If you were lucky enough to catch David Attenborough’s most recent documentary on the BBC titled Dynasties, you would have been lucky enough to see the stunning drama unfolding around Mana Pools. Alongside the mighty emperor penguins of the Antarctic, the prides of lion in Kenya, the rare and majestic Bengal Tigers in India and the chimpanzees with their politics to rival that of the current situation in the House Westminster in Tanzania! The Wild Dog episode of this wonderful series was probably one of the most harrowing, beautiful, emotional but truly astounding hours of your life you will ever watch. I have the delight in telling you all about the stunning location within Zimbabwe it was filmed in, Mana Pools as well as adjoining areas, telling you about some of the wonderful places you could possibly stay and come back with superb stories of your own.
Mana Pools is a place of abundance, of incredibly beautiful and remarkably diverse habitats with exceptional wildlife, offering one of Africa’s most exquisite safari experiences. Chikwenya, Ruckomechi and Little Ruckomechi are all located within totally private concessions on the western and eastern boundaries of the National Park and each camp is located with the most spectacular setting amongst riverine woodland, on the banks of the Zambezi River.
One of Mana Pools many many wonderful highlights is the wide range of activities available which create a truly multidimensional experience. These include game drives, fascinating guided walks, canoeing, catch and release fishing or simply absorbing this remote area’s incredible serenity and diversity.
Chikwenya is one of the most exciting new camps in Zimbabwe and has literally, as of April 1st, opened its doors. The camp is designed to take advantage of the scenery – each luxury tent is nestled within the shadows of a Natal Mahogany tree. Through the gauze doors of your tent – which is raised on wooden decking – you will have fantastic views of the Zambezi River. The rooms are designed with the purpose to enjoy the views as well as surround yourself with the stunning scenery. The décor is mainly handmade locally, with a naturally earthy palette.
What you are likely to experience during your stay at Chikwenya are large concentrations of buffalo, elephant can be seen ambling their way along the banks of the river, while eager eyed game viewers will spot predators such as prides of lion, leopard and even wild dog, perhaps on a hunt. Chikwenya have partnered with the Painted Dog Conservation to help to make a difference to the African Wild Dog population in Zimbabwe. They are aiming to gain an insight into the demography, ecology and genetic composition of the Middle Zambezi and wild dog population.
You can also enjoy watching Zebra, Kudu, Impala and waterbuck with their ‘loo seat’ stained bottoms feeding on the surrounding plains. Eland roam the concession also and you will most definitely hear hippo laughing on and off throughout the day.
The birdlife surrounding Chikwenya is also superb, particularly if you focus on the woodland and riverine species. Keep your eyes peeled for the local breads such as the black-throated wattle-eye, red-necked falcon, Livingstone’s flycatcher, racket-tailed roller, three-banded courser, Bohms spinetail, mosque swallow, western banded snake-eagle, crested guineafowl, trumpeter hornbill and eastern nicator – just to name a few!