charter plane. Chartered flights are booked by your tour operator to transfer from park to park. Your tour operator takes care of your further transportation throughout Zimbabwe.

Main Attractions in Mana Pools National Park

  • Visiting Mana Pools National Park during the dry months of July to October offers a special treat to travellers. The wildlife congregates around the pools of the floodplains because the scarcity of water makes this park a wildlife paradise.
  • Amazing sightings of wild animals including lions, leopards, hyenas, and other predators are also a highlight of the park.
  • The large concentration of hippos and crocodiles are some of the main attractions of the park that fascinates visitors.

Mana Pools National Park Entrance Fees

Resident Pensioners above 60 Years are to pay 50% on entry fees. All children between 6 and 12 years old will pay entry fees as in the entry fees schedule. Children under 6 years old will not pay entrance fees.

Age limit





US$ 8

US$ 15

US$ 20

Children (6-12 yrs age)

US$ 4

US$ 4

US$ 10

Children (below 6 yrs age




Tips to visit Mana Pools National Park

There are some essential things that should be considered before visiting Mana Pools National Park. Those are:

  • From January to March, many of the lodges and the camps in the park may be found closed for the rainy season. Roads may become muddy during this time, and visiting may be not that interesting.
  • A daily conservation fee is charged around USD 20 per foreign visitor. More than 50% discounts are available for Zimbabwean nationals.
  • There is a risk of Malaria in Mana Pools National Park throughout the year. So, consult your doctor and take the necessary precautions before your Zimbabwe Travel.
  • Follow the CDC website to know about several other vaccinations including Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow Fever, and so on.

Things to do in Mana Pools National Park

Let our experts guide you for the best Things To Do In Mana Pools National Park during your Safari In Zimbabwe.

Game Drives in Mana Pools National Park:

When in Zimbabwe Safari, you cannot miss the game drives that are offered by the national parks. Game drives allow you to get close to the animals and also give you a glimpse of the entire place.

Mana Pools provides early morning and afternoon game drives to the visitors. Through the game drives, they can encounter amazing wildlife games with some endangered species. They also get to know more about the entire region by travelling in an open safari vehicle.

Guided walking tour:

No African tour will be complete without a guided walking safari. It allows you to understand the spectacular beauty of nature and close sightings of the wildlife roaming in the park.

Visitors will be escorted by a guide who will tell them about the park as well as the epic wildlife.

Bird Watching:

Mana Pools National Park boasts various bird species that have garnered tourists from all across the globe. If you are a bird lover, the park will never get you disappointed. You can easily watch these birds in their natural habitat making your Zimbabwe Safari Tour worth the while. You can spot grey-crowned cranes and other bird species. All you need to do is take binoculars and spot the birds by standing up in the canopies.


Fishing is the most exciting thing to do in Mana Pools and has gathered popularity from all across the globe. Visitors have a good chance to go fishing in the Zambezi River and catch large fish. The region is so peaceful that everyone can fall in love with this region. Enjoy fishing in the quiet, unspoiled bush around you and admire the beauty of Mana.

Wildlife Sightings

Despite the disappearance of the black rhino, the Mana Pools National park continues to have its Big Five status. This park also comes on the bucket list of many people because of its good concentration of wild dogs.

  • The members of the Big Five include the elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and white rhino can be seen here.
  • Cheetah, Africa’s third big cat is very often seen in the park.
  • Apart from the predators, there are also many herbivorous species spotted in the National Park. From large numbers of zebra to eland, waterbuck, kudu, impala, and other ungulates are seen around the pools.
  • The pools also provide shelter to some of Zimbabwe's largest populations of hippos and Nile crocodiles.

So, there are several ways to explore these wild treasures of the Mana Pools National Park. A traditional game drive safari is the most popular option offered by most lodges and camps.

It’s also possible to travel around the park with a self-guided safari in your own private vehicle. Zambezi River also offers the opportunity for canoe safari, you can opt to see the wildlife around the river.

Safari Game Drive in Mana Pools National Park


A game drives through Mana Pools National park is an authentic way to explore the rich flora and fauna of Africa. This wildlife conservation area located in the north of Zimbabwe is one of Africa’s most significant game-viewing regions.

Mana Pools National Park is home to Zimbabwe’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles as you can see on a game drive. During the dry months, these animals along with others can be spotted around the pools. Large numbers of elephants, buffalos and various antelopes are found gathering around the water sources.

A lot of herbivorous means many predator actions! So, the sightings of lions, wild dogs, and hyenas are very interesting through the game drive.

A definite highlight on a game drive in Mana Pools is the views of elephants balancing on their legs and stretching their trunks to the sky. They skillfully pull nutritious leaves and pods off the white acacia trees. This mastered skill helps them to survive during the dry season when food is scarce.

Birdwatching is also so impressive with more than 450 species that can be spotted on a game drive in Mana Pools. An absolute favourite is observing the carmine bee-eaters during summer as they make their nests on the banks of the Zambezi River.

Discover the true charm of wilderness on a game drive in Mana Pools and be amazed by this epic African adventure.

Things to do in Mana Pools National Park

The untouched wilderness and abundance of Zimbabwe Wildlife make Mana pools National Park a top safari destination in Zimbabwe.

Thinking of visiting this park on your next trip Well, make sure you plan your Safari To Zimbabwe before your travel. It will help you to explore Mana Pools with no worries and with sufficient time.

Best Month to Visit Mana Pools National Park

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In Mana Pools National Park, January continues the wet season's pattern of afternoon showers, contributing to the park's lushness. It's a vibrant time for park tours, with abundant birdlife and newborn animals, though the heat and humidity persist.


February sees continued rains, keeping the park green and full of life. This period is ideal for bird watchers and those wanting to see the park's flora and fauna thrive, amidst warm days and mild nights.


As the rainy season starts to diminish in March, the park begins to dry, hinting at the coming dry season. This month offers a mix of lush vegetation and increasing wildlife visibility, setting the stage for the upcoming prime game-viewing months.


April marks the start of the dry season, offering clear blue skies and lush landscapes filled with newborn animals. It's a time of renewal, making it ideal for Mana Pools Tours as the park transitions from the wet to the dry season, with comfortable days and cool evenings.


By mid-May, the rains have ceased, and the landscape begins to dry, revealing full pans away from the river. The winter thorn trees bloom, promising food for the game. It's a period of cool mornings and evenings, signalling the approach of winter.


Vegetation thins out in June, and animals begin congregating near permanent water sources as inland pans dry up. The dropping of nutritious seed pods from winter thorn trees attracts elephants and other game, enhancing the safari experience with fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities.


July brings cooler weather and excellent elephant sightings as they frequent the river and springs. This month is prime for observing these majestic animals up close on Mana Pools National Park Tours, showcasing the park's rich elephant population against a backdrop of diminishing vegetation.


August is windy, causing leaves to fall and animals to head towards the river for a drink. The wind affects daytime activities but calms by the afternoon, making it an interesting time for Safari In Mana Pools, especially for those enjoying canoeing on the river.


The landscape is bare in September, making elephants and plains game more visible as they feed on the fruit of fig and wild mango trees. With wild dog puppies growing, wildlife is abundant, offering vibrant Mana Pools National Park Safari Tours amidst rising temperatures and increasing tsetse fly activity.


October is extremely hot but offers fantastic wildlife sightings, with animals gathering around the few remaining water sources. Despite the challenge of tsetse flies, this month is rewarding for those on Mana Pools National Park tours, willing to endure the heat for exceptional game viewing.


The heat continues in November, with humidity rising and food becoming scarce. The arrival of rain mid-month transforms the park into a green oasis, cooling the environment and enriching it with lush landscapes and spectacular thunderstorms.


Rainy season showers in December bring life to the park, with afternoon rains cooling the hot days. This wet season month is less ideal for game viewing but offers a lush, green park and the joy of seeing baby animals, making Zimbabwe Safari Tours a unique experience

Frequently Asked Questions

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Mana Pools National Park is home to many big animals found in Africa, including four of the “Big Five.” You can expect to see a wide variety of wildlife roaming freely in the park.

The Best Time to Visit Mana Pools National Park is from May to October, the dry season. This is when you have the best chance of seeing lots of animals because they come out to find water.

You can reach Mana Pools National Park in several ways, including a canoe trip from the town of Chirundu. It’s an exciting way to start your safari adventure

A safari in Mana Pools National Park is really special. You might see elephants and other wildlife right outside your tent, offering a close-up experience with nature that’s hard to find anywhere else.

Mana Pools National Park has different places to stay, from luxury lodges to bush camps. There’s something for every budget, letting you choose how close to nature you want to be.

The Weather in Mana Pools National Park changes with the seasons. The dry season from May to October is the best time for spotting wildlife, thanks to clearer skies and fewer leaves blocking your view.

Entry fees for Mana Pools National Park depend on who’s visiting. It’s a good idea to check the latest fees with the park before you go.

Yes, Mana Pools National Park offers amazing activities like walking safaris, canoeing on the Zambezi, and game drives. These let you see the park’s animals up close in their natural habitat.

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