On a recent safari in Zimbabwe I took a short flight from Victoria Falls (You can also fly from Hwange) to the Zambezi Valley and Mana Pools National Park, where the waters of the mighty Zambezi River make their way east from Lake Kariba to Lake Cahora Bassa before diving Southeast into Mozambique and the Indian Ocean. As our plane banked for a turn over the river I found it exhilarating to be seeing Zambia out the left window and Zimbabwe out the right.
Ruckomechi Camp is in a private concession owned by Wilderness Safaris within the greater Mana Pools National Park and was one of my favorite places to have visited during my 3 week journey. The area is vast with lots of areas to explore and the camp is situated right next to the river which gives you a wide diversity of activities, from game walks and drives to canoeing and tiger fishing. To top it off it has arguably the best sunsets in Africa. The sun slowly drops over the Zambezi escarpment and leaves the entire river and bush basked in a magical orange glow, and if your guide is smart they’ll have a nice chilled glass of sauvignon blanc waiting ready for you to sip while you take in the moment. While there are no giraffe or rhino and cheetah are quite rare, this area offers excellent opportunities for spotting leopard, lion and wild dog along with a whole host of grazers such as elephant, hippo, impala, waterbuck, kudu and zebra.
Best time to visit is in the dry season, the general trend for all safaris in Southern Africa, from May - October with the absolute best game viewing being around August - October. At other times in the year the wildlife is generally dispersed in the upper valley escarpment until the standing water and creeks dry up which force them to start approaching the river. This doesn’t start to occur until April which is when Ruckomechi Camp opens. Some say October is the absolute best for wildlife concentrations, but it can be sweltering hot in the Zambezi Valley at that time.
If you like fishing you’ve got to try a morning of Tiger fishing. They offer a fierce fight and look even fiercer when you take them out of the water and see their rows of sharp pointy teeth. The best fishing is from August – November when the water temperatures are warmer and they are more active.
Want to visit Mana Pools? Check out our safaris in Zimbabwe
Check out more from my recent safari in Southern Africa:
keeping it wild,
Wildland Adventure's Africa Program Director