Mana Pools – Part One can be found here

While we were at Mana Pools we took a morning walk with a local guide and this is highly recommended. He took us to a number of spots that we probably would not have found on our own and his knowledge of the bushveld and the residents of the area in ancient times added an enjoyable dimension to the walk. One of the spots we visited was an age-old hollow baobab tree which had a hole in the trunk that provided access to a large “room” inside. Near the baobab remnants of clay pots and flintstones were evidence of long-gone inhabitants of the area. Perhaps they had found refuge in this ancient baobab on stormy nights?


Leaving the baobab, we followed the sounds of buffalo calling loudly and soon came upon a large herd grazing in a small clearing. They were very alert, and we kept respectfully quiet as we made our way past them.

A little later we reached a spot on the Mana River which provided us with a clear highlight of our stay. Creeping through the bush to gain a view of the river, we were treated to an astounding gathering of waterbirds, and an equally astounding gathering of crocodiles.

There was obviously a large school of fish that had been cornered at this point in the river and the crocodiles and the birds had gathered in numbers to feed. Great Egrets, Yellow-billed Storks, Black-headed Herons, and African Spoonbills were all present in profusion, but it was the congregation of crocodiles that we found most amazing. It wouldn’t be reasonable to guess the number that were present in this relatively small patch, but at times they were packed together tightly enough to form a floating bridge across the river.


On a drive during the late afternoon we were lucky to find a Side-striped Jackal lying in the sun. We have not come across these jackals very often and it took us a few moments to register what we were looking at. Unfortunately once we stopped the car he/she took off and disappeared very quickly.

Besides the animals and the birds, the trees in the park are simply remarkable. The forests of ebonies, mahoganies, figs, and baobabs make a pleasant change from the drier areas further south.  

Mana Pools – we will be back!

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