This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 at 6:19 am and is filed under Mana Pools National Park.

Mana Pools is one of my favourite wild places, especially because of the abundant wildlife and incredible scenery. The magic of Mana is hard to define, however. There’s something deeply meaningful about this place.

It may have something to do with the Zambezi River…all that energy, life-force and freshness, flowing alongside a massive floodplain full of albida and mopane forest, with elephants, lions, hippos, crocodiles, impalas, zebras, leopards. The cast of characters is endless, and the script to this epic wilderness is being rewritten every day. Always something new happening, always something to admire.

I’ve been treated to some heart-shifting moments on my recent, short trip. Great sighting of a leopard, then a pack of wild dogs, and of course, the elephants in camp. And I made friends with guide Honest Siyawareva, who is one of the best guides I’ve met, and one of the nicest too. And the flight into Mana was spectacular in itself, because of the aerial views of the floodplain. We also went on a short, but brilliant night drive. Below are few random photos from the rest of my time at Little Ruckomechi in the Wilderness Safaris concession in the northwest of the famous national park. I will be back, soon, to immerse myself in the magic of Mana!

I honour and respect all the rangers and committed people who have done so much to protect this sacred place. Someone like Tendai Sanyamahwe, a ranger who spends most of his time on patrol in the escarpment, where temperatures and conditions are challenging, to say the least! And many more, largely unrecognised and unacknowledged rangers, who give so much, for so little financial reward. Other people I’ve met who have inspired me enormously…John Stevens, Norman Monks, Dick Pitman, Stretch Ferreira, the team at Wilderness Safaris, African Bush Camps and so many other smaller safari operators…and again, the rangers, who patrol every day. Much respect.

They need help, however. Elephant poaching in the Zambezi Valley has soared, and some estimates suggest that 40% of the elephants have been poached in the last ten years. Best thing to do? Go to Mana! Your presence and your tourism money goes a long way to ensuring that Mana is properly protected and managed.

Magic of Mana. Bull elephants crossing Zambezi River in Mana Pools.

The brothers…going where they want, how they want, when they want. I love how elephants are totally in charge of their territory. Even the mighty Zambezi River is just another big puddle of water to them…

 

Elephants on Zambezi River in Mana Pools

Herd of elephants doing what they’ve done for millions of years. The Zambezi River has risen and fallen and changed course over that time, creating the fertile floodplain, but those mountains of Zambia have been there a very long time…

 

Canoeing on the Zambezi River in Mana Pools

Paddling through gold.

 

Three bull elephants feeding on succulent grass on an island in the Zambezi River in Mana Pools.

Three bull elephants feeding on succulent grass on an island in the Zambezi River in Mana Pools.

 

Little egret and elephant on Zambezi River in Mana Pools

This Western cattle egret was very happy to walk among the legs of giants, looking for little insects that were disturbed by the big feet of the elephants.

 

Elephant and village on Zambezi River

Elephant on an island in the Zambezi, with a local vilage in the background, on the Zambian side of the river.

 

Crocodile in Mana Pools

Why you don’t go swimming in deep waters of the Zambezi.

 

I can watch these birds all day...besides their colouring and antics, they must have a sophisticated communication system...flocking, flying and turning all together, in perfect synchronicity.

I can watch southern carmine bee-eaters all day…besides their hypnotic colouring, they must have a sophisticated communication system…flocking, flying and turning all together, in perfect synchronicity.

 

My kind of air traffic. Southern carmine bee-eaters flock in their thousands.

My kind of air traffic congestion. Southern carmine bee-eaters flock in their hundreds.

 

Southern carmine bee-eaters nest in the sandbanks of the Zambezi River.

Southern carmine bee-eaters nest in the sandbanks of the Zambezi River.

 

Hippos head towards the coolness of water on a hot afternoon in front of Little Ruckomechi camp.

Hippos head towards the coolness of water on a hot afternoon in front of Little Ruckomechi camp.

 

Death by wild dogs. An impala lies stripped of its flesh.

Death by wild dogs. An impala lies stripped of its flesh.  A pack of ten African wild dogs will consume their prey within minutes.

 

Sunset sky in Mana Pools

The sun goes down, and the heat dissipates. Moving from light to dark, this is a time of day that always has an impact on me. Can you spot the crescent moon?

 

Elephants walking along the Zambezi River floodplain

Elephants walking along the Zambezi River floodplain

 

Zebra and grass in Mana Pools

Patterns in the grass. A red-billed oxpecker hitches a ride on a Burchell’s zebra.

 

Elephant textures

Elephant Textures

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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