What do I need to take to Mana Pools?

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

What do I need to bring? This is a common question I get asked by people about to visit Mana for the first time. Mana is off the beaten track and even those with experience in self-driving the well-beaten tracks of South Africa, Botswana and Namibia will find that Mana is more remote and requires more planning ahead, there is no shop or garage down the road. But hey, that’s one of the things that makes Mana so special and a treat for those who are prepared to go the extra mile.

Our website contains some useful downloadable PDF checklists that can help you make sure you have everything you neeed:

Zimparks Facilites per site
Catering Shopping List
Equipment Rental List

Remember, the Zambezi Valley is a Malaria area and you will need to consult your doctor about prophylactics before your visit. We suggest you bring mosquito repellant as well as light, long-sleaved shirts and trousers with closed shoes and socks to keep mosquitoes at bay in the evening (mozzies love ankle flesh!).

The African sun is also often underestimated by visitors. From our ai-conditioned offices, we forget how burnt you can get from a day in the sun. Wide-brimmed hats and lots of suntan lotion are a must. I often find a light long-sleaved collared shirt of the type worn by test cricketers is very effective against the sun.

Other items to remember include fishing kit and bait, binoculars and camera kit. Hope this helps you ensure you have all bases covered.

What is the fuel & cash situation in Zimbabwe at the moment?

By | Travel, Zimbabwe | No Comments

In theory Zimbabwe is currently operating on a multi-currency system whereby USD, Rand, Euro, Pound, Pula and Renminbi are all accepted as legal tender along side locally issue bond-notes that are supposedly par with the USD. In practice, prices are quoted in USD and all other currencies are traded at very unfavorable rates to the USD. Non-USD cash payments using local bond notes, electronic transfers, debit & credit card payments are generally discounted by merchants to card USD cash. For this reason, non-USD cash payments are used mainly for local transactions whilst extremely scarce hard cash USD is rationed to pay for imports, fuel being one of them. As cash USD gets more scarce, so does imported fuel.  Fuel availability is  starting to become erratic again and this looks set to worsen. The last time this happened, fuel was still available to those who had cash USD.

For this reason, we suggest is best to bring your money in cash USD of small denominations so you don’t get given too much dodgy change. Remember, there is a USD2,000 limit on how much cash you can leave the country with so budget wisely.

A strategy for handling Police Roadblocks in Zimbabwe

By | Travel, Zimbabwe | No Comments

Police roadblocks are pretty common in Zimbabwe at the moment and can make road-tripping a time-consuming experience. It appears to me that some people suffer more than their fair share whilst others manage to dance through roadblocks most of the time without too much hastle. It got me thinking if some of this might not be related to different strategic approaches to ZRP roadblocks. I have never had much problems with them myself, so here are some strategies that I reckon may have helped me. They might be worth a try (if nothing else they are games you can play in your own mind):

Get in the right head space…. sounds a bit Zen but you are on holiday now, try see the journey as part of the holiday. Somehow the ZRP can sense if you are in a hurry or stressed. My rule is, as I cross Beitbridge, I switch to Africa time and try adjust my mindset accordingly. Best do it quickly because within 2km you will find your first roadblock.

Obey the laws….our website outlines the requirements in terms of paperwork and equipment, make sure you have everything and it is accessible. Observe and obey speed limits and the rules of the road.

Time your approach speed…. slow enough to be respectful, but fast enough to appear self-assured and preferably just fast enough to  be difficult to stop. The optimum approach speed is difficult to judge but about 40km/h is generally about right. Often you will be waved through because you are halfway through anyway!

When you do get stopped:

Own the conversation….most Southern African languages have a greeting ritual of question and response, you can use this to your advantage. Stop the car, turn down the radio, wind down the window and greet the policeman first with a cheery but respectfull “Good morning officer”. You have started the conversation politely and now the obligation is on them to respond to your greeting. When he/she does, ask another question, any question will do, I usually go with “Is this the right road to Cairo?”, this usually brings some humor to the situation and he will explain that you may be a little off track. Keep asking questions,  “how far is Karoi”, “what condition is the road?” “hows the rainy season been?” . Nine times out of ten the whole thing degenerates into a friendly conversation and they will wave you off with a smile – it would be rude to end it any other way.

If the worst comes to the worst and you do end up being asked for a bribe, try play dumb and ignore the hints and keep chatting around the issue until they realise that you have plenty of time to talk and the y will invariably wave you on your way eventally.

Mana Pools Zimparks Tarrifs

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Zimparks tariffs can be hard to work out remotely, we have compiled a summary of Zimparks tarifs to help you with estimating costs for your self-drive trip. Manapools.com are not travel agents and cannot book on your behalf, however, we can help chase up your enquiry in person and collect/courier permits for you.

How do I book Mana Pools campsites?

By | Bookings, Camping, Mana Pools, Zimbabwe | No Comments

All the public campsites at Mana Pools and Chitake Springs are booked through Zimparks central bookings office in Harare. The lodges and certain campsites book up over one year in advance for certain times of the year, so it is best to book as early as possible. The main Nyamepi campsite is seldom full though.

Zimparks central bookings office contact details are:
Tel: + 263 4 706077/8
Email: bookings@zimparks.co.zw
Booking clerks direct emails:
Christine Mhuriro: cmhuriro@zimparks.co.zw
Audrey Maponga: amaponga@zimparks.co.zw
Sekai Gonyora: sgonyora@zimparks.co.zw

At Manapools.com, we are not travel agents so cannot book on your behalf, but we are able to help facilitate the process for our clients by following up with Zimparks in Harare and collecting & couriering permits for you. Please contact us if you need help.