Spoil your­self at Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - OUT & ABOUT - Grace Kaera­sora

WHEN one thinks of a Zim­bab­wean sa­fari, one thinks of rich phys­i­cal beauty, dense wildlife pop­u­la­tions, the most ethe­real views and the mag­nif­i­cent bush all around.

The chance to be up close with lions, ele­phants and buf­faloes is the dream of any na­ture lover.

The mod­ern sa­fari is in­com­plete with­out the touches of lux­ury right in the mid­dle of nowhere: fine china un­der the stars, cock­tails be­neath tow­er­ing um­brella shaped trees, crisp linen in a tented camp.

Many sa­fari lodges in Zim­babwe pro­vide all this, but the re­cently opened Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge, sit­u­ated in the heart of Mana Pools Na­tional Park, of­fers more.

This is the first per­ma­nent sa­fari lodge in the park, and at any given time - at break­fast, lunch or din­ner - one can be paid a visit by ele­phants and other wild an­i­mals right there at the fa­cil­ity.

Mana Pools Na­tional Park is home to four of the Big Five (only the rhino can­not be found here), and the new sa­fari lodge of­fers seren­ity and a wel­come break from the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life.

So thick are an­i­mal pop­u­la­tions at Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge that un­der no cir­cum­stances are guests al­lowed to leave their rooms with­out a pro­fes­sional es­cort at night.

And since the own­ers of the lodge have de­lib­er­ately en­sured there is no telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion at the place, it sim­ply means bed time is bed time.

There is noth­ing as ex­hil­a­rat­ing as ly­ing in your beau­ti­fully fur­nished room, tent flaps closed, and lis­ten­ing to the sounds of ele­phants and hip­pos on the other side of the wall.

Eco-tourism is the buzz­word here, and Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge is pow­ered by a so­lar sys­tem which pro­vides re­frig­er­a­tion and all light­ing and hot wa­ter.

This is a re­lax­ing cut-off be­tween sa­fari and com­fort.

The ar­chi­tec­ture — all rich wood and iron is de­vel­oped around var­i­ous trees one of which is a gi­ant Mango-Cordyla Africana present in the main dining and lounge ar­eas.

All of the lodge’s 12 chalets fea­ture a lux­u­ri­ous bath­room en-suite each with free stand­ing shower, dual hand basins, and nes­tle close to the park’s east­ern bound­ary on Rukomeshi River.

The lodge it­self over­looks the lower Zam­bezi River from which pic­turesque sun­sets and sun­rises can be viewed all com­ple­mented by game drives and sun­downer river cruises.

Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge is owned by an af­fa­ble Ital­ian vet who sim­ply wants to be called Fran­cisco, who hav­ing come from a steel and con­crete coun­try says Zim­babwe’s boun­ti­ful na­ture in­spires him.

“I did the de­sign­ing and the con­struc­tion and I did not want to touch any­thing. Gum tree wood was used for the lodge. I started five years ago and just re­cently fin­ished.

“Part of the money that I will get for the lodge will be used for the con­ser­va­tion of the park, I do not want to come here and take ad­van­tage. I feel that even if I am not ob­li­gated to, I want to do some­thing with this place, it is unique.”

Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge is com­mit­ted to con­ser­va­tion of flora and fauna within the na­tional park and is spear­head­ing an anti-poach­ing ini­tia­tive par­tially funded by the Sino-Zim Wildlife Foun­da­tion.

They have do­nated boats, a he­li­copter, a drone and a mi­cro-light plane to the Zim­babwe Na­tional Parks Author­ity for aerial sur­veil­lance and quick de­ploy­ment against poach­ers and other en­vi­ron­men­tal risks.

Mana Pools Sa­fari Lodge

Ad­ven­tur­ous ex­pe­ri­ence at Mana Pools

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