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Zimbabwe Mana Pools Explorer Safari

Welcome to a world of lively campfires and night time stories, hurricane lanterns and bucket showers. Experience the real wilderness with essential camp comforts and fresh meals. Our Zimbabwe Mana Pools Explorer safari is a guided canoeing and walking adventure, we’ll spend 3 days paddling the Zambezi River followed by a 3 day exploration of Mana Pools. We’ll stay in authentic camps and anticipate some jaw dropping wildlife experiences… especially within the Mana Pools National Park.

  • Lake Kariba
  • Lower Zambezi
  • Mana Pools National Park
  • 8 days/7 nights

Highlights of the Mana Pools Explorer

We’ve been running canoe safaris for over 21 years and our experience speaks volumes. Our trips are generally leisurely. We camp under the stars on an island, or the river shore and we use very experienced canoe guides to get you safely down one of the most exciting rivers in Africa, the Zambezi River!

  • Our first night is at Hornbill Lodge on the shores of Lake Kariba. Using Canadian style canoes, we’ll paddle the Lower Zambezi viewing wildlife along the way. Paddling by day and camping by night to take in the sights and sounds of this very special place. And with no light pollution the night sky is awesome!
  • close-up wildlife viewing and spectacular birding with experienced, knowledgeable and passionate canoe guides
  • moving on to Camp Zambezi in the Mana Pools National Park, a static tented camp with its full complement of staff and time to experience one of the top walking areas in Southern Africa. Mana is famous for its bull elephants and if you are lucky enough to encounter one of these gentle giants on foot, it’s an experience never to forget!
  • game drives, walks and fishing from Camp Zambezi. (Tiger fish fishing is second to none - September and October!)

Best time to do the trip

  • Mana Pools Explorer safari runs from May to October
  • September and October are best for game when the weather’s pretty hot, just before the mid-November rains.

Read the full itinerary

Please note: the canoeing element of the trip is semi-participatory so everyone mucks in to help set up the fly-camp each night.

(Mana Explorer courtesy James Varden)

ItineraryFrom $2289

Day 1 - Lake Kariba Day 1 - Lake Kariba

Mana Pools Explorer trip will start with an overnight stay in Hornbill Lodge. Safety briefings for preparation of the canoes on the river and procedures for camping.

Day 2 - Lower Zambezi Day 2 - Lower Zambezi

Check in at canoe HQ for transfer to Chirundu to set off on your canoe adventure. Set up camp on Kakomarara Island: relax and have dinner before turning in for the night.

Day 3 - Lower Zambezi Day 3 - Lower Zambezi

Up at sunrise for tea/coffee/biscuits. 2 hours paddling until breakfast stop. Canoe until noon, lunch and siesta. Canoe until 5, set up camp on Lone Acacia Island.

Day 4 - Lower Zambezi Day 4 - Lower Zambezi

The day takes follows the same pattern as day 3. Regular stops for drinks/paddle breaks. Stopping on Trichelia Island for the night.

Days 5-7 - Mana Pools National Park Days 5-7 - Mana Pools National Park

A leisurely start before canoeing for 2 hours to meet transfer vehicle, drive to Camp Zambezi, your base for 3 nights. Relax and enjoy game watching, birding and botany with your Professional Guide.

Day 8 - Departure Day 8 - Departure

Road transfer from Mana Pools to Kariba Airport. From here, you will connect to your ongoing flights.

View full digital itinerary here
Useful info Tips and notesHow to get thereWildlifeReviews

Tips and notes

There are two canoeing seasons – green season and high season.

Green Season – 01 November to 31 May
High season – 01 June to 31 October

No single supplement applies unless clients request a private safari.

Price Includes: Road transfers from and to Kariba Town. All meals. Drinks include mineral water, cordials, tea, coffee and imported wine with dinner. Use of` camping and canoe equipment. Services of a qualified canoe guide.
Price ExcludesDrinks not mentioned above (soft drinks and alcohol). National Parks Fees and any personal expense

CHILD POLICY: As a general rule we do not recommend children under 14 years of age on canoe safaris for safety reasons.
• No children under 15 years of age will be accepted with mixed groups.
• 15 years of age and above full adult rate.

Note: Your luggage for the safari should not exceed 10 kilos per person. We recommend using a soft duffel bag and not a suitcase.


All produce is brought in fresh and meals are prepared in camp by one of our famed bush cooks. All breads and pastries are freshly baked on the open campfire. Vegetarian or other dietary preferences can be catered for. Breakfast may consist of cereals, yoghurt, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, toast and jams. On the last day of safari, a full English breakfast will be laid on for clients to enjoy. Lunch is usually fresh quiche, lasagne or similar with a varied selection freshly baked bread, salads and cheeses. Dinners are full 3-course meals with various starters, delicious main courses and sumptuous deserts all eaten by candlelight under the stars, accompanied by an imported bottle of wine.


We supply local beers, spirits, imported wines, minerals, cordials, mineral water, tea and coffee. Drinks are served by our friendly camp staff whilst guests relax.

Canoeing equipment

The canoes are two-man Canadian-style canoes, and the paddles are American Carlisle paddles.

Camping equipment while canoeing

Two-man dome tents, sleeping bags, liners, mattress, flysheet.


The maximum luggage limit per client to take on the river is 10 kgs. A luggage room and safe facilities are provided for any extra luggage at the Kariba office.

Camp Zambezi

This is a static camp (mobile camp that does not move) offering rustic luxury set up on the bank of the mighty Zambezi River. Guests can experience the full range of safari activities including game drives, canoeing and walking. With no set itinerary each trip can be customized to the expectations of each individual group. The camp is perfect place to relax after finishing your canoe Safari.

Safari includes: 
  • Services of fully qualified professional guide
  • All activities
  • Use of all camping and canoe equipment
  • All meals and snacks
  • All drinks (soft drinks & alcohol)
  • Complementary laundry (time permitting)
 Safari excludes: 
  • Transfers to and from Mana Pools National Park
  • Any personal expenses

More about walking in Africa and other walking safaris

How to get there

This safari starts and ends in Kariba. All transfers are in open 4 x 4 vehicles and take between 3 to 4 hours. Please be advised that roads can be dusty and bumpy. Charter flights to avoid the road transfer, are available at an extra cost.

International inbound and outbound flights are excluded. Our team can advise or take care of these arrangements on request.


Wildlife is abundant in the valley especially from June through to late October. The Zambezi runs through the Urungwe Safari Area, Mana Pools National Park, Sapi Safari, Chewore Safari and Dande Safari Areas respectively. Game is seen on every trip, most commonly impala, waterbuck, hippo, crocodiles, elephant and buffalo. Animals such as lion and leopard are more difficult to find but are certainly present. Wildlife is more abundant in Mana Pools, especially during the height of the dry season (July to October) when the game viewing can be fantastic.

Games drives are in open 4×4 Toyota Land Cruisers. These drives may take you away from the river, to investigate the diverse inland habitats and occupants that make up the ecology of the area. Walking to explore and learn about the area, with your professional guide it is the best way to experience Mana Pools. The guide carries a weapon at all times. Mana can provide some amazing experiences, if guests are looking for close encounters with game. It is famous for its bull elephants and an encounter one of these gentle giants is an experience never to forget!


Fabulous safari in Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe - September We had a fabulous time in Zimbabwe. Ruckomechi has a great position on the river although not being actually in Mana Pools The variety on offer at"

Barbara C
Fantastic experience in Mana Pools

"Mana Pools - May It was a fantastic experience and exceeded all our expectations.  Our guide Bono Lunga was superb and he and his team made the safari very special. "

Charles F
Fantastic trip to Zimbabwe

"Fantastic trip to Zimbabwe - by Amy and Oliver We had a fantastic trip to Zimbabwe and would very much like to thank you and your colleagues for your assistance"

Amy and Oliver
Impressed by Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe-October We all had a wonderful time and thank you so much for your expert organization – everything worked like clock work and we were all impressed by Zimbabwe. Can’t"

Nigel P
Kariba, Victoria Falls, Hwange & Cape Town

"Kariba Canoe Safari Zimbabwe Hwange Cape Town in February We had and absolute fabulous time… So glad you were there to help us with the up’s and down’s Thanks again"

Rebecca F
Mana Pools and Victoria Falls

"Look no further! Our experience with the Zambezi Safari and Travel Company was faultless: We were particularly impressed with their detailed knowledge of the country and their attention to detail"

Debbie B
Memorable trip to Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe-June: Hello Liz, We had a wonderful and memorable trip to Zimbabwe. Your arrangements were impeccable and everything went off like clockwork. As you know this is our 2nd trip"

Venkat R
Pining for Zimbabwe

"Zimbabwe - September We have been pining away for Zimbabwe since we arrived back in the United States. First and foremost, I want to thank you for suggesting and putting"

Joe M
Stunning Impressions, Zimbabwe

"Victoria Falls in December: We returned last week from a trip that left us with many stunning experiences and impressions. When it comes to the lion encounter and elephant safari,"

Britta.M
The best canoe trip!

"Canoeing the Lower Zambezi River was mind-blowing! Dear Liz, Yesterday I arrived back home in Germany, but in my mind and in my heart I am still in Africa. It"

Gunther

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