Mana Pools Newbie, please help!





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  1. #1
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    Default Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Hi guys,

    Need some help and advice.

    Having come from a lot of local camping, parks and wildlife, as well as some "easy" African travelling (Swazi and Lesotho, although being caught in the military coup in Lesotho was, hum, interesting) we have booked 5 nights in Mana in July next year.

    We have been allocated site #9, which I understand is on the banks of the river (awesome!), but I please need help with the following:

    1) Our frame of reference being Kruger, Mkuze etc, how does this walking thing really work? Do you just get out of your tent, pick a direction and go? Does one hire a guide and at what cost? We are on a REALLY tight budget. There are 4 of us going.
    2) What are the rules in terms of driving around by yourself and how does this weigh up against the walks and is it worth while? I know there aren't gates, but are there 'gate times" after which you cannot drive?
    3) As I have read all over the place, Chitake is the really wild bit of Mana. Is it possible and allowed to drive from Nyamepi, park the car at Chitake and take a walk there?

    We really want to see as much as possible (we are very enthusiastic photographers) without breaking any rules or disrespecting anyone, especially the tranquility and wildlife.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Thanks!
    2015 Mitusbishi Pajero 3.2 DiDc Exceed
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Hi Francois

    Mana Pools is a special place and you will probably find the animals will come to you just by sitting back at camp site as there are no fences and very wild. You can walk round the camp and drive on most of the roads round Mana Pools and get out your vehicle any time. My suggestion being a newbe is to drive to a spot and stay close to your vehicle and do a short walk closeby keeping in site or at a distance to be able to get back to your vehicle in an emergency. For your first walk I would get hold of a game scout at the camp office who will take you on a walk, you just tell him which animals you would like to see and he knows where to find them as local knowledge is always the best and experience. Always keep an eye out for lions, elephants and buffaloes on walks and Keep together.

    For the other camps unless your booked in you probably will not get access to them unless they are empty or free but try your luck and ask as many questions as you can to the local game scouts at the office, they will be able to answere all your questions and are very helpful.

    Mana Pools is one of my favourite places and I'm sure you will really enjoy it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Walking safari with AK-47 armed guide is 10 USD per person per hour.

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Mana is one of the most special places I've been fortunate enough to visit. It depends how well you know the wildlife. I'd recommend you take your first walk with a guide. Buffalo are the most dangerous.

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  7. #5
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ngweshla View Post
    Hi Francois

    Mana Pools is a special place and you will probably find the animals will come to you just by sitting back at camp site as there are no fences and very wild. You can walk round the camp and drive on most of the roads round Mana Pools and get out your vehicle any time. My suggestion being a newbe is to drive to a spot and stay close to your vehicle and do a short walk closeby keeping in site or at a distance to be able to get back to your vehicle in an emergency. For your first walk I would get hold of a game scout at the camp office who will take you on a walk, you just tell him which animals you would like to see and he knows where to find them as local knowledge is always the best and experience. Always keep an eye out for lions, elephants and buffaloes on walks and Keep together.

    For the other camps unless your booked in you probably will not get access to them unless they are empty or free but try your luck and ask as many questions as you can to the local game scouts at the office, they will be able to answere all your questions and are very helpful.

    Mana Pools is one of my favourite places and I'm sure you will really enjoy it.
    Thank you so much for the help, we cannot wait to be there.
    2015 Mitusbishi Pajero 3.2 DiDc Exceed
    2018 Jimny 1.5 GLX (The wife doesn't let me drive it...)
    2014 Suzuki GV Summit Auto (still the best car I ever owned)
    2013 Land Rover Freelander II
    2013 Land Rover Defender 110 Melville and Moon
    2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
    2011 Suzuki Jimny

  8. #6
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by schwott View Post
    Walking safari with AK-47 armed guide is 10 USD per person per hour.
    walk with a guide; the safety is a minor benefit, the big benefit, they share knowledge, know the park and where to walk etc, you pay a lot to get there, its a small amount to ad for employing a guide (not a guard)

  9. #7
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    Cool Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Driving to Chitake for a day trip is not really worth it. You only get the best of Chitake in the evening/night or early morning. Also there is nowhere to really drive around and the spring has started to recede around the corner from camp 1
    Unless you plan to camp at Chitake on the way out of Mana Poold, then I suggest you stick to Mana Pools itself, there is way more to do there and it is wild.

    Lots of tsetse flies at Chitake at the moment

    Simon
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  10. #8
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Can anyone tell me the best route from Vic falls to mana pools?

  11. #9
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Groucott View Post
    Can anyone tell me the best route from Vic falls to mana pools?
    The best route is to drive to Mlibizi and get the ferry to Andora at Kariba. It takes around 22 hours and is stunning. If the ferry is not available, take the route front Livingstone to Kariba through Zambia. Driving time of five or six hours. If you feel like real bundu bashing and are happy to replace a tyre or two, take the dirt track along the lake. It will take the best part of two days.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ilex View Post
    The best route is to drive to Mlibizi and get the ferry to Andora at Kariba. It takes around 22 hours and is stunning. If the ferry is not available, take the route front Livingstone to Kariba through Zambia. Driving time of five or six hours. If you feel like real bundu bashing and are happy to replace a tyre or two, take the dirt track along the lake. It will take the best part of two days.
    Great trip along lake Kariba if not done before, but at a cost of roughly R15,000. The Binga - Karoi dirt road is your best option.

    Check the reverse trip thread currently trending.
    Last edited by TRON; 2017/01/10 at 01:49 PM.

  13. #11
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    We used the powerlines road which is probably the shortest route.

  14. #12
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by haboob View Post
    We used the powerlines road which is probably the shortest route.
    Where is it? We took Karoi-Binga road, but had unrepairable punctures in both cars.

  15. #13
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Sorry to respond to question with a question, but to all repliers out there - WE're trying to decide how to get to mana pools in mid-november from hwange also. How long total for going karoi-binga (we're slow drivers and not mud-experienced, tho we're sand experienced) to mana pools check-in, opposed to going the tarmac way, but having to go thru vic falls, across the border, up the road, and back into zim? we hope to take the ferry back.

    Is a medium level of 4x4 experience enough if we stick to main karoi-binga road? we'd overnight in binga, and then another overnight somewhere else (?) before getting to mana pools on day 3 by afternoon. and where would we overnight to spread out the driving over 2.5 days?

  16. #14
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by schwot View Post
    Where is it? We took Binga road, but had unrepairable punctures in both cars.
    We filled up at Hwange and travelled east 51kms to the intersection and turned north towards Mlibizi, before which we turned north-east to Matusadona where we spent two night in this park.
    We exited and took the road towards Karoi, but you will find a road travelling more north, from which you will see the powerlines next to the toad, showing you the way over the escarpment towards Kariba town.
    Before Kariba there is a lovely campsite on the banks of the dam which has a restuarant. The towns people visit this place by boat or road as their waterhole or family restuarant.
    The hippos eat around your campsite and self catering units after sundown.
    There are only 1 or 2 sites just above the slipway which are the best, the others are behind the self catering shacks.
    From Kariba there a tar road back over the escarpment to Makuti, then you are on the A1 to Mana Pools.
    DO try to spend at least one night in Chitaki Springs, as an experience you won't forget, but get into your sleeping quarters after sunset.
    Enjoy.

  17. #15
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Hi Haboob what is he name of the campsite you are referring?

  18. #16
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Great, Mana Pools is really awesome!
    I canīt wait to get back there.

    We spend 23 days in Botswana and Zimbabwe, all the way from Moremi Gorge via Kukonje, Pandamatenga, Hwange, Binga, Chizarira, Matusadona, Kariba to Mana Pools without a tire puncture.
    The road from Binga to Kariba is not tooo bad, but slows you down.
    What is called "powerline road" is a shortcut from the Binga-Karoi-road to Kariba. Turn off at about S17° 05.420' E29° 03.175'.

    In Mana Pools we had a ranger with us on a guided walk who was pretty unexperienced. He wanted to show us lions. But the kill was right next to the road and we found it the day before. But he tried hard to find us wilddogs and it was ok to pay for his apprenticeship.

    We enjoyed the fact, that you might get out of your vehicle more than doing real walks. It was definitely too hot in October. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend to get one of the other campsites like Mucheni or BBC. Ask for a walk-in rate when you are there.

    All in all Mana Pools was the most green part of our trip with the most relaxed animals. Itīs such a great experience to have the elephants close around even in Nyamepi or all the other animals in the park.

    Have fun there

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by TRON View Post
    Hi Haboob what is he name of the campsite you are referring?
    Unfortunately I cannot assist you with this. I have looked back at photographs, but did not get a photo of the place name. Just know that we had campsite 1 or 2 above the slipway. If you follow the road away from the Mariner/Kariba Dam Wall in a south-easterly direction you will find the campsite. It has a restuarant which the people with boats visit as an outing. They also visit by road transport. There are also self catering shalets on the property. I tried to look for the name for other intending visitors, but could not find the name for them as well.
    They should be known in the area, or better computer skills than mine should be of assistance.
    If you find a place with pictures, I would be able to tell you if it was the right place or not.

  20. #18
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Thanx haboob hope someone can supply the details,

  21. #19
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Quote Originally Posted by TRON View Post
    Thanx haboob hope someone can supply the details,
    I think that he's talking about Gache Gache isn't he....

  22. #20
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    Default Re: Mana Pools Newbie, please help!

    Gache gache is not close to the dam, it is about a 2 hours drive.
    The description of campsite situation does not fit, too. Campsites are seperated from the chalets ande there are about ten stands or so.
    Nice place, but not the one asked for

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