Mana Pools, put simply, is an extraordinary place to visit. The park and safari areas constitute 10 500km² of unfenced wilderness in which animals are free to roam. Four main pools (mana is Shona for four) and a series of smaller seasonal ones lie on the broad floodplains of the great Zambezi River, with its islands, open woodlands, baobabs and ebony and mahogany copses, backed by the Zambezi escarpment.
The best time to visit is during the comparatively mild dry season (April to October), when game gathers in astonishing numbers around the pools, riverbanks and islands. The park is closed at the height of the hot rainy season, when roads are impassable. Mana Pools is a haven for threatened species, with 12 000 elephants, many hippo, the Big Cats and African wild dog. Buffalo and zebra, eland, waterbuck, sable, nyala and impala throng the park, along with monkeys, baboon and warthog. The normally elusive honey badger has become habituated to humans around the camps.