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“unbelievable experience”

Ranked #39 of 117 things to do in Zimbabwe
Attraction details
Wellingborough, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“unbelievable experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

We spent 4 days camping on the banks of the Zambezi amoung the hippos, elephants, buffalo, monkeys, baboons, warthogs, zebras and others too many to mention. You take in all you need to survive and once in are free to self drive or walk! around the national park. Our days started as soon as it was light with a drive to see the animals waking and feeding after which we returned to camp for breakfast, our children were able to wander around the camp and get up close and personal with the warthogs and elephants. We took organised canoe rides and a walking safari with a ranger which can be booked on arrival. Unfortunately we did not see the lions but could hear the roars in the night, the hippos are also so loud that you imagine they are directly outside your tent and after dark you see the dark shadows of the hyenas circling the camp. A truly amazing camping experience.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank melnoble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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40 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
94 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“A must to see Mana Pools national Park Zimbabwe”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013

The wilderness of Mana Pools the world Heritage Side on the Zambezi River, between the dry Sapüi nRachomechi Rivers. Drive 84 km from Chirundu. Mana faces a lot of reed Island in the Zambesi, waterbirds brows, , a park with 50 km acrossa wide mopane woodland plain. Practically all of african animal species are there. The Zambesi Valley lies at an altidude of 500m . See the huge herds of all animals, like buffalo, Impala, Lion Leopard,nyala, eland, wild pig, sable, Zebra all you want to see!
The river is rich in bream, vundu, etc.The camps are somekind of expensive but ask bevor you get a surprise. Otherwise just a wonderful worl of nature

Visited March 2013
1 Thank Kimsoomkum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
43 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“True wilderness”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

This place is absolutely unique. Some may hate it for the fact that there is no luxurious accommodation. however, its attraction lies in the fact that it is a real wilderness, with no luxury safari camps or electricity. If you are the kind of person who is happy with such realities, then it is a paradise. It must be one of the wildest places in Africa. There is plenty of game, and lovely scenery to boot, with the majestic Zambezi flowing by, past the Mana floodplain with its grand Acacia Albida trees.
If you are looking for an alternative to the typical grassy plains and opulent safari lodges of private game reserves, then come here to be in the true wilds of Africa, no fences, and walking allowed at your own discretion.

Visited September 2012
Thank zimtraveller263
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Beach, California
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Mana pools with FLEET FOOT SAFARIS”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

We have just arrived home after 2 months in Africa. FLEET FOOT SAFARIS did all our reservations and was responsible to put up our bush camp at Mana pools. We first started our trip on the Kariba for 3 nights in a houseboat and then Mana for a couple of nights. From day one with our meet and gret at Harare Airport for the transfer to Kariba the personnel of FLEET FOOT SAFARIS were efficient and friendly.They were prompt and the transfer of 4 hours went smoothly. Our stay at Caribea Bay hotel was good as we have not expected this to be 4 or 5 Star. The three days on the boat was absolutely wonderful, the food was prepared to perfection and all our drinks were included!. Our day-trip into Matusadona on open game viewing vehicle was professional and we have seen lots of game and not to mention the birdlife!
The transfers from Kariba to Mana on a very corrugated road was made fun by Hennie the Director of FLEET FOOT. The vehicles were not brand new but trustworthy and comfortable. Our bush camp on the banks of the Zambezi and the facilities offered we will never forget. The sunsets with a Gin & Tonic on the river bank with a fire going in the background and Hennie giving orders for another outstanding dinner cooked on open fire, are all fresh in our memories.
This company delivers professional service. In the past(according to Hennie) FLEET FOOT has made use of the local tour operators in Kariba to put up camp at Mana and for transfers, with some very negative results. We have spoken to some other travellers at Victoria Falls who also had many problems with Pesha Safaris in Kariba/Harare who did their transfers. We without any doubt recommended FLEET FOOT SAFARIS.
I already have recommended Hennie Becker and FLEET FOOT SAFARIS to some business partners for a safari towards the end of this year. Well done FLEET FOOT and thank you once again for an unforgettable experience. Ivan Still and family.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Ivan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“April 2013, Lake Kariba and Mana Pools, Zimbabwe with Fleetfoot Safaris”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 17, 2013

April 2013, Lake Kariba and Mana Pools, Zimbabwe with Fleetfoot Safaris

The transfer to from Harare Airport to Lake Kariba was O.K., but the 5 hours it takes is more than most people would like if coming in after a long flight.
Karabaia Hotel near Lake Kariba, as warned, was a bit run down. Water supply in one room needed attention but they tried hard late at night on Easter day. A very poor Brai on arrival, but breakfast was O.K..

The land cruiser used for the sightseeing drive had a faulty fuel system and this terrible vehicle had to bring us also to Mana Pools later that week!
The boat trip was a disappointment. The first evening stop was of little interest and our small boat trip to see the sunset could be done anywhere on the lake. The boat should leave to get to Matusadona [or similar site?] in time for a “game and sunset” small boat trip in the evening.
The program of a game drive from the lodge was potentially good however this was ruined by our boat being in the wrong place and failing to find our pick up point in time to achieve any worthwhile time in the park!
To come all that way with the primary objective to see game and see virtually nothing except Elephant, Impala, Hippo and Crocks whilst driving at speed is NOT what we expected! The following day trip up to Antelope Island was worse still. On checking with Zim friends on return we were told that there has been virtually nothing on the island since 1999!
Also sailing up the middle of Kariba far from land is not what Europeans come to Africa for! Mana Pools:
We drove the long way from Lake Kariba to Mana Pools in a very bad quality 40+ year old safari vehicle from Peter Kulera of Pesha safaris.
This game viewing vehicle was NOT a suitable transport for 8 people plus luggage, food & drinks on a 5 hour drive! And certainly not when it has a faulty fuel system!
For various reasons we arrived at Mana Pools too late for a game drive [unacceptable when we had planned only two evenings]. The game walk was OK, but too short.
We had a Brai as dinner, but there was not enough food
Then our problems really started.
I know it was extremely unlucky that we had the thunder storm but if the equipment had been up to standard we might have got a bit wet but it would not have resulted in the disaster that it turned into. We slept in very bad tents with no waterproof roof. We became soak wet. The roofs were used to protect the food against the animals. We, the beds, our luggage and the food became so wet that we could not stay another night.
Basically the equipment [tents] were not up to standard and were not put up so that the tent corners were at right angles so that when the water pressure came on the roof an upright broke and collapsed. If there had been a “fly sheet” over the top as is normal, the water would not have been lying on the tent structure.
We were disappointed to see Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safaris, to come out of his tent, throw a sheet over the top of his tent, look across at the chaos around the other tents and get straight back into his tent without checking if we were OK. Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safari's, left us very early that morning (with driver Joe) because he had to catch his flight to the next safari. That night he did not pay attention when 2 of the 3 tents collapsed.As an excuse he said that he could not help us because he could not find his contact lenses!!!!
We were left with two broken tents that could not be put up again, soaking wet with NO dry clothes at about 3.00 am.
We did make a game drive in the morning with the guide, but the land cruiser with the fuel fault was so lousy that we had to be towed out of the mud three times by another friendly driver. We could not hold because then the engine stopped.
The guide/driver was a very poor driver indeed. Every time we stopped to look at something the land cruiser stopped and had to be primed [about 15 to 20 times]. Result: we saw virtually nothing.
After a very delayed breakfast we decided that the chances of getting to Harare by 1.00pm the next day [a 8 hour drive] would mean leaving before dawn with a unreliable vehicle and unknown but suspect road conditions. This was too risky so we put into action leaving when packed up. There was also very poor drying, so all our clothes, bedding etc were still very wet and no hope of resurrecting the tents!
We had some problems persuading our guide form Pesha Safaris to take us and he insisted on contacting Peter Kulera director of Pesha Safaris [which turned out to be very difficult] before he would do so. Also he wanted to wait for the other driver Joe. It eventually became essential to leave before Joe got back and we met him two hours later on the road out of the park.Peter tried to make Joe bring us back to his B&B in Kariba for the night, which we refused. We insisted on booking us in a hotel in Makuti, where we arrived after dark and which was satisfactory.
Joe was left with the Land cruiser in Makuti waiting for the other vehicle and with no money for the petrol required to get back to Kariba!
The return to Harare was uneventful, but noticeable by absence of Peter Kulera of Pesha Safaris.

Most disturbing was the use of a totally inappropriate vehicle for transfer from Kariba to Mana Pools, the very lousy tents in Mana Pools and the total lack of attention from Hennie Becker, director of Fleetfoot Safaris.
We never received any apology from either Peter Kulera or Hennie Becker.
I will never recommend Hennie Becker from Fleetfoot Safaris as well as Peter Kulera from Pesha Wildlife Safaris

Visited April 2013
3 Thank Bert D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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