Friday, September 27

Mana Pools, paradise revisited

After a too long a gap of 21 years, I was fortunate enough to revisit Mana Pools Zimbabwe, earlier this month.

Mana Pools is a wild, relatively untouched game reserve situated in the very north of Zimbabwe, on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. It stretches from the sparkling waters and baking sand banks of the Zambezi, across the old flood plains and their ancient shaded pools, through the thickets of jessie bush, tall mopani woodlands, up to the looming hills of the Zambezi Escarpment.

The most special part of the reserve for me, is the river and flood plains. I'm not going to try and describe in any more words what's so special about this small piece of Africa, but let my photos speak for themselves.

My very first visit was in October 1983, the last, before now, in October 1992. In that 10 years I visited the area at least once a year - either on camping trips or canoe trips. For your interest I've included a couple of old photos I took on that first and last visit. In many ways nothing has changed in the intervening 30 years...


Our first camp, right on the river bank. Our equipment was very basic, no cooling, so we ate tinned food and had wind cooled water in our gin and orange.

By 1992 I had a camping fridge but couldn't fit it into my little Mazda - so again cold drinks only as long as our ice lasted!

Most of my other trips to Mana were with friends in their pickup trucks so we had more equipment and cold drinks - a necessity in Mana during the hot dry spring!


In 2013 we had more and bigger vehicles, better equipment, fresh food and cold beers!


My "tent with a view".  Facing the Zambezi River and the hills of Zambia.



Views from our camp......

and a visitor......

Almost every time I've been to Mana, we have had elephants visit the camp site - mostly to feed on the Acacia Albida pods that fall to the ground at this time of year.......

This ele was hoovering up the albida pods from the ground sheet. He manoevered his way through the gap between the vehicle and table without knocking anything over!

And when not in camp, the game viewing on the flood plains can be quite awesome.........

Cape Buffalo, in 1983

Female waterbuck, 2013

Waterbuck out in the open

Plains Zebra foal

Plains Zebra
Elephant, in a typical floodplain landscape....
and some more favourite landscape pictures........

To wrap up this posting on one of my most favourite places on this planet, here are some pictures taken at Mana Mouth - a great place for bird watching, fishing, sun-bathing, or just watching the sun set with a cold beer in hand........

Looking up river... sadly the heavy smoke haze this year mostly obscured the Zambian hills

Sunbathing in 1983

Sunset in 2013