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20 Tips for Camping in Mana Pools

Every year we set off with our camping trailer to get an "on the ground" feel for a destination. This June we revisted Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Here are some tips for a camping trip to this wonderful wildlife destination.

  1. Remember to check in on at the Zim parks office just after Makuti, it’s on the left. They will give you an entrance permit to continue into the park.
  2. The first 33kms of dirt road are awful; the 2nd part after the parks boom aren’t so bad. Lower your tyre pressure (but not too much) to alleviate the corrugations. Check all trailer bearings, one chap lost his trailer wheel… We had tins of tuna that burst due to the road, resulting in a rather nasty smelly greeting when we opened up the back of our trailer.
  3. No fruit is allowed in the park. We assumed it was for the elephant but after our stay I’m pretty sure it’s for the monkeys who are determined food pests that prey on new arrivals, those departing and will raid your camp whilst you are out on a game drive
  4. Your camp will be raided by Vervet monkeys, baboons and hyena’s. We saw some campers who had come prepared with a kids water gun. It may not be PC but boy it worked!
  5. The best camp sites in our opinion are on the river front at Nymepi. They are more expensive than the ones at the back but hey - why not get the best view, who knows when youre coming back?
  6. Game viewing roads are easy and good game will be seen through-out. We heard lions most nights but we only saw them on the way out on the last day.
  7. Green season months will have less game around. We recommend going from July onwards if checking off large amounts of wildlife is your reason for going. We were there in early June and yes we didn’t see huge amounts of wildlife, but the payoff was having fewer other tourists around to share the amazing views with.
  8. If you can, avoid the SA school holidays. A bush holiday is about letting go of the “city poison” and out of school holidays is quieter and that, in our opinion, makes it better …
  9. Our best sundowner spot: Mana Mouth.
  10. Take SA beer, cheaper and better in our opinion and if wine is your drink take Tangled Tree which comes in plastic bottles that cope much better on the lousy road on the way in. (It tastes pretty good too!)
  11. There is no ice, so take plenty if you like your G&T’s accompanied by ice.
  12. There is Wi-Fi at Mana Pools office. The cost at the time of our trip was $2 per hour. It works very well and kept us in touch with office.
  13. Cell phones work well on roaming or consider buying a local Zim SIM card. The roaming South African numbers got much better signal than the local Econet SIM we bought in Vic Falls but the costs of roaming make it viable for emergencies only
  14. Firewood is available from the Mana Pools office at $5 a bundle; not cheap but great wood.
  15. The tiles in the ablutions have been re-done recently. Beware though they are really slippery, so I recommend taking one of those easy to pack non-slip mats.
  16. There are no lights at all in the ablution blocks so go prepared with a camping lamp as they are pretty dim even in the day.
  17. Fishing is $10 per person per day. Guided walks and canoe trips can be booked from the main reception office. You are not allowed to walk in the park without a guide, this rule may be overturned soon but at this stage its set in stone.
  18. No food or other supplies are sold in Mana Pools. Plan your meals with this is mind.
  19. You have to take out all your own rubbish. Take some really strong plastic bags and zip ties to close off the top as the hyena’s think this is a great new rule.
  20. There is a nice friendly lady who looks after the campsites. She is available to assist with washing of clothes at a small fee should you need it.

 

 

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