Need A Mini Holiday This Winter? Mana Pools Might Be Your Winner

6 Days(s) Ago    👁 60
need a mini holiday this winter mana pools might be your winner

The best places are never easy to reach. Thats the thought drumming through my head as our Cessna Grand Caravan banks hard to the left and the pilot lines up our approach. Its been 90 long and rather too bumpy minutes since we took off from a rutted airstrip in the far west of Zimbabwe and Im more than ready to get back on terra firma. Suddenly, the wide Zambezi River unfurls beneath us as a forest of acacia trees disappears below the wheels in a blurred palette of lush green. A skid, a bounce and a roar of reverse thrust on the propeller and we finally tumble to a halt.

Welcome to Chikwenya, says Abiot, with a wry smile. Hes a man of few words, but with long experience in the bush of northern Zimbabwe, he turns out to be a safari guide adept at encouraging guests to slow down and soak up the silence of the forests that line these riverbanks.

Minutes later were pulling up to Wilderness Chikwenya, one of three lodges this acclaimed conservation-minded safari operator runs in the region. Ruckomechi and Little Ruckomechi are within the border of the national park, while Chikwenya is pitched in the Sapi concession, one of two private conservation areas Chewore is the other that form part of the greater Mana Pools National Park.

My first impressions are simple: wild, utterly wild.

Unlike the heavily managed conservation areas common to South Africa, Mana Pools is a vast and forgive the clich entirely untamed corner of the continent. One of five World Heritage Sites in Zimbabwe, it stretches across more than 670,000ha 10 times the size of Sabi Sand Reserve near Kruger to offer a wonderland home to a vast array of wildlife.