Mana Pools & matusadona
7 – 17 October 2021
A 10 day photographic tour of Zimbabwe’s magnificent Zambezi Valley.
Experience the ultimate safari
Have you ever been on safari? Do you think you have seen it all? Think again!
Mana Pools is the destination where you will experience the ultimate safari. You will never have been closer to the animals, never been more one with Nature.
From elephants hanging round your tent, to wild dogs catching their prey right in front of your eyes… and all this on foot! This is every photographer’s dream. Being able to approach the animals and take up a low viewpoint. Position yourself wherever you want to take the best pictures…
And we haven’t even mentioned the magical light. During the dry season, Mana Pools is one of the richest natural areas of Zimbabwe. Elephants, lions, leopards, painted dogs, hyenas and cheetahs, hippos and an incredible variety of birds.
Mana Pools: a magical place
Everyone talks about the Mana Magic. But what does it mean? First of all, there is the Acacia Albida forest, harboring a mystical atmosphere. The dust and the light create a blue hue in between the trees, which feels quite unearthly. Add to that the warm sun rays which bathe the forest in a golden light, then you’ll know what they are talking about when they mention Mana Magic.
The large mahogany and fig trees are very impressive too.
The Zambezi escarpment on the Zambian side, across the Zambezi river, forms a beautiful backdrop with often a blue haze as well. The park has been declared by the UN as a World Heritage site.
Unprecedented photographic opportunities
The fact that you can get out of the car makes Mana Pools special for photographers! You step closer towards the animals, you can take lower positions by lying on your stomach or you can follow tracks leading to hunting wild dogs. Say goodbye to the bird’s eye view perspective that you get when taking photographs from the jeep.
What makes this photography trip to Mana Pools National Park so special?
- We travel with a small group of up to 6 participants.
- The journey is all about photography, and the experience of being one with nature.
- We receive guidance from Carole, a professional wildlife photographer and Stretch Ferreira, a Zimbabwean top guide.
- We experience the park in the unique setting of a comfortable camp in the wild.
- We spend 7 days in Mana Pools, the only wildlife park in Africa where you can walk responsibly among lions and elephants.
- This is the best place to photograph wild dogs or painted wolves. Sometimes you’re even able to walk with them while they hunt!
- Our second location is Matusadona National Park, on the shore of Lake Kariba
Get to know your Tour Guide
Carole Deschuymere traveled to Mana Pools nine times already, from the start of her career as a wildlife photographer:
There is a kind of magic in the air here. I’ve never felt as alive as in Mana Pools. You must have experienced it to understand …
She will help you in any way she can to make sure you go home with the most amazing wildlife photographs. She will also give lessons in how to process your pictures in Lightroom and Photoshop.
Carole and Stretch form a team to provide you with the very best photography experience.
Stretch Ferreira is a professional safari guide who has over 35 years of experience, and a reputation as one of the finest guides in Africa. Described as a ‘living legend’, Stretch has been guiding walking safaris in Mana Pools for most of his life, and has a special affinity with the animals in the area. Stretch’s priority is first and foremost the safety of his guests. With his decades of experience, he is able to judge how close he can bring them to watch the animals of Mana Pools. Each and every day is different, and each animal is different, and the utmost care and respect are always shown to the wildlife on his walks. Stretch is described as the ‘elephant whisperer’ and has personally named many of the bulls of Mana Pools. However, please not that it is not a given that all guests will be able to get an up close and personal encounter.
Is this photography tour to Mana Pools something for you?
If you are into photography, you will have the time of your life. Mana Pools is every photographer’s dream. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced photographer, that does not matter for this trip. Carole will help you according to your level of photography.
If you are not into photography, you will also have the time of your life! You will be immersed in the bush, walk with elephants, sit with lions and wild dogs… Every day we come across new things. So don’t think this trip is not for you. Mana Pools is all about the experience of being one with nature. Away from city life, back to the roots. You will love it!
Come and experience the Mana Magic yourself.
Our Camp at Stretch Safaris
The camp is situated in a shaded grove on the banks of the Zambezi River with 7 tents in East African Style. You will feel like you are in the movie “Out of Africa”. Although the camp is luxurious, it blends seamlessly into the bush.
There is a large campfire area to enjoy bush stories while having Sundowners, as well as witness Stretch himself braai under the stars. We also have a covered public lounge area with views on the Zambezi River and an al-fresco dining room.
Camps are open to nature and have no boundaries so be prepared to share your space with a host of wildlife, which call the riverbanks home. Do not be scared when an elephant comes along to take a look …
We only cater for a maximum of 12 guests at a time, so there is more than enough space and privacy for everyone.
The tents are furnished with twin beds or double beds, with comfortable mattresses, high quality linen and mosquito nets to give you a nice home in the bush. Each tent has running water, a flush toilet and a hot outdoor shower for your maximum comfort. The entire camp has soft river sand to walk on so guests can walk around barefoot, and enjoy the casual atmosphere.
changa safari camp
Changa Safari Camp is a unique 5 star tented camp on the edge of Lake Kariba within the Matusadona National Park. It has great food and beautiful views right from camp. The lake is a superb place to watch the sunset, with the Matusadona Mountains in the background making for an excellent photo opportunity
The international flight is not included in the price, but we can recommend which flight to book that best meets up with the trip, and if you like, we can book it for you. If you wish to arrive a day earlier we can arrange a lodge in Harare for you.
Transport from and to Mana Pools is by bus. We drive from Harare to Chirundu, where we take a boat to go into the park.
In Mana Pools we use a safari jeep, which is spacious but which we will leave at regular intervals to go and take photographs on foot.
Climate, clothing and equipment
This time of year can be very hot. Appropriate clothing is recommended.
Sturdy walking shoes are a must, because we will walk a lot in the park. A light pair of trousers is essential because we often sit on the ground or lie down, which is not always so comfortable. Light shirts or tops, and a light sweater for the evenings, or at least a shirt with long sleeves.
Be sure to bring your camera, wide angle and telephoto zoom lens, tripod or monopod with you. A beanbag is always useful when taking pictures at ground level.
More information will follow one month before departure.
You will arrive in Harare on October 7, where our minivan is picking us up to bring us to the lodge for lunch. Armadale boutique lodge is a beautiful lodge in Harare with comfortable, clean rooms. We can relax and rest up before dinner. The next morning, after an enjoyable breakfast, we will leave at first light in our private bus. The drive through Zimbabwe will be quite the adventure. On the drive I will be helping everyone to get their camera gear set up properly, that everyone is ready to start photographing.
In Chirundu we will board a speed boat to bring us to Mana Pools. On the Zambezi we may see our first wildlife! Hippo’s, elephants, crocodiles… We will arrive in camp in the afternoon.
We will be sleeping in the luxury tented camp of Stretch Ferreira Safaris along the Zambezi river for the next 7 nights. The camp is situated in one of the most ideal spots, close to the forest.
We will get up early every morning and after some coffee and a biscuit we will head out to try and find something to photograph in the beautiful morning light. This is when the fun begins! We get out of the vehicle, and head into the landscape on foot to capture the best images. This way we can choose our own point of view, according to the light. Our guide Stretch will take us a little closer to the animals, while keeping at a safe distance.
We will return to the camp for brunch at about 10 – 11 am . Afterwards there will be time to discuss our photographs, and go over Lightroom and Photoshop. At about 4 pm we will head out again in search of new adventures. After sunset we will have a few sundowners around the camp fire while the cook prepares our evening meal.
On October 15 we will drive to the airstrip after a morning game drive. From there we will board the small plane and fly to Matusadona. The safari vehicle from Changa camp will pick us up and bring us to the lodge. This is where we will sleep for the next 2 nights. The guides know the area well and will make the most of every game drive. We will also be going on the water by boat to get the sunset on the lake. This will give us completely different images from what we have seen in Mana Pools.
On October 17, after a short game drive and breakfast, we will travel across the lake to Kariba town, where the bus will meet us to drive back to Harare for our evening flight. If you wish you can add another night in a lodge in Harare, before flying home.
- specialized local guide
- guiding by a professional photographer
- all transport in Zimbabwe
- all nights
- all meals
- all excursions and entrance tickets for parks
- all drinking water
- local alcoholic beverages and soft drinks
- travel insurance and cancellation insurance
- health insurance
- personal expenses
- visa fees (if applicable)
- international flights and airport taxes
- tips for guide and camp staff
- non local alcoholic beverages
Ben je op zoek naar een reis met veel avontuur, een geweldige fotograaf als reisbegeleiding, iemand die tijd neemt om je fotografie naar een hoger niveau te tillen, je houdt van eten aan het kampvuur, heel de dag plezier beleven en dit met iemand die Afrika door en door kent, dan is er maar één adres : “ Wildlife Photography & Safari by Carole Deschuymere”.
Wij zijn alvast met mooie plaatjes naar huis gekomen en vonden de ganse reis op alle gebied TOP.
Onze reis naar Botswana in 2020 is ondertussen reeds lang geboekt.
Africa, The time of my life, die al heel lang op het lijstje stond, en wat voor één. Het was emotioneel en tegelijkertijd thuiskomen.
Ik had mijn oog laten vallen op Mana Pools met die mooie bomenlandschappen en blauwe fog telkens die je foto’s afmaken. De zwoele sundowners tussen en met de dieren. The big five en zoveel meer.
“Het is je geluksreis, je krijgt het allemaal!” herhaalde Carole telkens.
Heel goede safari begeleiding en zeker niet te vergeten super goede fotobegeleiding. Voor wie vragen had, niks was Carole teveel om zich met jou eventueel persoonlijk de uitleg te doen.
After having spent time with Carole on a couple of African photographic trips, my photography has improved 500%.
She has taught me all I now know about photography. Always explains everything very well.
I would 100% recommend going on one of Carole’s African adventures.