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The Epic adventure (Mana Pools)

  • Posted April 24, 2012 by Pete Viewed 2489 times

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Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe constituting a National Park. It is a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa's most renowned game-viewing regions.

Mana means ‘four’ in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi. These 2,500 square kilometres of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs, is one of the least developed National Parks in Southern Africa. It was saved from a hydro-electric scheme in the early eighties which would have seen the flooding of this subsequent World Heritage site. It has the country’s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles and large dry season mammal populations of elephant and buffalo.

The camp at Mana pools. The camping area is not fenced and the first night lions walked through the camp and went to ground behind the ablution block from where they serenaded us. We used the cars to give us some protection. The second night a hyena entered the camp and stood behind my tent (the one on the ground) and ate some left over bones. I stood next to my tent about 30 m away watching him.

The view from my tent. Note the hippos

Zebra for you

one of the four pools. This one is called long pool. Me standing closest to the water edge to get the perfect shots of hippo and croc.

and the shot

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    There are 10 comments, add yours!

    • # Sherij

      WOW!!! You should have recorded the sound of the Lions! It is a dream of mine to go on this kind of trip! WOW!!

      2012.04.27 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Sandra Vermeulen

      To do this, wow I'm not sure I'm brave enough to dare ...
      Thank goodness you are and I can look at your pictures, witch are amazing to see!

      2012.04.25 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Tim

      Your tent is the best hotel on earth,,,what a view,,we need to remake the film, isntead of a room with a view we will make " A tent with a view" :))))))))
      I'm jealous, so jealous but so happy to be able to see this,,, I really can´t imagine how it is possible to sleep knowing lions are around or hyenas,,, I sleep everywhere but there I think I would lock myself inside a car to sleep....
      Well about the zebra,,,,what to say,,,look how elegant they always are,,can't resist to the stripped look,,,,ty :)))
      And yes you got it,,you got the best shot of hippos,,I'm sure they are showing her teeth underwater there lol,,,,
      Hats off Pete,,,,it is being great to live this adventure with you even if only through photos...ty!!!!

      2012.04.24 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Felecia

      Wow!! Incredible. Were you nervous? Were you able to sleep? We've used the cars camping to add protection from bears before but LIONS?? I would have been terrified.

      2012.04.24 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Ann Garratty

      Oh you lucky man... how exciting... isn't it amazing how we can feel safe (well.... sort of safe) with lions and hyenas mooching around when in a tent, where there is only a thin sheet of ripstop nylon between you and them, there is something liberating about sleeping out there amongst them with no barriers. The hippo shot was well worth the danger of dodging the crocs to get it,,, well done you!

      2012.04.24 Edited Reply Cancel

    • # Jacki

      I'm glad you survived taking that photo!! I'm afraid that no photo would be worth it to me sleeping where lions would walk through the camp!

      2012.04.24 Edited Reply Cancel