Mana Pools National Park

Mana Pools National Park

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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 during the Dry season, from June to October. Animals are easier to spot because the dry weather thins the bush and wildlife concentrates around the Zambezi River and the pools on its floodplains. Part of the park might get closed off for vehicles during part of the Wet season (from December to March).


Mana Pools National Park Wildlife, Eland, elephant, buffalo, impala, waterbuck, baboons, monkeys, zebra, warthog, and hippo are some of the larger herbivores to be seen regularly on the river terraces as they come out to eat the fallen albida fruit. Lions, leopards, spotted hyenas, wild dogs and cheetah are present in the area. Birding is also phenomenal in this region.

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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Mana Pools in January

All of our camps in Mana Pools are closed for the rainy season. January – March and the whole of December, with the exception of Nyamatusi which remains open during December.

Mana Pools in February

All of our camps in Mana Pools are closed for the rainy season. January – March and the whole of December, with the exception of Nyamatusi which remains open during December.

Mana Pools in March

All of our camps in Mana Pools are closed for the rainy season. January – March and the whole of December, with the exception of Nyamatusi which remains open during December.

Mana Pools in April

Kanga Camp, Zambezi Expeditions, Nyamatusi Camp & Nyamatusi Mahogany open for the season. The vegetation is still very green and thick after the rainy season and there is still a lot of surface water around. This means the animals are not as dependent on the Kanga waterhole as during the dry season. This time of the year is one of the best for birding and sighting the smaller species like insects and butterflies as well as walking safaris and experiencing the area on foot but it is limited to more open areas for big game approaches. At this time of the year, Kanga is best combined with Zambezi Expeditions or the Nyamatusi Camps, based on the river to get the full Mana Pools experience. Temperatures can be high during the day and a little cooler in the evenings and mornings on the early game drives, so a light fleece is advisable.

Mana Pools in May

As things start to dry out the Kanga Pan becomes more and more popular with animals. This is still a great time of the year for birders and for those looking for a little more adventure exploring the land on foot. Combine Kanga Camp with Zambezi Expeditions the Nyamatusi Camps to get the full experience. Wild dogs often start to den on the concession, but getting close to the den site is not allowed as it may cause the stress which may cause them to move the site. Temperatures start to drop at night and in the mornings, but can still be warm during the day. A light fleece is advisable.

Mana Pools in June

The dry season starts to set in and the surface water starts to dry up which means more activity in front of camp at the permanent waterhole. The bush is still quite thick, but it is a great time for walking. It is advised to combine Kanga with Zambezi Expeditions so that guests are getting the complete Mana Pools experience.

Mana Pools in July

As we move deeper into the dry season we start to see more and more herds of elephants in search of water at the Kanga Pan as well as moving down to the Zambezi River, near Zambezi Expeditions. Night temperatures start to drop more, so warmer evening clothing is recommended. Days are still very warm, and with the bush beginning to thin out, spotting on game drives becomes slightly easier. Dry season setting in nicely. The waterhole is starting to fill up with animals.

Mana Pools in August

Temperatures start to become more extreme, with cold evenings and warm days. The dry season has settled in well at this stage, therefore as water has become more scare you will be able to spot more species around the watering holes. The bush has thinned out more, so walking safaris and game drives are great, with greater visibility.

Mana Pools in September

Competition for water begins to intensify and the famous Armchair Safari, at the Kanga Pan, really starts to become a highlight. Here you will spot several species visiting the pan, as it is the only water source for many kilometres around. Evenings are still cold and days are warm, so packing for varying temperatures is advisable. It is advised to combine Kanga with Zambezi Expeditions to see the mighty Zambezi, and the wildlife teaming nearby, as it is the major water source. Combining the two will ensure you are getting the complete Mana Pools experience.

Mana Pools in October

October is the peak of the dry season, with water sources being at their most scarce. Wildlife travel for many kilometres to reach the Kanga Pan. Whilst experiencing our famous Armchair Safari, it is not uncommon to see large herds of elephant, lion, baboons, various herds of antelope, fish eagles and a huge variety of bird life, buffalos and leopards visiting the pan within the space of a few hours. Great for those with an interest in Botany as most bushes, trees are in some stage of flowering.

Mana Pools in November

The rains begin to come in towards the latter half of the month, with brief spectacular afternoon thunderstorms, cooling temperatures nicely. Before that the landscape is very dry and wildlife sightings on the armchair safari at Kanga Pan are unparalleled. Day time temperatures are still very hot, with warm evenings. Combining Zambezi Expeditions and Kanga Camp will provide a beautiful contrast in landscape, with the Zambezi River providing sufficient water for wildlife on its banks. Great for those with an interest in Botany as most bushes, trees are in some stage of flowering.

Mana Pools in December

All of our camps in Mana Pools are closed for the rainy season. January – March and the whole of December, with the exception of Nyamatusi which remains open during December.

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