National Parks in Zimbabwe (World Heritage)

By | December 15, 2022

According to clothesbliss, the World Heritage Mana Pools with the two protected areas Sapi and Chewore is located in the border region of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique and covers about 7000 km². The large landscape is located in the floodplain of the Zambezi. The mana pools consist of four pools on the banks of the river, which are filled with water even when it is dry and therefore form a paradise for animals. Large mammals such as buffalo, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, zebras and hippos as well as white and black rhinos live here. In addition, the area offers habitat for over 400 species of birds.

National parks in Zimbabwe: facts

Official title: Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari
Natural monument: Mana Pools National Park has existed since 1963, Chewore and Sapi safari areas have existed since 1964; Area of ​​6766 km², of which the National Park Mana Pools with an area of ​​2196 km² and Chewore with 3390 km²; Heights up to 1244 m; Area includes large parts of the Zambezi cliffs, in the Chewore area the 30 km long Mupata Gorge
Continent: Africa
Country: Zimbabwe
Location: in the Zambezi Valley, northeast of Lake Kariba, on the border with Zambia, northwest of Harare
Appointment: 1984
Meaning: a remarkable abundance of wildlife
Flora and fauna: Typical vegetation of the African dry forests with miombo and mopane trees predominates, but also Acacia albida directly on the Zambezi, as well as natal mahogany and meliaceae occurring in the secondary forest; Concentration of mammals in the Zambezi floodplains during the dry season, including African elephant, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, warthog and bush pig, black rhinoceros, greater kudu, saber antelope and waterbuck; more than 450 species of birds such as short-toed eagles and the curly swallow species Glareola michalis; Fish species such as tiger fish, Congo pike, lung fish and the carp tetras, the Distichodus mossambicus

A paradise in danger

Many national parks and animal reserves combine pristine nature with man-made amenities. Often this connection is what makes it so special, because you don’t have to do without the habits of everyday life and still be able to observe the awe-inspiring wild animals of Africa from a protected and luxurious environment. Those who visit Mana Pools linger in an animal paradise that is becoming an increasingly popular “insider tip” for those who are looking for a pristine Africa, but who are basically looking for “tamed nature”.

Elephant calf in Mana Pools National Park

The Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe covers 6,766 km² with the neighboring safari areas Sapi and Chewore. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO to protect around 400 species of birds and numerous wild animals.

At the Mana Pools millions of years ago the Zambezi, one of the great rivers of Africa, left behind an “old Zambezi” by changing direction slightly to the north, a series of dead arms with elongated small lakes, on which the most important “protagonists of Africa” ​​meet every day. gather. Elephants, lions, buffalo and zebras are particularly common on the flooded river terraces.

Lions in Mana Pools National Park

The flooded river terraces of tributaries of the Zambezi in the Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe are home to lions, elephants, buffalo and zebras.

Nowhere in the world was there such a concentration of black rhinos until the early 1990s. It also repeatedly attracted poachers, so that, despite intensive monitoring, conservationists today basically have nothing to protect: The rare black rhinoceros seems to have died out in this area, even if the opposite is repeatedly claimed in current documentaries. In the river arms, in which tiger and lungfish cavort, one can still observe many sedate-looking hippos and dangerous Nile crocodiles. On a relatively small area not populated by humans, the animals find sufficient food and water all year round on their migrations between the river and the mopane forests of the Zambezi Valley up to the steep slopes at the transition to the high plateau.

Unlike in other national parks in the country, excursions on foot are also allowed in Mana Pools. In view of the leopards and lions in the park, this is more of a notion that takes a lot of getting used to. And the camps and lodges can also be reached by canoe, from where you can watch magnificent natural spectacles.

Zambezi River in Mana Pools National Park

The area of ​​the Mana Pools was created millions of years ago by a change in direction of the Zambezi River, which left behind a series of dead arms with elongated small lakes.

The Kariba dam has been regulating the current upstream since 1958. Before that, there had been floods twice a year. Today the “pools” usually have water all year round, but they are only really full in the rainy season. The dam also holds back the seeds of trees and plants that were previously dispersed with the floods of the Zambezi and contributed to the renewal and expansion of vegetation. Perhaps this is an ecological catastrophe in the long run. In the early 1980s, the plan to damming the Zambezi about 90 kilometers downstream at the Mupata Gorge for electricity generation raised concerns about a further ecological threat. Realizing this plan would have destroyed the river terraces and their forests; the elephants, zebras and greater kudu should have migrated to other areas, where they should have shared the living space with the people who settled there. Fortunately, the plan was not pursued any further, as those responsible came to the conclusion that the ecological damage – and the disadvantages for tourism – would have been greater than the benefits of generating energy.

Another ecological danger has not yet been averted, however: intensive soil investigations have been carried out on site for years because larger oil deposits are suspected. Promises to carry out such investigations from an ecological point of view only seem reassuring at first glance. It is still not easy to balance the interests of the people around Mana Pools with the preservation of flora and fauna. Because the residents of the national park are also wondering whether the increasing number of tourists who visit Mana Pools really benefit them, or whether this also causes ecological damage with previously unforeseeable consequences. As a ray of hope with regard to the special protection of Mana Pools, one can rate the fact that on January 3, 2013 the so-called Ramsar area has been declared, d. H. to the wetlands of international importance protected according to the Ramsar Convention concluded in 1971.

National Parks in Zimbabwe