As part of my road trip around Zimbabwe, I visited Mana Pools National Park. It is located about 390km from Harare, and is one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. It’s not the most accessible park, however, with it being virtually inaccessible during the rainy season, and only accessible by a chartered flight, 4×4 or a high clearance vehicle during the dry season. A trip to Mana Pools is an opportunity to connect with nature, and “switch off”. There is no mobile signal, and wifi is only accessible at the National Parks’ Main Camp office, unless you’re staying at private camp. A trip to Mana Pools is truly an experience of a lifetime, but can Zimbabweans afford to visit?
Is it affordable?
The biggest misconception we have about advertised prices is that they apply to all travellers. The reality is, there are many great specials Zimbabweans and SADC residents can enjoy. As locals, we benefit from lower park fees and accommodation rates, and so we can also enjoy the beautiful facilities these places have to offer. We need to understand that travel is best enjoyed when planned and budgeted for, especially if you have a family. Give yourself a four-month plan, and save towards your trip. Paying down a deposit can ensure you secure your place while you pay off the balance.
Where can I stay?
There are quite a few accommodation options in Mana Pools, with camping being the cheapest option. National Parks also offers affordable lodges and tented camps. But you need to book really early, as they tend to be booked out in advance. You can also go camping, and I know that’s not some people’s idea of relaxation, but it’s certainly the closest you’ll get to the wildlife! Thingu.com is growing it’s options for you to find accommodation so be sure to visit http://bit.ly/2Li7c74 to see what options are available to you at Mana Pools.
It seems that the thrust for places like Mana Pools is exclusivity, and yes, it can only take 50 vehicles a day. But the price certainly makes it accessible, so book early! Zimbabwe has so many beautiful places for us to visit, and so we should make it a point to plan our holidays around our local destinations. After all, it’s our country! Let’s explore it.
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