After the elephant relocation, the little canoe trip and our relaxed stay in the cutest lodge of Chirundu (that does exist!), we were totally ready for Mana. First trip with the new car, so also first time checking out the new way to transport firewood (and it worked like a charm). First time seeing everybody again and of course the car was ‘the topic’ every time again. To be honest I was a little bored after the seventh tour around the car and the engine. It did become funny again when guys like Stretch and Alistair decide to do a little show in front of their guests polishing the car…

The elephants on the other hand weren’t boring at all. They were quite present at the campsite and unfortunately there are too many people not entirely aware of the right behaviour on a campsite with wild animals around. You should always close the windows of the car for instance. For sure when there is food in there. Here you see an elephant getting a bag with bread out of a car and a bit later he ate the entire thing. With plastic bag and all. Such a shame…

Also at the reception they pass by regularly. Maybe to check the internet as well? They do get a better reception that case, since they don’t hang out as long as we sometimes did. One time I was so into what I was doing that I didn’t notice the huge elephant right next to me.

Mana is famous for its ‘standing elephants’. We found different eli’s who were able to stand on two legs to reach branches and leafs high up the tree. Boswell is one of them. He has beautiful long tusks and a very short tale, so it’s hard to miss him. We had a close encounter as you can see, which was totally amazing.

Jens’s favourite animals however are not elephants, but wild dogs, so we went on a daily quest to find them and every once in a while we were lucky. Sometimes we even found them right in front of us on the road. Sometimes alone, but mostly with a bunch of other people. A few times so many, that we decided to leave and look for something else. That was another thing, this year Mana seemed busier than last years.

But busy or not, wild dogs are fun to watch. They’re always playful and interactive. Whether they are hunting, eating, drinking, playing around or chasing vultures and hyenas away.

When we couldn’t find wild dogs or other action, we went down to one of the pools, since there are always things going on right there. A croc with a dragon fly on his head, hippos in the sunset, storks fishing from their backs, marabous trying to get the last fish, etc.

One of the alternative action to wild dogs, are lions. This time there were two little groups of lions around frequently. Two younger males made it their speciality to go after elephant babies. No idea why, but more than once they were successful in any case. Pretty sad to see, but hey, that is nature. Broke my heart a little bit though.

Next to all the game drives and animal action, we also enjoyed the beautiful surroundings. Our camp spot, all at the end of Nyamepi, the gorgeous sunsets, having a sundowner. Every once in a while we were invited by friends to their camp for having breakfast or staying the night at a beautiful deck to sleep under the stars. No complaining there!

A bit complaining when it comes to baboons. I always liked them. They are so ‘human’. Unfortunately we learned the hard way they can be a true pain in the ass. One afternoon we went for a drink a few camp spots further up the river. When we returned the bastards got into our tent. They are able to open the zippers and apparently they are as curious as humans, since there was nothing smelly in there (besides maybe Jens’s socks). Very frustrating though since most of our drinks were stored in the tent and they opened almost everything. They simply bit through the cans and obviously spilled a lot. So our brand new bedroll was full of milk, beer, juice, tonics, etc. A stinky and sticky mess! Oh and did I mention the baboons shit on top of it?

No afternoon drive, but a serious cleaning session instead. Little bastards! The smell never really went out of the tent. Luckily I got some lavender oil from Tess, to make it a little less smelly. Baboons all of a sudden were a lot less funny and cute to see…

Before we knew it, my time was up. Tess didn’t only provide me with lavender oil, but also with a flight out of Mana. A little sad, since I wish I could have stayed longer. The bush truly does something to people…

Jens was also a little sad, although he won’t admit that of course. On the other hand, it meant even more time for him to spent at waterholes in the heat of the day… or where ever!

Since there is always some action going on, as you can see. Whether it’s dragon flies, birds, guinea fowls, crocodiles going for impala, wild dogs running around a group of eland, antelopes, a lion having a feast on a killed kudu or a successful croc and the end of a baboon. I hope it was the one messing up our tent…

7 thoughts on “Zimbabwe, Mana Pools, Oct. 2018

  1. Trevor and Essie

    Lovely read you guys and my sentiments exactly on the baboons,they really are a pain in the butt as you said.I just never get enough of MANA.After you left I had the pleasure of the whole of Nyamepi camp site to myself for my last 3 nights there,felt rather eerie at night being the only one but also quite privileged for this.look forward to seeing you guys there some time.

  2. Shane

    Cool pix, please send me the one with the cruiser table out loaded with firewood for Nic, just by whatsapp

  3. Carol Schumacher

    Amazing stories and photos. After three trips to Zimbabwe, I am finally taking photography classes. Prepping for trip four! Elephants are my favorite.

  4. Peter Angvarson

    I really enjoyed to see your fantastic images and to read about Mana Pools. Especially the wild dogs images are very good!
    It was also fun to see your image showing Hendri, me and Patrik on the ground trying to photograph hippos.

Leave a Reply