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The secret pans of the Zambezi floodplains are hidden in a kaleidoscope of forest thickets. Mana (meaning ‘four’ in Shona) Pools is one of Africa’s finest parks that circulates around a quartet of oxbow lakes formed by the Zambezi rivers’ indecisive course. Straddling Zambia, this beautiful area of north Zimbabwe is achingly photogenic and teeming with animals.
A perfect place for walking safaris, Mana Pools is truly remote. The wilderness is palpable and inescapable. Stay in a tented camp nestled into the thick of it all, and venture on foot into the wilderness accompanied by guides who have an intimate relationship with every organism encountered.
Mana Pools is a world Heritage Site of spiritual standing. ‘Magic Mana’ is a place of psychedelic colour and surreal happenings. It is in a higher realm where the symbiosis between man and animal is something that has long been strived for and been expertly achieved. Many say that a visit here has a re-calibrating effect – a pilgrimage of the wilderness if you must.
Heart-stopping moments and close encounters are guaranteed. Walk with the elephants; hide in shaded protection of tall mahoganies to watch wild pups play in the dappled sunlight; spot the panting pride of lions roll around the dusty pans, full bellied, post hunt. An experience that humbles the soul and thumps the heart.
Mana Pools is seasonal. Many lodges are closed from January to March during the wet season, as the subsequent flooding means that much of the national park is inaccessible. The best time for game viewing is from June to October during the dry season, as the bush is thinned out and wildlife is in plain sight.
South of the Zambezi river lies Kanga Pan. The only source of water for miles during the dry season, Kanga Camp is situated overlooking a bustling hub of animals who congregate in mass for a refreshment. The home to the ‘armchair’ safari, this camp has countless excursions or just the invitation to sit back and see your surroundings stun you.