If there’s any way you want to experience the pure nature of one of Africa’s most significant rivers, it would be by canoe, on foot, and in a tent. Sound too rough for you and your crew? Well, the tents we’re talking about are spacious, canvas bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, complete with flushing toilets and hot water showers. The canoeing and walking activities that Mana Pools is so famous for are conducted under the expertise of the industry’s best guides, and the hospitality back at the riverside location is refined. The experience at Zambezi Expeditions Camp retains all the untainted beauty of the natural environment without compromising on comfort.
A location that can’t be beaten in one of the world’s most celebrated national parks, Zambezi Expeditions is exactly what it claims to be. An expedition-style mobile camp, which is set up prior to guests’ arrival and removed once guests have departed, leaving no trace of its existence on the banks of the Zambezi River. Operational from April to November each year, the temporary camp welcomes guests to an unbeatable spot right on the riverbank, overlooking the stretch of water that is home to hippo and crocodile, visited regularly by elephants as well as predators and herbivores of all descriptions. There are only six tents, each set up to look onto the water and wandering wildlife, a mess tent with comfortable and stylish furniture, a long dining table candlelit under the night sky, and an open-air fireplace encircled by chairs inviting convivial fireside chatter.
Each of the six tents accommodate two people each in twin beds, which can be configured to doubles. The setup is simple, yet idyllic. There are comfortable beds beneath a canvas ceiling, flanked by mesh windows with with drop-down canvas screens for privacy or warmth at night. Subtle, colourful details are found in the cushions, bed spreads, and in the in-room bath robes that are uniquely and thoughtfully Zimbabwean. The bed faces the opening of the tent, passed a covered verandah area with comfortable reclining chairs, and onto the Zambezi River ahead. Behind a dividing canvas doorway at the back of the tent, the en suite bathroom includes a flushing toilet, a vanity station with luxury bath products, and a classic safari bucket shower filled with hot water. The layout of these tented rooms is perfect for lazy afternoons spent reading a book in the breeze, allowing the activity from the river or the surrounding riverbank to penetrate the senses of the guests.
The UNESCO celebrated natural beauty of Mana Pools National Park is on full display from Zambezi Expeditions Camp, and it is explored in great detail through the activities offered each day. There are game drives, walking safaris, canoeing and fishing activities arranged for guests to indulge their inner adventurer, creating unbeatable safari experiences that this area is known for. Children over the age of seven are welcome at camp, but only children over the age of 16 are permitted to join walking safaris, as is the typical safari policy. The area immediately surrounding camp can be explored by younger children with a guide who will show them the natural details of Mana’s beauty. The camp is unfenced and is open to wandering wildlife, from elephants, hippos, and the bushveld’s famous predators.
Game drives explore the floodplains, which are crawling with the wildlife Zimbabwe is famously possesses. Sunsets can not be ignored as they bleed through the sky and reflect on the river’s surface, and sometimes the best place to be at this time is on the water itself. Canoeing safaris are serene and calming excursions, cruising through the wealth of Mana Pools surrounded by all that is naturally supposed to be there. What is even greater is that at the end of the day, once the sun has sunk below the horizon, guests at Zambezi Expeditions sit out under the stars, right out in the open campsite, dining on scrumptious and decadent food and breathing in the fresh air before retiring to the casual, yet comfortable canvas bedrooms.