Doug MacDonald’s A Journey to Mana Pools
A Customizable Trip to Zimbabwe
Heaving with wildlife. Snorkelling elephants, belling wild dogs and sable on the run. Huge herds of buffalo coming to a remote spring for a drink as the lion prides keep watch. Eland trimming tamarind trees. And a granny lion who makes it through yet another season. Three stunning areas of Mana Pools, privately guided by our Zim Pro guide Doug MacDonald as part of our Master Guide Collection.
per person sharing
8 days / 7 nights
Camps and lodges
Mana Pools National Park
About this Safari
This safari has been crafted by Doug to showcase the beautiful UNESCO world heritage site of Mana Pools. It takes you to the more remote and raw parts of the park to give you an exceptional wildlife experience. You will be able to do a good range of activities on this safari, which will include walks, drives, night drives and cruises. For this quality safari, Doug uses three different camps, which are Kanga Pan, Chitake Spring and Chikwenya Lodge, all with unique features and in unique areas showcasing the diversity of the park.
Chitake Spring is some kilometres inland from the Zambezi and delivers a safari experience that is quite unlike most safaris in that it is a walking area of the park and all animals are encountered on foot and from behind trees and termite mounds! He then takes you to Kanga Camp which is a relatively new luxury camp in a private concession of the park. Here, in the dry summer months, the wildlife comes to the water hole right into the camp. The safari ends at the beautiful Chikwenya Lodge on the eastern edge of Mana where you will be able to enjoy some of the most prolific wildlife and beautiful walks in all of Africa.
Recommended months: July – October
The Master Guides Collection
Designed by Doug Macdonald
The Chalo Edge
- A privately guided safari developed exclusively for Chalo Africa by Doug MacDonald, one of the best known Zimbabwean Pro Guides on the continent
- Doug has intimate knowledge of Mana Pools and if he deems it safe for you and the animals, he can and will track wild dogs, lions and elephants on foot in the bush
- Excellent chance for close encounters with lion, elephant, wild dog, kudu, impala, bushbuck, warthog and more – all from a camp chair placed at the edge of your campsite!
- River cruises on the Zambezi
- Doug has designed this as a modular safari – meaning that it can either be added on before or after other safari destinations, or be enjoyed as a stand-alone safari. If the latter, your charter flight will take you either to Harare or to VFA for your onward flight home. If you wish to extend this safari, please let us know and we will work together with Doug to make this happen
In August 2012, I visited Chitake with Doug and have fond recollections of spending a few hours perched on a sandy ledge (camouflaged by tree branches), waiting for the wary buffalo herds to come down the river banks for a drink. These large breeding herds of buffalo and elephants are always stalked by predators – prides of lions, packs of wild dogs, hyena, leopards, and even (very rarely) cheetah. Whether you get to see this action or not is a matter of chance, but either way, Chitake will give you very action-packed days and nights.
Here is a description I found in a report. I am quoting it here because I could not say it better:
“Of course, the greatest shows are put on by the grey herds of thirsty elephant and huge black masses of buffalo. Experience the closeness and excitement of Chitake by camping right on the edge of the river and exploring its mini sandstone gorge and wild woodlands, brimming with nature. Long walks are taken out from the spring area to go up into the different habitats of the hills or, when it is very dry, one can make a hide in the bushes near the water, blend into the environment and let everything come to you.
Chitake can be an extremely intense experience for the true naturalist and someone who likes to feel the challenge of nature. When walking you have to concentrate particularly carefully on your surroundings, often remaining silent for hours to let the game close in. Sounds are amplified at night in the narrow riverbed; the bushes around one threatening to release some bundle of tooth and claw!
This is not a “lodge”. This is not a game drive. Chitake is for people who understand the Africa away from the standard brochure. For the “Africaphile” who like their wildlife wild!”
Text credit: natureways.com
Another interesting read is Susan Robinson’s wonderful trip report of her experience In the Faraway Bush: Chitake Springs.
Mana Pools Safari Map
Chitake Springs Camping Area, Hurungwe, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe
Kanga Camp, Hurungwe, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe
Chikwenya Game Lodge, Hurungwe, Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe
Best Time to Visit