Zimbabwe - Wilds of Mana Pools
Join Alex on a wild, raw and unedited safari to Mana Pools in Zimbabwe - focusing on African wild dogs, lions and elephants in one of the authentic safari areas of southern Africa.
Departs: October 2022 - Maximum Group Size: 5
If you’re craving unique photographic possibilities with staggering natural lighting, with raw, unedited wildlife encounters and jaw-dropping potential for photography, this authentic Southern Africa safari and bush experience will not disappoint.
For ten days our small group will explore the world-renowned Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe. Mana Pools is often referred to as ‘Magical Mana’ and once you experience it’s wonderful diversity you will soon see why. Mana promises to give you up-close wildlife encounters not only by vehicle but also on foot which makes for unique photographic potential.
This remote, pristine wilderness area is home to a myriad of species such as African wild dogs, elephants, lions, leopards and a plethora of antelope… not to mention the amazing bird life. The region will provide breathtaking sunrises and sunsets as we explore, appreciating the wildlife and how it has adapted to living in this remarkable area.
We meet in Harare, before travelling to the southern regions of Mana Pools to an area called Chitake Springs where African wild dogs and lions wait for cautious herds of buffalo and antelope to come and drink from one of the only permanent water sources for miles around.
From the Springs, we travel north to the banks of the Zambezi River where giant fig trees dwarf even the largest elephants, with prides of lions and packs of African wild dogs, hippos and the magnificent kudu and eland antelopes all roaming close by.
Your safari is much more than travelling to places far and wild. It’s about immersing you in the environment, giving you the best, most intimate experience with every detail taken in to consideration. Reaching fantastic places, searching for beautiful and inspiring aspects of wildlife and the natural world. All are key to helping you capture more thought provoking images.
Mana Pools in Zimbabwe is an exceptionally wonderful safari destination which offers a unique freedom for walking safaris - we’ll be accompanied by one of the most experienced and respected guides in Zimbabwe with knowledge acquired over decades spent in the African bush.
October has been carefully considered for this safari for very specific reasons. It’s the pinnacle of the dry season, meaning water is scarce and locations have been carefully selected close to valuable water sources which draws large numbers of wildlife both big and small to drink from the life-giving waters.
Wild and Unedited | Chitake Springs | Mobile Tented Safari
On day one, you'll arrive in Harare, Zimbabwe where Alex will meet you from your international flight and we will overnight in the charming and welcoming Sunbird Guest House in a quiet, leafy suburb of Harare. Once settled we’ll have a chat as to the plans for your upcoming adventure. I will share and discuss ideas and inspiration for photography, what to expect and suggestions for camera settings and compositions.
The morning of day two, we’re up early to catch our chartered flight to the southern regions of Mana Pools to the astounding Chitake Springs where our mobile safari camp and home for the next four nights will be set up and waiting for us close to the banks of the seasonally dry Chitake River. It's here that we'll meet our remarkable guide and local tracker who will accompany us as we explore the area by open safari vehicle and by foot, walking in the footsteps of iconic species.
Chitake is for the lover of the wild places, who want a true, up-close, humbling and rewarding wilderness experience. These springs are one of the few reliable sources of water for miles around which forces wildlife to make perilous journeys to the springs where ever-present danger prowls close by. Prides of lions and packs of African wild dogs patrol the springs with frequent visits by herds of elephants and buffalo with a myriad of antelope hundreds of bird species.
Days two through to five will be filled with safari activities exploring the area which surrounds Chitake Springs, with the potential of a hide/blind set up close to the spring itself to give you opportunity for simply stunning photography. After safari activities there will be ample time for you to relax and unwind, recharge your camera batteries, look through images you have already taken and work with Alex on post-processing and talking through Lightroom techniques. Or you may simply wish to take a chair, find a cool shady spot under a tree and watch the cornucopia of wildlife wander past the camp towards the spring waters.
Meals will be created by a highly-experienced bush cook and we'll dine close to a comforting campfire with the sounds of the wilderness around us. Our camp is a comfortable but do not expect luxury. This is a safari for those craving an authentic bush experience with raw, unedited wildlife encounters and jaw-dropping potential for photography.
Night time at Chitake is very special. Our site will be close to the springs and because of it's remote wilderness location, there will be zero light pollution. As the sun sets and on a clear night, the sky will be an astounding tapestry of stars and the Milky Way should be visible. The African bush comes alive at night with the sounds of the wilderness amplified by the banks of the riverbed. Sitting quietly at the edge of the riverbed in front of the camp with the only light being from the ocean of stars above us, as herds of elephants silently walk past on their way to the springs as well as the resident population of predators such as a pride of nearly twenty lions vocalise their dominance in to the night sky. All this can make for a hugely rewarding and intimate experience.
The Magic of Mana | Zambezi River | Mobile Safari Camp
On the morning of day six, we move camp, travelling by road to the banks and floodplains of the Zambezi River. The area is scenically stunning and our camp overlooks the gently flowing river where a plethora of wildlife comes down to drink and colourful birds make their nests in the riverbank.
Days six through to ten will be spent exploring towering forests of mahogany, fig and acacia trees, remains of old river channels, seasonal ponds and pools in search of elephants, herds of zebra, hippo and carnivores such as lions, leopards, hyenas and Mana Pools’ famous African wild dogs!
Because we’ll be spending five nights here, it means we can really take our time to appreciate every species we come across. Observing and learning about the behaviour which in turn enables for more thought provoking photography. Elephants who live here have developed a trait of standing on their hind legs to reach the succulent branches and fruit of the towering trees and the area is synonymous for African wild dog den sites.
As with Chitake, we have the freedom to alight from our vehicle if we come across any wildlife we would like to photograph, providing us with the perfect opportunity to capture low-angles - making your images much more engaging.
As the sun begins to set and the day cools something truly special happens, and you will see for yourself why Mana Pools get’s its nickname; “Magical Mana". Soft blue light turns to a glorious golden orange. This mixed with the dust kicked up by the animals makes for wondrous photography opportunities.
One the morning of day eleven, we may have time to squeeze in one final safari before heading to the airstrip to catch our local flight back to Harare in time for your international flight home.
Your safari is so much more than the images you create. It’s about immersing you in the nature of your safari, giving you the best, most intimate experience with every detail taken in to consideration and enabling you to reach fantastic places is search of beautifully inspiring aspects of wildlife and the natural world.
These trips are not just for seasoned photographers. Whatever your level of experience, from beginner to a dedicated creative looking to build upon your portfolio – everyone is welcome and all skill levels catered for and I’m aware that some people are more interested in photography than others.
And with that in mind, I will be on-hand to give you exactly the level of tuition you want, helping you get the most out of your camera, offering unobtrusive, in-field photography mentorship. I’ll be making sure you capture the best possible images, helping you tell the story of your safari through a dynamic collection of images.
Small groups means more personal attention. I’ll be there to assist you with camera settings, composition, inspiration to try new techniques and explanation in to species behaviour . Helping you to capture those fleeting, story-telling moments through your lens - all in aide of capturing more thought provoking images.
Following excursions and activities, I will host photo review sessions and post production editing discussions. Without becoming too technical, these sessions are designed to help you edit your images and give you a well rounded, evocative portfolio and amazing memories to inspire and take home with you.
I want you to leave with a newly found sense of appreciation for the natural world and already longing to return.
The total price for this Eleven Day Wilds of Mana Pools Safari in Zimbabwe is USD (Contact for price) per person sharing - single supplement options are available so please enquire if this fits your needs.
A deposit of 30% is required at time of booking to secure your place, accommodation and allow us to book private camp areas internal flights in Zimbabwe.
Requesting to book or to get in touch for more info couldn't be easier - simply click the button below, submit the form and Alex will be in touch to talk through this outstanding journey to Zimbabwe with you.
The maximum group size will be for FIVE guests. Meaning a small group, more personal attention but also very limited spaces so don't hesitate to get in touch and begin your own journey to this phenomenal part of Africa.
1x night bed and breakfast accommodation - Sunbird guesthouse.
9x nights Safari Camp accommodation - Mana Pools National Park.
Exclusive 4x4 safari vehicle and road transport in Zimbabwe for duration of the safari.
Internal return flights - Harare to Mana Pools NP.
Full-board. All meals and local house drinks whilst on safari.
All park and conservation fees for Mana Pools NP.
Photography mentorship, tuition and editing sessions with your host, Alex
International flights and appropriate visas.
Items of a personal nature.
Appropriate medical, travel and other insurances - this is highly recommended.
Tips and gratuities.
Appropriate Covid testing from home country/origin country