Posted on Saturday, November 19th, 2016 in Mana Pools National Park.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. This is a new, small camp owned and managed by Wilderness Safaris, in an exclusive concession in Mana, which is one of my favourite photogenic wild places in Africa.

You can read more about the camp itself in this blog here, but I wanted to share with you some aerial photos that I took while flying into Mana with pilot Tafadzwa Nyakudya from Wilderness Air. We flew in a small Cessna, which bounced around on the thermals. In September and October, the Zambezi Valley gets very hot and dry, creating a fair bit of turbulence!

Regardless, the scenery below was spectacular. Enjoy the photos…the haze was intense, and I was photographing through the perspex windows of the Cessna, so apologies for the lack of clarity!

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

This is the Zambezi River upstream of Mana Pools National Park. We flew east from Victoria Falls, across Lake Kariba, to Little Ruckomechi.

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

Away from the Zambezi River, the mopane woodland is relentlessly dry and hot during September and October. A few natural water pans dot the landscape, providing relief for the eyes and the thirsty throats of wild animals.

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

This is the Ruckomechi River, dry during the hot winter season. It joins the Zambezi River near Little Ruckomechi Camp.

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

Another view of the Ruckomechi River, with the Zambezi in the distance. Little Ruckomechi Camp is just to the right of this photo on the Zambezi River.

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

One of my favourite views in Southern Africa. Looking across the albida forests on the floodplains of the Zambezi River at Mana Pools. The mountains of Zambia are across the river. And those albida trees provide much-needed shade to visitors and wild animals alike!

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

Another view of the Zambezi River and the albida trees on the floodplains of Mana. Those open grassy areas make important grazing areas for antelopes, Cape buffalos and elephants during the dry season, when there is no grass elsewhere in the valley.

 

Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

Looking east over the Zambezi River, Zimbabwe on the right, Zambia on the left. The floodplains and albida forests of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park are far more extensive than those of Zambia, and draws more wildlife, which is why visitors generally prefer visiting Mana.

 

Pilot Tafadzwa Nyakudya of Wilderness Safaris in Zimbabwe, Flying into Little Ruckomechi at Mana Pools

Pilot Tafadzwa Nyakudya of Wilderness Air…good man! Enjoyed flying with him, and never felt unsafe, even when things got a bit turbulent! Flying in Africa in a small plane is always exciting, to say the least!

Scott Ramsay of Love Wild Africa is a photographer and writer in protected areas, national parks and nature reserves in Africa.
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