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Mana Pools National Park Zimbabwe
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About

#2 of 19 Specialty lodging in Mana Pools National Park
Location
4.9
Cleanliness
4.8
Service
4.8
Value
4.8
Bushlife Safaris is owner run and managed by Nick and Desiree Murray, who have created an award-winning portfolio of safari experiences for you. These include the luxurious Vundu Camp built on the banks of the Zambezi River, Little Vundu – an intimate camp, the Ruwesi Canoe Trail which is ideal for adventurous travellers and lastly a tented camp set in the wild Chitake Springs area. The globally-acclaimed BBC Dynasties Painted Wolf episode was filmed at Vundu Camp in Mana Pools, and Nick was the lead guide for the production crew, working alongside Sir David Attenborough. In 2019 Vundu Camp won Best Walking Safari and Best Value Safari Property in Zimbabwe from The Safari Awards.
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Property amenities
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Canoeing
Fishing
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Free airport transportation
Airport transportation
Laundry service
Breakfast available
Breakfast buffet
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Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
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HOTEL STYLE
River View
Great View

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Mana Pools National Park Zimbabwe
122Reviews5Q+A24Room tips
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John F wrote a review Sep 17
Charlotte, North Carolina27 contributions7 helpful votes
We have just completed a multi- stay safari in Zimbabwe, and we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing Little Vundu Camp at Mana Pools. Our guide for four days (Doug) was absolutely superb! We did several long walks where Doug took time to show us many fabulous “small” things, and many impressive birds. We also saw Wild Dog on a hunt, many elephants, and caught some TIGERFISH. Nick and Desiree were warm and welcoming hosts. We met some of the other guides as well- the standards for licensure in Zimbabwe are the highest in Africa and it showed. Overall experience was one of the very best we’ be had.
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Date of stay: September 2022Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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MoreTravelNowPlease wrote a review Aug 2022
Portland, Oregon13 contributions39 helpful votes
We stayed at Little Vundu, which is the smaller, more intimate camp. But Vundu and Little Vundu share the same thing, which is their top-level guides. This is the priority for any place I stay on safari, because with elite guides you get unique wildlife experiences. And experiences go beyond sightings. They mean elephant approaches on foot, sitting with painted dogs, tracking lions on foot, canoeing down the Zambezi, etc. (Of course, you do these things only if you choose to. But another advantage of having top guides is they are intensely trained to do these activities safely.) Nick Murray owns Vundu, and he's the lead guide. He also makes sure all the others are the highest level. Also, the Vundu Camps base their schedule around the guests and the animals. If you want to stay with a sighting, you stay with a sighting. Some camps tell you it's time to go for lunch or dinner. Hmmm. I can eat any time. How often do I get to sit on the ground near painted dogs?
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Date of stay: June 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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DCMIT1 wrote a review Aug 2022
Higham, United Kingdom775 contributions209 helpful votes
+1
Call out to Sophie & Antony (Ant'), the camp managers, who were very hospitable and made us feel welcome and engaged, joining us for dinner with our guide and genuinely showing an interest in their guests with some friendly discussion and banter. They are a young couple, 23 & 25 respectively I believe, and whilst I understand this is the first camp they have managed, they came across as nothing but experienced and professional. Similarly, Siraaj our guide was clearly an expert at what he does; professional and competent in every regard - tracking, guiding, sharing his knowledge, client engagement/ customer service and not forgetting his home-made chutney's that gave a kick to every meal! Vundu is a nice camp, the rooms are comfortable but it is let down by the food which falls short by comparison with other camps of a similar standard. In fact, I would go as far as to say the food was disappointing with evening meals very much at the low end of expectations, i.e. chicken, rice, vegetables and a bland gravy one evening Game viewing was good; we went to see the Wild Dogs and Siraaj delivered on this, but I sense Vundu is still living off the Dynasties legacy. Where once there was a pack of ~24 dogs, the pack we experienced was only 9. By comparison, South Luangwa National Park, that we visited following Vundu, has 3 packs with the largest currently 21 (but receives far less recognition that Mana Pools). Whilst it was great viewing the dogs, and we enjoyed around 4 hours of game walking to try and find them in one of their two dens, the involvement of a film crew throughout our 3-night stay wasn't great! It meant that the camp was overly busy with 26 guests at the table for dinner on our third evening and there was cause for complaint by two other guests in our vehicle, following an incident earlier that day where the helicopter looking to film a final `kill' scene for their documentary circled above us creating a whirlwind of dust and noise around us. Having a film crew in the camp should have been a novelty but after a couple of days the activity, noise and number of people became a bit of an annoyance. The camp should have warned us about this before we visited, not that we could have done much - very inconsiderate for other guests. On our first day we only briefly encountered 1 Dog out hunting and nothing else for the remainder of the day, even after several hours tracking on foot. On the second day, we encountered 9 Dogs resting on the road and it was a very special moment to get out of the vehicle and photo from ground level, as they calmly sauntered past undisturbed by our presence. The walking safari option is a real bonus as you are genuinely out tracking all manner of game acknowledging that might include predators; very exciting indeed, if not a little nervous to start with, but we were in really good hands with Siraaj. There's lots of other general game but we only saw one collared Lion, which was a shame. This was largely due to the fact that spotting the Wild Dogs appears to take precedence over anything else and it clearly remains the overarching reason why people visit Mana Pools. Having now visited the Park, and whilst it is beautiful, I think there are now other places that are more accessible with bigger pack of Wild Dogs, and I certainly think the Dynasties legacy has run its course. My wife and I had a great stay, saw what we came to see, enjoyed the camp and warm hospitality offered by Sophie and Ant, very much appreciated Siraaj skills and the sightings, but the food was really underwhelming and the addition of an unannounced film crew was nothing more than a distraction after the initial novelty. We might return in future but Zambia/ South Luangwa National Park offered a better all-round experience and also has a n umber of packs of Wild Dogs if that’s what people are looking to see as a priority.
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Date of stay: July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Nick Murray, Owner at Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris
Responded Aug 10, 2022
So glad you enjoyed the staff in camp , shall definitely follow up with them on the food issue - that is normally something people comment positively about .Will also let the film crew know about the helicopter - no need to hover so low, enough to disturb the game viewers when you have camera equipment like they do .On the wild dogs , Mana Pools has six packs of dogs , but not all of them live in the area along the Zambezi . The collared lion would be dead now without that collar as he ventures into the hunting area on a regular basis , as do many of our collared elephants , part of our conservation effort .Its unfortunate that you only saw one lion during your stay but there are in fact over 100 lions in Mana , I shall follow this up also with your guide so we can offer our guests an all round enjoyable stay . Thank you for your comments .
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Trotter747 wrote a review Aug 2022
United Kingdom49 contributions28 helpful votes
Something about this camp just made us fall in love with it, certainly left us with loads of memories. Nothing overdone. Tents are simple, very spacious, all the needs one wants on safari, with piping hot water with a lovely view of the river while one showers. Loved watching the various animals that visits the waterhole at the back of the tents. Reminded us of how true African safaris should be, with spectacular sunrises over the Zambezi River. We enjoyed the food and all the staff are very friendly. The game was playing hide and seek when we were there, but we enjoyed our walking safari’s with David and Nick. Both guides have a wealth of guiding experience and this was very evident at this camp. Nothing was too much trouble and their objective is to give a first class safari experience. Saw loads of elephant and of course Boswell and the stunning Tusker who really touched our hearts. Our dream is to return and maybe try Little Vundu out.
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Date of stay: July 2022
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Elissa wrote a review Jul 2022
Los Angeles, California515 contributions157 helpful votes
The wildlife viewing was simply AMAZING, the review is solely for the accommodation. I've stayed at tented camps before, but this one slightly missed the mark for me. Whenever we took a shower, the water wouldn't drain. On the last day, the water spilled out of the shower pan, under the barrier from the bathroom to the bedroom, and INTO the bedroom. The entire floor was sopping wet. As there were two of us and I didn't want to make it worse, I took an outdoor shower at nearly 6am. The food was ok-- not the best but not the worst, but portions were really small. When there were buffets, there was simply not enough food made as other reviews also indicate. This was the first time I was in Africa where I was hungry. The camp itself is in a great location and we had some of the best wildlife sightings I've ever had in Africa, but the accommodation was just okay. Nevertheless, I really loved Mana Pools and hope to be back in Zim one day.
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Date of stay: July 2022
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Response from Nick Murray, Owner at Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris
Responded Aug 2, 2022
Hi Elissa - thank you for your comments .We will take what you have said to heart and make sure these concerns are addressed for future guests .Glad to hear that you had some great game viewing .
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
patcal4 wrote a review May 2022
Aiken, South Carolina364 contributions70 helpful votes
+1
Nick and Des Murray once again provided the outstanding Mana Pools and Vundu camp experiences. Tusker, our Bushlife Conservancy mascot was also in outstanding form, and we have the pictures to prove it! What an intelligent and handsome gentle giant that Tusker is! Vundu Camp has a wonderful young couple, Sophie and Anthony (Ant) helping to co-manage the camp. They are a very hospitable young couple, and they work cohesively with guests, staff and guides. The guiding by Nick is always excellent, and we also enjoyed the experience of being in camp with guides Mitch, Siraj, and Dave. They are all absolutely fantastic - great teachers, highly engaged with clients, great conversationalists…I asked every one of them to stick around until we get back again in two years as they are a fantastic group of people and exceptional guides and staff. We were privileged to spend time with owners Nick and Des and were their first campers at their new Little Vundu camp location. This continues to be an outstanding camp experience. The new location and camp layout unimaginably exceed that of the old Little Vundu (which was my number one favorite camp in Africa). The new camp is also directly on the Zambezi River (as is Vundu Camp) and it faces an island that has ongoing wildlife and bird activity. If you want to enjoy sleeping to the sounds of safari at night, this is the place to go! Tusker made it into camp for the first night’s “grand opening” which was an intimate soiree of brilliant camaraderie, service, food, and beverages. Not everyone gets to spend time with Des in camp and we were truly fortunate to be with her. Des makes sure that all logistics, supplies, décor, and staff are pulled together to make these camps a premier safari experience. She also managed all the steps for our Covid testing in camp, as was required for us to go back home to the U.S. The process was flawless, including Admire meeting us at the Harare airport at our departure, and handing us our certified test results. We saw Violet’s wild dog pack three times, once while they rested during the day, and twice as they prepared for their early evening hunt with there pre-hunting rituals. The wild dog experiences in Mana are superior to any experience we have seen wild dogs on safari multiple times in south and east Africa. Nick’s expertise regarding the dogs is incomparable to any guide we have ever worked with. Lots of elephant babies. It was still green and the grass was not as high as Hwange is at this time of year. We walked, took several trips on the pontoon on the river, and did multiple safari drives. We went fishing with Nick a couple of times on the Zambezi and we have the pictures to prove it! Nick always asks what we would like to do and develops the best plan for the day’s safari. Seven days still is not enough time spent at Vundu camps as far as we are concerned; truly incomparable!
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Date of stay: May 2022
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Room Tip: We always get tent number 1 at Vundu and Little Vundu, but each tent location is excellent!
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Marianne L wrote a review May 2022
Northwich, United Kingdom5 contributions2 helpful votes
An amazing location on the bank of the Zambezi, our rooms were very comfortable on par with luxury glamping. Love the outdoor bathroom as well as indoors, to shower oudoors while elephants are busy grazing and munching on tree branches close by was an incredible experience. We love the feeling of being in the middle of the wild far remote from human habitation with monkeys constantly chattering in the trees above and the sounds of hippos in the river. Watching the sunrise and the stunning scene over the Zambezi with the flocks of waterbirds flying over the water while you enjoy your hearty breakfast was a spectacular sight! This signaled the start of their day, just magical! Our Safaris were an amazing a mix of river safaries and bush adventures that have left us with unforgettable memories! We were so amazed with the knowledge of our guide Nick Murray who together with his wife Desiree are passionate and devoted to conservation. It is no surprise that they have earned awards for their lifetime committment. David Attenborough chose to film his documentary here with Nick and Desiree about the endangered Painted Dogs which speaks for itself. The meals were first class, all cooked in a small bush kitchen.Their hospitality was warm and generous it was a priviledge to have spent this special time with them and their family. We were sad to leave, they have given us the experience of a lifetime!
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Date of stay: April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Helen M wrote a review May 2022
Cookham, United Kingdom11 contributions4 helpful votes
+1
This is a seriously special place. Don’t hesitate to come here! We stayed in some truly fabulous places during our trip, but this was the favourite: Our room was spacious and comfortable, going to sleep with the sound of the hippos from the Zambezi. (David Attenborough had previously stayed in it while filming for a documentary on the African Wild Dogs.) We had breakfast with our most wonderful hosts in the shade of some trees by the river, watching the antics of the monkeys, watching us. This place feels that bit more wild than others, yet with comfort and a welcome that is second to none. The family-run lodge also pours its efforts and resources into conservation in the Mana area, so you really get a sense of supporting, rather than disturbing the ecosystem here. We were genuinely sad to leave. (It’s also the first time I’ve seen lions & jackals during a transfer to catch a flight. Seriously cool!)
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Date of stay: April 2022Trip type: Traveled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
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Suzanne L wrote a review Nov 2021
Durban, South Africa78 contributions23 helpful votes
It is so difficult to write a review when everything was fist class. The camps location in amongst the trees on the edge of the Zambezi is perfect. We had the camp to ourselves due to covid travel restrictions. It was an amazing experience. Our guide and host Mitch Riley was one of the most intuitive guides we have ever had and we have been on over a 100 safaris. He can hear the sounds of the bush and know what is going on and drive straight to it, without the need for noisy radios etc: We sat with wild dogs, walked and found lion and leopard and had the most amazing elephant experiences. The wall of Carmine bee eaters nests on the edge of the Zambezi were beautiful. It is only one of two camps out of the hundred we have been that for me i want to try to go back to if I complete my bucket list.
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Date of stay: October 2021
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Leslie S wrote a review Oct 2021
Washington8 contributions1 helpful vote
We could not believe our great fortune to have Nick Murray as our personal guide for 6 days!! Every day was filled with beauty and adventure. Our little group of five journeyed from Washington State to Zambia with open expectations. This is the perfect mindset for any trip. Just be open to what presents itself to you. Zambia gave generously! We saw all we could have imagined, and more, on safari, from sweetness to the realities of how brutal nature can be. From adorable lion cubs to massive herds of stampeding Cape Buffalo and Lions hunting them. It was raw and stunning. Nick is an excellent tour guide and host. He runs a fabulous camp (we stayed in Little Vundu and Chitake Springs) with all the comforts/necessities we need, but without feeling like a tourist attraction. Elephants, hippos, a leopard and other wildlife wandered through camp while we were there. Our accommodations were perfect, clean and comfortable. The staff took care of everything beautifully. The food was fabulous, and we felt like we were eating all the time! Sundowners are really special as there is nothing like enjoying a cocktail with friends and watching the magnificent African sunsets. Nick is a true steward of the land, and river, on which his concession lies. We learned so much from him just by observing his love and respect of the land, wildlife and the amazing Zambezi River. We also learned much about Africa that we had never known. It was very mind expanding and we all appreciated our open discussions about various issues. I think all in our group would agree that we would love to return to Bushlife Safaris, one day. We also recommend it to others. GO!
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Date of stay: September 2021
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LOCATION
ZimbabweMashonaland Central ProvinceMana Pools National Park
NUMBER OF ROOMS
8
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Frequently Asked Questions about Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris
What are some of the property amenities at Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a lounge, and airport transportation.
What food & drink options are available at Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast and a lounge during their stay.
Does Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris have airport transportation?
Yes, Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the river view available here.
Is Vundu Camp - Bushlife Safaris accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific inquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.