Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help





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  1. #1
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    Default Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Hello,

    I am trying to plan an itinerary for Mana and Hwange for end of June/beginning of July. I am trying to find out what is available so it is still approximate. It would be for 2 people camping. I am mostly concerned about travel times to/from Mana and if I have the correct number of days allocated for travel time.

    1. Sat June 23: JNB-Plumtree
    2. Sun June 24: Plumtree-Makuti
    3. Mon June 25: Makuti-Mana
    4. Tue June 26: Mana
    5. Wed June 27: Mana
    6. Thurs June 28: Mana
    7. Fri June 29: Mana
    8. Sat June 30: Mana
    9. Sun Jul 1: Mana to Matusadona or Chizarira ?
    10. Mon Jul 2: Hwange Sinamatalla
    11. Tue Jul 3: Hwange Sinamatalla
    12. Wed Jul 4: Hwange-Sinamatalla
    13. Thu Jul 5: Hwange-Robins
    14. Fri Jul 6: Hwange-Robins
    15. Sat Jul 7: Hwange-Francistown (Woodlands Francistown)
    16. Sun Jul 8: Francistown to JNB

    My questions are:
    1. Can I make it to Plumtree leaving JNB around 6 am? Is this too much with 2 border crossings?
    2. Anywhere good to stay near Plumtree?
    3. Is it reasonable to make it to Mana by the 3rd day? I adamantly want to avoid Beitbridge at all costs.
    4. Where to stop between Mana and Hwange? Not sure Matusadona is accessible? Is one night ok? If I need more it will have to come off of Hwange time.
    5. Is 3 nights Sinamatalla and 2 Robin's good? I will actually try for picnic sites as a walk-in, but not willing to pay the in advance rates for it.

    Thanks for any input you can give.

    Kind regards,
    Kelly
    Last edited by kellyee21; 2018/01/18 at 04:31 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    I did not like the Robin s area last Nov. Allmost no wildlife.
    I read some reviews lately that Beitbridge for some people was easy this last weeks, don t know how it will be this summer
    Last time summer 2017 it took us 2 hours and 10 minutes
    A women with acco near the border told me allways try to pass after 10 AM, best time to cross.
    For us it would be too long all the way to plumtree in 1 day from J burg.
    Matasudona, is not possible for 1 night.
    There is a camping spot some where along this road, don t remember the name?

    Good luck with the planning
    Last edited by sylvia000; 2018/01/18 at 06:31 PM.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Kelly , greetings . We have just completed a similar trip in December 2017. I would recommend allowing 2 days from Manna to Hwange . We unfortunately did not make it into the camp at Chizarira , but was told by the locals that its an epic campsite on top of the escarpment . Really difficult access, but no issue if its by 4x4.

    I would try ad stray away from Sinamatella , and rather book into one of the picnic sites . We stayed at Detema Dam which was fantastic

    Also try Ivory Lodge . Great campsite and if quiet, you can use the Lodge's facilities .

    Enjoy

  5. #4
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    Cool Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Sorry , almost forgot . Robins is undergoing a major upgrade with refurbished restaurant , new pool and revamped chalets . This will be ready by end of March 2018.

    Maybe be an treat after a few days camping

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Thank you both so much for the replies.

    @sylvia000: that's too bad about Robins, do you think its better to do Main Camp instead?
    I could maybe do JNB-Francistown the first night, then how close could I get to Mana for the 2nd night?
    About Matasudona, do you mean it is too far to get there in one night or that if I go I should stay more than one night?

    @gojo:when you say 2 days Mana to Hwange do you mean spend 2 nights somewhere before entering the park?
    I checked out Ivory Lodge, it looks very nice but I did not see anything about camping? Do you know how much it is? Is it outside the park? What did you not like about Sinamatella? I will try for the picnic sites when I get there but won't spend the money to book ahead. How does Main camp compare? I care most about the best game viewing, do you know which area is best?

    Thanks both, sorry for so many questions!

    Kelly

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Hello Kelly,

    Matasudona; the harsch road to the campsite is way too far and difficult for 1 night.
    I think gogo means the Tusker Campsite
    Yes 2 nights between Mana an Hwange would be muh better
    Maybe 1 night Kariba ( then you can use the Powerline road )and 1 night Chizaria or Binga
    We saw more wildlife around the main camp area then the Robbins area. There s alo a nice lodge; Gwango Hertitage Lodge or Centre ( not expensive ) 5 km outside the gate at Main Camp.
    They are making a camp site soon. We ate there several times and it looked really good.

    You can also switch the route and end with Mana and then leave Zim via Beitbridge. Leaving Zim at Beitbridge is very quick. Last time 20 minutes in total.

    First call Zim Parks about the availability for Mana and see what s available for which dates make 2 route options so you can switch if needed

    Good Luck
    Last edited by sylvia000; 2018/01/18 at 08:34 PM.

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    I don’t have the same objection as above to Sinamatella. It is close enough to Masuma Dam to spend the day there and maybe you get a “walk in” for Deteema Dam.

    It is the normal game park story, animals move around.
    Malcolm
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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Thanks sylvia000 for the clarifications. I will definitely leave out Matasudona and leave 2 nights to go between Mana and Hwange. How long is it Mana to Kariba? It looks close for a first night stop but I imagine that's deceiving. That leaves me 4 nights for Hwange. I am thinking book all 4 nights in Sinamatella or Main camp and then try and get some picnic sites when I arrive. One more question for the moment... if I get consecutive nights in the same picnic spot, do I need to pack everything up before going out for a drive during the day?

    Will also look at flipping Mana/Hwange as an option depending on availablity but still won't go through Beitbridge Thanks again!
    Last edited by kellyee21; 2018/01/19 at 07:02 AM.

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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    No need to leave picnic site during the day, set-up camp and either stay or go for a drive.
    Malcolm
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  14. #10
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Thanks Malcom.

    If I reserve at Sinamatella, can they change my booking to any available picnic site or do they only manage certain ones? Would I only have to pay the difference in price (if any)?

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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    I am not 100% sure, but I think Masuma, Deteema, Mandavu and Shumba fall under Sinamatella. They would probably credit you if you changed your campsite but in Africa it changes from day to day and who is on duty too.

    Last year in July I did not book Main Camp or Sinamatella; Main Camp was absolutely deserted and Sinamatella not more than half full. I had a booking at Kapula for 2 nights as I had given up my Masuma booking (change of plans), when I asked at both Main Camp and Sinamatella if anything was available at Masuma, I was told no. Of course the 2 nights we stayed at Kapula there was no one at Masuma!
    Malcolm
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  17. #12
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Hi
    Last year it took us about 1.5 hours to drive from the main road up to Chizarira.Beautiful views .There are only few sites and the price is not cheap ( can not remember how much )
    Josef



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  19. #13
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Two ways to get to Mana Pools quickly
    First.... But less hassel one border is Beightbridge
    Second.... Botswana Martins drift - Plumtree two borders more hassle

    1 JNB - Beightbridge stay at lion and Elephant plenty of time no rush http://www.lionandelephant.co.zw/
    2 Lion and Elephant - Antelope park, Gweru http://antelopepark.co.zw/ or drive up to Makuti
    3 Antelope park or Makuti - Mana Pools

    On your way back
    try and stay at Tashinga Matusadona two nights and one night Mucheni view, Chizirira. Well worth the visit if you are up that way and reduce your Hwange nights although the roads are slow.

    If you do want to go through Botswana and avoid Beightbridge consider staying in Francistown, Woodlands http://www.woodlandscampingbots.com/
    Then onto Plumtree - Bulawayo and up to Antelope Park,Gweru for the next night or drive up to Makuti from there drive up to Mana Pools.

    All the tar roads are good but the gravel can be challenging

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  21. #14
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Thanks Josef and ngweshla.

    Both Matasudona and Chizarira look beautiful but I am thinking to save them when I can stay a few nights each and for this trip concentrate on Mana and Hwange (I am already thinking I do not have enough time for Hwange but that's all I can do).

    We will for sure go through Botswana both ways, I feel much more comfortable with that as Beitbridge can be so unpredictable. So I am thinking:

    On the way up: JNB to Francistown-Woodlands (I have stayed there in October, it is great) and then the second day try to make Makuti for the night (won't support Antelope Park due to their unethical elephant and lion interactions). Then Makuti to Mana on the 3rd day.

    I am going to try and get 7 days for Mana (I may be able to leave a day earlier than I previously thought plus it seems the 7th day is free?). Then 2 nights (not sure where yet) to get to Hwange. Then 4 nights Hwange. On the way home; Hwange to Woodlands again and then 2nd day back to JNB.

    All depends on Mana though, Christina is supposed to be back in the office tomorrow so hopefully I can find out if Mana is even available.

    Thanks everyone for the help!

  22. #15
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Quote Originally Posted by JOBAR View Post
    Hi
    Last year it took us about 1.5 hours to drive from the main road up to Chizarira.Beautiful views .There are only few sites and the price is not cheap ( can not remember how much )
    Josef


    But a place NOT TO BE MISSED!!
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  24. #16
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    I don’t think the 7th day is free anymore, went the same way as the SADC discount.
    Last edited by mcowell; 2018/01/21 at 02:16 PM.
    Malcolm
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  26. #17
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowell View Post
    I don’t think the 7th day is free anymore, went the same way as the SADC discount.
    Ah, I was afraid of that...

  27. #18
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Chizaria; the way in from the main road took us about 1,25 hours extra and then you have to do the drive up to the campsite, awfull drive.
    When you are arrive you are so happy, what a view. We saw now wildlife ar all... it s just the view and that s amazing.
    Don t forget you have to drive the same way back.
    We loved it for 1 night but will never do it again.

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  29. #19
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Quote Originally Posted by mcowell View Post
    I am not 100% sure, but I think Masuma, Deteema, Mandavu and Shumba fall under Sinamatella. They would probably credit you if you changed your campsite but in Africa it changes from day to day and who is on duty too.

    Last year in July I did not book Main Camp or Sinamatella; Main Camp was absolutely deserted and Sinamatella not more than half full. I had a booking at Kapula for 2 nights as I had given up my Masuma booking (change of plans), when I asked at both Main Camp and Sinamatella if anything was available at Masuma, I was told no. Of course the 2 nights we stayed at Kapula there was no one at Masuma!

    Deteema falls under Robins Camp not Sinamatella
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  31. #20
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    Default Re: Mana/Hwange Itinerary Help

    Good news!

    Christina was able to take care of my reservations and I got 7 nights Nyamepi #11 (riverside) and 4 nights Sinamatella #3.

    FYI: I did get a 10% 7 nights discount and was charged SADC rates for the conservation fees. Very happy.

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