MANA POOLS

PHOTO SAFARI WITH EDWARD SELFE

There has always been a mystique surrounding the legendary Mana Pools National Park. It is a place that few reach, hidden as it is in the central Zambezi Valley, but almost everyone has heard about. Stories emerge of large bull elephants that stand on two legs to reach for impossibly-high branches, and of walking safaris that take visitors right to the feet of these giants.

Walking safaris are a central part of the Mana Pools experience, which is a huge attraction for photographers; we love the low angle that walking offers and the chance it gives us to adjust our location slightly and change the framing of a shot. Over many years of walking safaris, the game on the Mana Pools floodplain has become accustomed and largely impervious to bipedal visitors.

I have been running tours to Mana since the start of 2018 and I have enjoyed great sightings on each occasion. We have walked with large bull elephants, followed breeding herds of cows and calves as they go for water at the river and approached lions with a buffalo carcass. They raised their heads, eyed us for a while and settled again, remembering that people on foot are part of their days in Mana Pools. The experience is highly memorable and I love sharing it with guests who seek the same wild, real wildlife experience.

Visiting in the dry season, as we do on this trip, will guarantee wonderful sightings of elephants, lions, wild dogs and all the plains game that sustains the predators. Over the early dry season months, animals emerge from the thick bush on the higher ground in search of forage and water. The floodplain where they settle is a relatively narrow and the concentration of game in July, August, September and October is extraordinary. As the season develops, so also will the light, filtered by the increasing levels of dust generated by thousands for hooves and paws on the exposed soil.

With the added chance of seeing some wildlife specials, such as eland, nyala and wild dogs on foot, this safari will be a trip to remember. We are based for two nights in the Chitake Springs area, using a mobile camp run by Doug Macdonald, and then moving with the same camp set up to the Zambezi River floodplain for 5 nights.

The safari begins in Lusaka where you will meet Edward at the hotel on the night before the safari. We start the following morning at around 07.30 travelling by road from Lusaka to Chirundu (2.5 hours), cross the border into Zimbabwe (1 hour) and take a boat or vehicle transfer to the camp (2.5 hours).

Safaris begin with the afternoon safari activity. After our final morning on safari, we will co-ordinate your departure to meet with the remainder of your itinerary and any onward connections. The rest of the group will transfer back to Lusaka using a road or boat transfer. We have included hotel accommodation on the final night after arriving back in Lusaka.

We will be visiting Mana Pools at the best time of the year, in the late dry season. During our safari, we will share an area with other camps, though this will not impact our experience. Photographic opportunities are so good at this time of year that visitors will be spread throughout the park and we will likely only share high-profile sighings such as wild dogs and lions with others.

Overnight accommodation in Lusaka at the start and end of the tour. Transfers into and out of the National Park from Lusaka, Zambia. Full board accommodation, standard drinks, all transport in the National Park and guided game viewing activities, pro-photographer guiding fees and informal photo processing sessions, National Park entrance fees, laundry, all transfers and any onward transfers to your next camp.

International flights, premium drinks, visas, travel and medical insurance, (optional) tips, excess baggage charges, personal calls, gratuities, personal purchases, or any activities not specified in the itinerary.

TOUR DETAILS
  • Where: Zambezi Floodplain & Chitake Springs

  • Nights: 8
    Latitude 15 (1), Chitake Springs (2), Zambezi Floodplain (5) & Latitude 15 (1)

  • Group Size: 6
    Minimum 4, Maximum 6 – a surcharge will be applied if fewer than 4 is reached.

DATES & RATES
  • Jul – Sep 2025 – Enquire
    US $9,650.00pp
    US $400 Single Supplement

  • When: TBA

SAFARI

HIGHLIGHTS

Epic Game Density

In the last months of the dry season, all the game from the Mana Pools National Park moves down onto the floodplain along the Zambezi river in search of water and forage. The resulting concentration of game is too much for predators to resist.

Beautiful Surroundings

Perhaps more than any other African destination, it’s possible to identify Mana Pools from photos. A combination of the wonderful light, the rich, earthy colours and the magnificent trees are unmistakable. We will walk in this fantastic landscape using it as a backdrop for our photography.

Intense Close-up Experience

Chitake Springs is known as one of the best destinations for buffalo and lion in the Zambezi Valley. With little water inland, buffalo herds throng to the spring and lions follow. Expect drama….and to be there right in the thick of it.

Walking Safari Opportunities

This safari will be conducted in a vehicle and on foot. Where possible, we will walk through the habitat in search of the best sightings, soaking up the wilderness ambience.

PREVIOUS TRIP REPORTS

FROM THIS AREA

Mana Pools Safari | 2-7 Sept 2019

A journey to Mana Pools which gave us inspiring & beautiful elephant scenes, walking encounters with lions and a gruelling once-in-a-lifetime experience of wild dogs.

Mana Pools Recce Trip | 10 – 13 May 2018

I will be running safaris in Mana Pools National Park in 2019. I have just returned from a recce visit to see if the rumours of the area are true….and it seems they certainly are!

SAFARI GALLERY

IMAGES FROM THIS TRIP

EXCLUSIVE

ACCOMMODATION

Doug Macdonald’s Mobile Camps

Well-known Zimbabwe operator Doug Macdonald will provide our camp, catering and logistics while we are in Mana Pools. The camp will be walk-in A-frame safari tents with bucket showers, and mobile hand-wash basins. The team will provide us with tasty home-cooked meals and cold drinks. This style of travel puts just a canvas wall between us and the wildlife outside, which is especially thrilling in a location such as Mana Pools. Light footprint, low impact safari travel with comforts such as battery charging and everything that photographers need to make the best of the experience.

JOIN ME ON

THIS SAFARI

If you are considering joining this safari, send me an enquiry to start planning your trip and discuss anything you would like to know.