Are you planning your post-lockdown travel itinerary? If you’ve decided on the far north of Zimbabwe, Mana Pools is the perfect destination for travellers who appreciate and are seeking a great diversity of bird species. This already bucket-list worthy destination has over 380 recorded bird species, spread across more than three different habitats from woodlands to plateaus and savannah areas.
Mana Pools National Park includes the south bank and islands of the Zambezi River, which forms the border with Zambia. The park is known for its incredible wildlife… and the exquisite river and vast flood plains. It is on every safari-lovers bucket-list as it is remote, it’s teeming with animals, the scenery is exquisite, sunsets breath-taking… need we say more – it really is Africa at its best.
Some of the avifauna you can expect to lay eyes on are Waterbirds along the banks of the Zambezi River, the Southern carmine bee-eaters during April to November, the African skimmer, Pel’s fishing-owl and Lilian’s lovebird among others.
The best time to feast one’s eyes on the abundance of colours and sounds is during the dry season – April to November – when both resident and migratory birds are plentiful. Although birding in Mana Pools is good year-round, the dry season is when local species begin nesting.
Plan your trip to coincide with the best wildlife viewing which is from June to October to make the most out of your time in this beautiful region. At this time animals congregate around water sources and large numbers of elephants and buffalo can be seen more frequently.
The Zambezi River is known to have luxury safari accommodations nestled along its banks and relaxing boat safaris cruising its waters. The river attracts a variety of waders, including:
Common Ringed Plover,
and Bar-tailed Godwit
Plan a walk along the river or take a canoe/boat trip and try to spot the Afrian Skimmer – breeding along the sand banks from May – November. During Spring, Southern Carmine Bee-eaters excavate their nest holes in the river banks.
Other species to keep an eye out for are:
Mottled & Bohm’s Spinetail,
Western Banded Snake-Eagle,
and Collared Pratincole.
Back at your camp, look out for the Purple-banded Sunbird or White-bellied Sunbird before heading out for your drive through the woodland.