Mana Pools in Zimbabwe is a very special safari location. If you are a serious wildlife photographer, this is a location you must visit. Mana Pools is the place where safari guides go on holiday. This says an incredible amount about the place. More specifically, guides and Africa wildlife experts love to visit Mana Pools in late September and October. There is a reason for that and herein lies the reasons we will be going:
- The light: An enchanted forest, some would say. In Mana Pools one photographs under a canopy of huge trees. During this time of year, it is extremely dry. Dust lingers in the air. As the sunlight filters through the trees and the dust generated by thousands of hooves and paws creates a special glow like no other safari location. The forest is one of the most beautiful landscapes you will ever encounter. It changes mood and color by the hour, starting out rich and blue, before turning into a golden canvas after sunrise. You can photograph here well into the morning as the light holds its’ special colors through most of the day.
- The standing elephants: trees with their high up limbs hold seed pods and large bull elephants stand on two legs to reach for impossibly-high branches. This is a photo sighting seen in only a few places in Africa.
- Wild Dogs: Mana Pools is also probably one of the best places in Africa to see and photograph packs of Wild Dogs.
- Africa on Foot: Perhaps, one of the most striking and unique elements of Mana Pools is the possibility to approach animals on foot. No, the entire safari isn’t on foot. We use open game drive vehicles to patrol the area and find the wildlife. Once we are near, then we can exit the vehicles with our guide to approach. The heart-pumping thrill of sitting next to a pride of Lions or a few meters away from an Elephant feeding is nothing short of unforgettable. Take note: This is not something you do unless you have the best and most experienced guides and we will have them on this trip!
- The Landscape: In Mana Pools, the surrounding environment are what makes your photos. The last thing you want to do here is to photograph the subject alone. You really want to take a few steps back and include the scenery as it really adds incredible depth and dimension to your images.
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 that is serious about African wildlife photography has heard about. 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.
As we will be approaching large wild mammals on foot, we must keep our group size very small for this trip. The group will consist of 4 lucky clients and 2 group leaders. Being able to both go off-road and on foot, creates some extremely interesting photo opportunities; the photographer has much more freedom in choosing the position, the angle, the distance, the framing, as opposed to when you are confined to a vehicle on a track.
Simply put, this could even qualify as the ultimate Africa destination and the best private Africa photo safari on the continent. Zimbabwe is a great safari country but Mana Pools is the jewel in its safari crown.
Cost – Estimated Cost is $12,995/person sharing based on 2023 cost information. 2024 pricing has not yet been published.
Group Size – The tour is limited to 8 participants. If we do not get a minimum of 4 participants, those with deposits will have them refunded.
Logistics – The trip begins and ends in Harare, Zimbabwe
Photo Group Leaders: Hendri Venter, Buddy Eleazer
Included in the Safari:
- The trip will include one (1) arrival night hotel stay in Harare.
- The trip includes ten (10) nights in Mana Pools. Accommodation in luxury East African Safari Tents. All with en-suite facilities.
- All meals, local alcoholic beverages & soft drinks, teas and coffees in Mana Pools
- The charter flight from Harare to Mana Pools and return flight are included
- Transfers in Harare and to & from Mana Airstrip
- Activities (2 per day) – including game walks & drives
- Expert guiding services
- All park fees including 2% Government Tourism Levy
- Photography advice in the field
- Laundry services
- International flights to and from your home to Harare for the trip
- Any visa requirements (as of October 2023, a single-entry visa for U.S. citizens into Zimbabwe is $35)
- Meals in Harare
- Medical / Travel Insurance Coverage (highly recommended)
- Staff Gratuities (at your discretion)
A non-refundable deposit of $3,000 is required to confirm your booking. The full payment is due 120 days prior to trip departure. If Paying by Credit Card, a Payment Surcharge of 3.9% will be Applied. Payment Checks can be sent to: Magnum Excursions, LLC, 4344 Farmington Circle, Allentown, PA 18104. If paying by international wire transfer, Venmo or Zelle, please contact Buddy Eleazer at (610) 751-7259 or email at Buddy@MagnumExcursions.com to discuss payment method.
- Ten (10) weeks prior to the safari departure date a 50% cancellation fee applies.
- Months (6) months prior to the safari departure date a 30% cancellation fee applies.
For Those with Dietary or Allergy Requirements – Please advise us of any dietary or allergy requirements on confirmation of booking. We cannot be held responsible for not accommodating dietary or allergy requirements if we are not advised in advance of the safari.
Accommodations in Mana Pools
Our camp is owned and operated by Stretch Ferreira, a professional safari guide often escribed as a “living legend” He has a professional staff to serve us in camp, meanwhile, Stretch and his highly experienced guides will lead our walking safaris in Mana Pools. This team has been in the area most of their lives and has a special affinity with the animals of the area.
The camp is situated in a shaded grove on the banks of the Zambezi River with seven East-African style tents. Reminiscent of an “Out of Africa” era, the tented camp blends seamlessly into the bush whilst still offering guests a luxurious experience. There is a large campfire area to enjoy stories under brightly-starred nights as well as braai nights with chef Stretch himself, a covered public lounge area and an al-fresco dining room.
There are beds with comfortable mattresses, high-quality linen and mosquito nets to provide for a well-deserved rest after many miles of walking. There are hot outdoor showers, flush toilets and running water in the basins. The entire camp area has soft river sand to walk on and guests can enjoy a casual and barefoot stay!