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Why visit Mana Pools?

Mana Pools hosts one of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife during the dry season. The unique combination of beautiful trees, wildlife and unspoiled river is set against the backdrop of distant mountains make it a dream for photographers, wildlife-lovers, birders & fishermen.

Uniquely,  you are allowed to walk in the wild at Mana Pools. Walking in the bush is a far more immersive experience than driving as you are surrounded by the birds and bugs that are often overlooked from a vehicle. Ground vegetation is generally sparse, making walking feasible as visibility is generally good. Walking is entirely at your own risk and requires a permit available from reception. We suggest you hire an armed Zimparks Ranger from reception to guide you. Canoes are also available for hire from reception, be careful of crocs and hippos!

Chitake Springs lies approx. 60km inland of the river where the Chitake river rises out of the sand and runs for a few hundred meters on the surface before sinking back into the river bed to the backdrop of a Baobab forest. This oasis is the most reliable water source for miles around and draws prey and predator alike. Chitake is wild-camping at its finest.

Mana Pools is a UNESCO world Heritage site and a true bucket-list destination.

When should I go?

As soon as possible! The most popular months for game-viewing and photography are June- October. With August and September being prime, June and July can get chilly at night whilst October tends to get very hot. The rainy season starts in November through to March and the game disperses inland and roads deteriorate into a muddy mess but the vegetation proliferates. The birding is best November-April and fishing tends to pick up October-March.Whatever the season, Mana always has something to offer the Self-Drive visitor.

How do I get there?

The best way is to fly into Harare or Vic Falls and self-drive from there. Driving up from South Africa or Botswana is dangerous because the roads from these two congested border posts are very narrow with heavy traffic, being the main transport arterials for mining equipment to Zambia and DRC. There are steep road-edge drop-offs and no emergency lanes. The road surface is particularly bad for the last stretches within 200km of Harare where there are undulations on the surface which can be very dangerous at speed. Unfortunately it is very difficult to time your journey in such a way as to not travel this section at night. Road travel at night is not advised in Zim generally due to animals on the road and un-roadworthy vehicles.

ARRIVE & DRIVE Safaris & 4x4 Rental

We collaborate with Zimparks to offer supported Arrive & Drive 4×4 Rentals. Combine our vehicles from Harare & Vic Falls with Zimparks’ Camps & Rangers to get deep inside the remote national parks that comprise over 18% of Zimbabwe’s land area. We also offer Regular 4×4 Rental:

Download Rental Vehicle Specs & Equipment Configurations Here
1. 4×4 HIRE (Standard Rental) -Fully Equipped 4×4 Rental From USD 150/day (Season & term dependent).
2. MANA POOLS ARRIVE & DRIVE (Supported 4×4 Rental -7 days)

Priced From:

$90* per person per day (4PAX)
$110* per person per day (3PAX)
$150* per person per day (2PAX)

* Includes 4×4 Rental, Booking & Campsite Fees. Excludes Fuel, Food & Activities.

  • Day 1 Saturday Fly into Harare, transfer to Sunbird Guest House
  • Day 2 Sunday 4×4 Handover, Self-Drive to Mana Pools NP Nyamepi Campsite
  • Day 3 Monday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 4 Tuesday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 5 Wednesday Self-Drive to Chitake Springs Campsite
  • Day 6 Thursday Explore Chitake Springs
  • Day 7 Friday Self-Drive to Sunbird Guest House, Return 4×4
  • Day 8 Saturday Transfer to Harare Airport, Fly Home

3. ZAMBEZI EXPLORER ARRIVE & DRIVE (Supported 4×4 Rental -14 Days)

Priced From:

$90* per person per day (4PAX)

$130* per person per day (3PAX)

$170* per person per day (2PAX)

* Includes 4×4 Rental, Campsite & Ferry Fees. Excludes Fuel, Food & Activities.

DIRECTION : VIC FALLS TO HARARE

  • Day 1 Monday Fly into Vic Falls Airport, transfer 4×4 Handover, self-drive to Falls B&B
  • Day 2 Tuesday Explore Vic Falls
  • Day 3 Wednesday Self-Drive to Hwange NP Robins Camp, Hwange
  • Day 4 Thursday Self-Drive through Hwange NP to Wild Campsite Hwange NP (eg Sinamatela)
  • Day 5 Friday Self-Drive through Hwange NP to Wild Campsite Hwange NP (eg Shumba)
  • Day 6 Saturday Self-Drive through Hwange NP to Wild Campsite Hwange NP (eg Kennedy 1)
  • Day 7 Saturday Self-Drive through Hwange NP to Tuskers Private Campsite, Sikumi Forest Reserve
  • Day 8 Monday Self-Drive to Mlibizi Zambezi Resort, Lake Kariba
  • Day 9 Tuesday Embark Kariba Ferry (10.30 Depart)(Sleep on Deck/Salon,Fully Catered 3 meals)
  • Day 10 Wednesday Disembark Ferry Kariba, Resupply & Self-drive to Mana Pools Nyamepi Campsite
  • Day 11 Thursday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 12 Friday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 13 Saturday Self-Drive to Sunbird Guest House, Harare, Return 4×4
  • Day 14 Sunday Transfer to HRE Airport, & Fly Home

Priced From:

$110* per person per day (4PAX)

$130* per person per day (3PAX)

$170* per person per day (3PAX)

DIRECTION : HARARE TO VIC FALLS

  • Day 1 Sunday Fly into Harare, transfer to Sunbird Guest House, 4×4 Handover
  • Day 2 Monday Self-Drive to Mana Pools NP Nyamepi Campsite
  • Day 3 Tuesday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 4 Wednesday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 5 Thursday Explore Mana Pools
  • Day 6 Friday Self-Drive to Chitake Springs
  • Day 7 Saturday Explore Chitake Springs
  • Day 8 Sunday Self-Drive to Kariba, Lomagundi Lakeside
  • Day 9 Monday Embark Kariba Ferry (10.30 depart)-Sleep on Deck/Salon (Fully Catered 3 meals)
  • Day 10 Tuesday Disembark Ferry Kariba, Resupply & Self-drive to Tuskers Campsite, Hwange
  • Day 11 Wednesday Self-Drive through Hwange NP to Wild Campsite (eg Shumba, Masuma Dam)
  • Day 12 Thursday Self-Drive to Falls B&B, Vic Falls
  • Day 13 Friday Explore Vic Falls
  • Day 14 Saturday Transfer to Vic Falls Airport, & Fly Home

N.B. Arrive & Drive itineraries can be customized but pivot on availability of 3 key bookings:

  1. 4×4 availability – above rates are indicative and vary in and out of season as well as with rental term
  2. Kariba Ferry confirmed sailing dates (Ferry sailings are provisional and will only be confirmed once sufficient interest is shown in it, plan B diverts via Bulawayo)
  3. Mana Pools & Chitake Springs bookings – Chitake might not be available or we may have to juggle the Mana/Chitake bookings.

E&OE.

Download Arrive & Drive Itineraries 2019/20 HERE

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REMEMBER:

  • No Fresh Fruit allowed at Mana, Ellies can smell it a mile away and stop at nothing to get it. Under no circumstances feed the animals, they will become dangerous and will have to be shot.
  • Zimparks regulations stipulate that you are not allowed to drive off  the road network.
  • Contact us re:4×4 RENTAL

Camp Bookings & Itinerary Planner

Private camps at Mana start at around USD 500 per person per night plus transport. Whilst these are amazing places, they are rather expensive. You can visit Mana Pools and Chitake much more affordably by self-driving our fully-kitted 4×4’s and using Zimparks facilities. Competent and knowlegable Zimparks rangers will guide you on foot for walks in the wild. The net result is you can enjoy Mana Pools and Chitake at less than one-third of the price of private camps with Manapools.com and Zimparks.

Zimparks lodges and certain sites book up over one year in advance for peak season, so it is best to book as early as possible. Accommodation options range from remote exclusive campsites, the main communal campsite (Nyamepi) to self-catering lodges. All are un-fenced and wildlife can and do move freely through them. There is no electricity and generators are banned. Most facilities have barbeque places and firewood is sold at reception. There is no fuel & no shop (ok, there is a staff shop but it only sells warm beer!).  Zimparks sell Wifi access at reception and the rangers will try help you locate a rumored cellphone signal, don’t rely on finding it….

Exclusive Campsites

These are isolated sites exclusive to the party that has booked them. A maximum of 2 vehicles are allowed per campsite. Ndungu1&2, Mucheni1-4, BBC, Gwaya and Nkupe are located along the riverbanksand have longdrop toilets and braaiplaces. Chitake #1 and #2 (Nzou and Shumba) are located 60km inland at Chitake Springs and have no facilities at all, these camps are very ecologically sensitive and it is important to read up on the Chitake code of conduct before you go.

Communal Campsite

The main campsite of Nyamepi has 30 campsites with braai-places but is seldom full. These are serviced by 4 ablution blocks with flush toilets, showers and various washing –up areas.

Self-catering Lodges

There are two 8-sleeper (Muchichiri,Musango) and three 4-sleeper lodges (Muvee, Hippo, Nyati) situated on the river. These self-catering lodges are old and basic but comfortable and clean with hot and cold running water, flush toilets, gas fridges and stoves.

Location Map of Zimparks Accommodation

Itinerary Planner

Full Name of main booker

Your Email Address

We are registered Zimparks Booking Agents and check availability on your behalf in Harare for all Zimparks sites nationwide and make a provisional booking. This booking becomes firm upon payment of the invoice.  CLICK HERE TO ENQUIRE ABOUT  ZIMPARKS CAMPSITES & KARIBA FERRY BOOKINGS .

Zimparks Accommodation types Nationwide

Depending on which Park you book the following accommodation types are available:

  • Lodges: Chalets with flush toilets and running water
  • Permanent Tented Camps with safari tents, personal bathroom attached and own kitchen
  • Communal Camp Sites with ablution blocks and tap stands
  • Exclusive Camps more remote with less facilities

Fuel, Currency, Catering & Gear Rental Solutions

Fuel Solutions

We have solutions from Harare for our clients. Fuel supply can be intermittent in Zimbabwe. We rent you full Jerrycans from Harare on a sale or return basis. Contact Us re: your fuel requirements. We have first-hand knowledge of the fuel situation and have solutions including fuel coupons & prepaid cards.

Currency

Prices in Zimbabwe are nominally quoted in US Dollars, however, cash is NOT AVAILABLE at Zim ATMs and banks. It is better to bring your money in Cash USD notes (smaller denominations are better as change can often be a problem) and VISA/Mastercad. Theoretically there is a USD2,000/person limit on how much cash you can leave the country with, so budget wisely. The Zim currency situation can be confusing and things change,  Contact Us for an update on the latest currency situation.

Catering Service

We will pre-purchase your food and drinks for you in Harare, pack them appropriately, ready for you to load and go, saving you time and ensuring availability. Meat is shrink-wrapped and frozen. Goods may be packed in a portable gas/12v/mains freezer, or in cooler boxes and scavenger-resistant trunks. Drinks purchased to your requirements packed and ready for you in Harare. We know Mana and can help take the hassle out of your planning Enquire Now:

  • Food- Select items you want from our suggested Shopping List and we will have them ready for you in Harare when you arrive.  We charge a basic service fee of  15% of the value of goods purchased. Coolerboxes and freezers are rented separately.
  • Drinks- We source and pack drinks for you in Harare, ready to go. Choose from a variety of local beers, cool drinks and spirits. Canned drinks are preferable as they are lighter and easier to compact and carry out. They are also less likely to break in transit. A service charge 15% is levied for this service.
Camping Kit

We already have all the kit in Harare, see our Equipment Rental Pricelist Should you wish to hire tents, coolerboxes, freezers, gas bottles, camp beds, chairs, tables etc in Harare rather than carry them up yourself, Contact Us.

Free responsible trash disposal in Harare

Manapools has a strict carry-out trash policy. We will gladly dispose of client’s carry-out trash responsibly in Harare after your trip.

Harare Accommodation

Stay at Sunbird Guest House in Harare on your way into and out of the Zambezi valley at discounted rates. Sunbird Guest House is rated #3 on TripdAdvisor in Harare and offers secure, comfortable and affordable accommodation. All bedrooms have en suite bathrooms, free fibre Wi-Fi and Cable tv. We have lock-up parking and are located within a secure estate. Our staff are well acquainted with self-drive tours and Sally can help iron out any hiccups and make available any forgotten equipment you might need. We are a fully ZTA registered facility.

Sunbird-Guesthouse-Harare
Sunbird Guest House (breakfast included )
  • Twin/Double/Studio Apartment Rooms
  • Entire unit 1 (4 bedrooms, sleeps 9)
  • Entire unit 2 (4 bedrooms, sleeps 9 + Swimming pool)
Airport Transfers
  • By prior arrangement

The Mana Pools Code of Conduct

The easiest way to help conserve Mana is to abide by the code of conduct developed to help preserve this place and limit human impact upon the environment and each other. Please read these carefully prior to your trip and ensure all members of your group are familiar with the regulations and guidelines. The overriding principal is RESPECT, for the wild and other visitors. Consider what impact your actions will have on the environment, the wildlife and other visitors, when in doubt, ask at reception.

Code of conduct for Mana Pools National Park

  • DO NOT FEED ANY ANIMALS OR LEAVE ANY FOOD IN YOUR CAMP (LOCK IT IN THE CAR)- Animals habituated to associating food with humans become problem animals and end up having to be shot. Remember, you are not doing them a favor by feeding them, you are signing their death warrant. If Zimparks catch you feeding any animals at Mana, YOU WILL BE BANNED FOR LIFE.
  • NO FRESH FRUIT/CITRUS/VEGGIES – BRING CANS – problem elephants smell fresh fruit a mile off and end up raiding camps, these too have to be put down, it will be your fault!
  • NO DRIVING OFF ROAD vehicle tracks can last for years and compacted surfaces damage the ecology
  • NO DRIVING AFTER DARK
  • BURN ALL TOILET PAPER – do not just bury it as animals will dig it up
  • CARRY OUT all trash
  • BURY ALL ASH leave the campsite as you would like to find it. Most Mana campsites have braai places it is unlawful to light fires away from these points.
  • CAMPSITES use only the official campsites. Camping elsewhere is illegal and will incur a fine and possible banning from the park
  • WALKING visitors are allowed to walk unguided at Mana and Chitake at their own risk, however, you will require a permit for this. Permits are available from reception. You can also hire an armed Zimparks Ranger to  guide you. Please be careful not to disturb animals or unduly spoil the wilderness experience of others
Code of Conduct for Chitake Springs

Please remember the following basic Zimparks regulations for Chitake Springs. PLEASE do your best to follow them, this is a sensitive area, lets protect it.

  • DO NOT BATHE IN THE SPRING or add any detergents to the water, it is the lifeblood of animals and should not be tainted by private ablutions.
  • SPRING FLOW do not alter the natural flow of the spring by creating baths/pools etc.
  • NO DRIVING OFF ROAD and it is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to drive in the river bed!
  • CAMPSITES use only the official campsites. Camping elsewhere is illegal and will incur a fine and possible banning from the park
  • NUMBER OF PEOPLE Do not exceed the maximum of 12 campers allowed by Zimparks
  • NO CAMPING IS ALLOWED UNDER THE FIG TREE above the source of the spring
  • CARRY OUT all trash
  • BURY ALL ASH leave the campsite as you would like to find it
  • BURN ALL TOILET PAPER do not just bury it as animals will dig it up
  • RESPECT the right of game to drink peacefully. Be discreet. RESPECT other peoples’ right to enjoy Chitake without undue disturbance

Useful Downloads

Rental Standard Equipment .PDF- Brochure -Manapools.com 4×4 Rentals

Arrive & Drive Itinarares 2020 .PDF- Manapools.com- Arrive & Drive Zim Itineraries-2019-20

Equipment Hire Pricelist .PDF- Manapools.com – Equipment Hire Pricelist

Manapools Code of Conduct .PDF- Mana Pools Code of Conduct

"Manapools.com sorted everything out for us. Which meant that rather than spending days on end doing admin. and shopping, we spent 6 perfect days in the bush!"

− Sarah Flemmer, Johanesburg

"We successfully used manapools.com to organise our last mana trip. The catering service was very useful and the 4x4 and equipment rental meant we could avoid Beitbridge!"

− Paul Robinson, Johanesburg

"Thanks manapools.com for taking the hastle out of organising our fly-fishing expedition to the Zambezi"

− Ilyas Patel, Johanesburg

"We had a fantastic trip to RIFA over Christmas and can't wait to get back to the Zambezi with the kids next year"

− Graham Ballard, Nelspruit

"We had an incredible month in Zimbabwe and feel so lucky we found Manapools.com. Ant Bown and his team organised everything for us, but it still felt like it was our own adventure. "

− Angus H Richardson, United Kingdom