Zimbabwe » Mana Pools National Park
Mana Pools National Park lies in the heart of the Zambezi Valley, where the Zambezi River meanders for 300 kilometres to the Mozambican border. It is a remote, beautiful place with spectacular views of the broad flowing river, floodplains, the tree canopy and the mountains of the Rift Valley escarpment over the border in Zambia.
This stretch of the Zambezi River is famous for its four main pools (after which the Park is named - 'mana' means 'four' in Shona) - Main, Chine, Long and Chisambuk - which are remnants of channels of the river which stopped flowing years ago. These and smaller seasonal pools dotted further inland hold water all year round, drawing all manner of wildlife and waterfowl during the dry season. The plentiful ana trees that characterise the floodplain shed their protein-rich pods during this time too, providing vital sustenance for many species, particularly elephant.
Wildlife viewing in the mana Pools area is therefore excellent, with large concentrations of buffalo and elephant to be found along the river's edges, while predators such as lion, wild dog, leopard and cheetah are often sighted. Greater kudu, Burchell's zebra, impala, warthog and common waterbuck can be seen on the surrounding plains and the grunting of hippo can be heard all day.
Mana Pools offers fantastic birding, with the river and seasonal pans attracting large numbers of water birds and excellent mix of species in the riverine vegetation and mopane woodlands. Local specials include Three-banded Courser, Western Banded Snake-Eagle, Arnott's Chat, Green-capped Eremomela, African Golden Oriole, Lilian's Lovebird, Böhm's Spinetail and Meve's Starling. Unusual waterbirds include Rufous-bellied Heron, Long-toed Lapwing, Greater Painted Snipe, African Finfoot and colourful clouds of Southern Carmine Bee-Eaters. Even the sought-after Pel's Fishing-Owl is occasionally seen! Camp residents include woodpeckers, Eastern Nicator, Yellow-breasted Apalis and White-browed Robin-Chats with their beautiful dawn-and-dusk song.