Nestled along the southern bank of the mighty Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe is a haven for wildlife. The park is named for its four main permanent pools (“mana” means “four” in the local Shona language), which expand across the floodplains each rainy season and contract during the dry season, but remain large enough to support an abundance of animals.
With a rushing river to the north and the scenic granite peaks of the Zambezi escarpment to the south, Mana Pools has been naturally protected from human encroachment over the centuries. This has created a sanctuary where wildlife can thrive. Diverse ecosystems—including floodplains, islands, savannahs, and forests of baobabs, towering mahoganies, wild figs, and ebony trees—create ideal habitat for elephants, lions, hippos, and an array of bird species. Mana Pools is also famous for its large population of colorful African wild dogs.
Mana Pools covers 850 square miles in northern Zimbabwe and is part of an UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its ecological importance and natural beauty. It lies just across the river from Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. Despite its many charms, Mana Pools receives fewer visitors than many of southern Africa’s more famous parks. That creates a great opportunity for travelers, who are guaranteed a truly wild and remote experience while visiting Mana Pools.