A visit to a World Heritage Site is always exciting and this was no different, we were going to spend a few nights in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe…
It was a long uncomfortable journey off the main road to Mana Pools, but what beautiful Mopane woodland to travel through… Make sure you make enough time to travel slowly the Mopane woodland en route is magnificent!
We arrived at around mid afternoon and set-up camp in the Main Campsite, Nyamepi. Choosing a secluded site away from the river, facing the bush allowed us to tune into the birds and plants – it also meant we did not have neighboursin the immediate vicinity!
We walked along the bank of the Zambezi River that afternoon, watching elephant and birds – its one of the few game reserves we’ve been to as a family where we were permitted to walk unaccompanied by an armed ranger. To be honest, if Pieter was not a qualified Trails Guide, I probably would have stuck to the confines of the camping ground! For us venturing into the bush, hiding from Elephant bulls in musk and being free to watch wildlife for as long as we like on foot was wonderful!
The next day we left early for a game drive but after about 2km just as the sun was rising we had to stop to pump our tyre, the previous night we had parked under a tree, drove over a few branches and its thorns pierced the rubber resulting in a slow leak!
Our breakfast spot had been chosen for us, so whilst our pump inflated the tyre, I poured coffee and mixed cereal. Pieter showed us lion tracks to match the early morning roars and that kept Joshua and I close to the vehicle!
Our visit to Mana Pools was during the dry season, a time where the Tsetse fly seems to be vicious and I was targeted by about half a dozen at once. Joshua received his first chore on holiday – to catch and remove these blood-sucking flies ASAP! My ankles started swelling and from then on I insisted that we keep the aircon'running and the windows up!
We spent time at the natural pools which fill up during the wet season and in the cool forested areas watching the numerous plains game grazing and browsing, fascinated by their individuality and simultaneous need to be within close proximity of each other. At one scene there were Impala, baboon, buffalo and waterbuck!
Sadly we also noticed the massive devastation of the once Majestic Mopane woodland of the park – all that remains is bare trees – a forest of death - evidence of the destruction elephants can cause on vegetation.
Aside from that, we enjoyed our short visit and recommend it to the more adventurousTravel dudes to include in their visit to Zimbabwe.
Written and contributed by TrailSafari