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Mana Pools - My Camp

Zambezi River

Elephant passing by the camp

Ever since my first stay in Mana Pools National Park over 50 years ago, l have been a regular visitor to this large, untamed wilderness on the shores of the mighty Zambezi in Zimbabwe.


My neighbours


I invite you to spend a day at my camp. Be warned, it is very basic. A place to light a fire and at some distance a hole in the ground sums it up. The water you have to collect from the Zambezi River about a mile away and carry it back over soft sand. It is October, the hottest month of the year. Today the temperature exceeds 40°C. A shady tree offers some relief from the intense midday heat.

Close by is a stagnant pool covered with water lilies, the home of a hippo family, water turtles, iguanas and a fairly large crocodile. These are your only neighbours but you can count on visits from elephants that stroll through the camp. Baboons, impala, waterbuck, eland, warthog and buffalo are often nearby by too. The evocative cry of the fish eagle perched majestically on a high branch rounds up the picture. You are deep in the African Wild.

Hyena at the camp

As night sets in, the hippos emerge from the pool to graze and hyenas are attracted by the smell of the meat that you are grilling over the intense red glow of the hard mopani wood. Soon it will be time to settle down for the night.

Now let me quote a passage from Bill Bryson's book Walkabout; "Imagine, if you will, lying in the dark alone in a little tent, nothing but a few microns of trembling cotton between you and the chill night air, listening to a 400 pound bear moving around your campsite. Imagine its quiet grunts and mysterious snufflings, the clatter of upended cookware and sounds of moist gnawings, the pad of its feet and the heaviness of its breath, the singing brush of its haunch along your tent side. Imagine the hot flood of adrenalin …."
Now imagine it to be a Lion.

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