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This Mana Shoreline walking safari is a luxurious mobile camp where you leave camp with the sunrise and leisurely walk your way to the next camp. Arriving at the next camp, you will find an ice-cold drink, hot shower, and dinner being prepared. This safari on foot allows you to experience the wonders of nature from the tiniest insect to the mighty elephants that roam the valley.
Natureways Safaris' Odyssey Safaris are true bush camps but offering a little rustic luxury. There is no electricity or plumbing and there are no permanent structures. It is a taste of the way a safari used to be, a truly authentic, African bush experience. Camps are eco-friendly, designed to be erected and dismantled within hours, leaving no trace on the environment.
Natureways Safaris has custom-built tents to guarantee guest comfort. They are spacious walk-in-style tents supplied with en-suite toilet facilities for night-use and comfortable beds with fresh linen. Stationary camp tents are mosquito-proof with mosquito-gauzed rooves so guests can lie in bed and enjoy the night sky.
All the tents have fly sheets to ensure no one gets wet if it does rain. They also provide shade should one want an afternoon sleep.
Odyssey camps are fully-equipped with a mobile kitchen run by an experienced bush cook, bar facilities, and a dining area with full waiter service.
The Mana Shoreline Walking Safaris are for 3 nights starting on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. To be able to walk on the first day, you are required to arrive into Mana no later than 11:30. You may choose to combine this safari with a night at Natureways Safaris' Camp Zambezi to ensure timely arrival.
A fully-licensed armed professional guide, who is permitted to conduct walking safaris, leads each safari. The following information is a generalized itinerary and can change at the guide's discretion due to animal movements and / or river conditions so as to optimize the safari experience.
After being gathered by your guide, you are driven to the first night's camp, a distance of approximately 30 kilometers. This is a leisurely game drive through the spectacular Mana Pools floodplain. The vehicles are open with good all round views. The highest concentrations of wildlife in Zimbabwe are in this area and the drive-through is usually very productive, allowing your guide to give you an overview of the various animals, birds, and plants that make up this unique habitat.
On arrival at Vundu, the first camp, you will be met with the welcome smiles of Natureways Safaris' support staff and a lunch of cold meats, a variety of salads, and freshly baked pieces of bread.
After a refreshing lunch break, you will be taken on a short drive to the start of your walking safari near the confluence of the Ruckomechi and Zambezi rivers where the professional guide gives a full safety briefing including pointing out where all the equipment is kept, such as first aid kits, as well as explaining what to do in the case of an emergency.
This is a slow walk allowing time to become accustomed to the area. You should also start to see some of the multitudes of animals and birds that are attracted to the water's edge. Hippo, buffalo, elephant, and crocodile, as well as a variety of antelope species, may be seen.
Arrival at camp is around sunset. The camp will be prepared for your arrival so you will be able to sit back and relax with sundowners and snacks. Tea, coffee, and hot showers are also available. Invariably, guests will gather to discuss the day's events around the campfire and plan for the morning. In the background, your support staff and resident cook are busy preparing a three-course dinner for you.
There will be an early wake-up just as the dawn breaks. Hot water is placed in raised basins outside each tent, while tea, coffee, muffins, or home-made biscuits are already waiting by the campfire. While everyone gets their personal kit together, the support staff get everything together that will be needed for the day. You need only worry about a small daypack carrying the essentials such as sun block, camera and spare film, hat, and binoculars.
The aim is to be walking in time to watch the sunrise. This is one of the most magical times of the day and you will be enchanted as you drift along quietly, listening to the sounds of the African bush wakening to a new day. Walk for a couple of hours before stopping for breakfast under a grove of acacia trees. After having breakfast, set off on a walk into the floodplains and surrounding woodlands. This is a great time to try and catch some of the predators before they hide up for the day. You may even be lucky enough to spot one or more of the diurnal animals making their way down to the river. This walk offers an opportunity, not only for game viewing, but also for exploring some of the smaller more interesting aspects of the environment.
You will spot a variety of animal spoors and may even find yourselves engrossed in tracking down a particular species. Strange insects and spiders will fascinate you as your guides share a wealth of knowledge about this miniature world that forms such an integral part of the bush. You will listen to the sound of the many brightly-colored birds and marvel at the beauty and tranquility of this unique area.
You can choose to either continue walking or call the backup vehicle to come and collect you. This afternoon consists of a lovely lunch and a siesta. Once again, you will walk into Chessa, the next fully-set-up camp, where the staff is ready to welcome you back.
This follows the same basic itinerary as day two, with a predawn wake-up and sunrise. However, this is the day that you will enter the "wilderness area” of Mana Pools National Park where there is limited access to people and vehicles. From here on, it is a much more remote environment with very few people.
Breakfast may be taken on the Mbera river floodplain which comprises stunning acacia woodland with large patches of thick "adrenaline" grass, a habitat much favored by all the predators. Towards the end of the dry season, it also hosts large groups of female elephants with their babies. This afternoon is as per day two. This night's camp is called Ilala.
Depending on your departure time or if you are moving on to an alternative camp, you may either take another early walk before breakfast or have a lie in. After that, there will be a short game drive to the airstrip or Nyamepi, Mana main camp where you are bid farewell. As you depart with your memories, Natureways Safaris knows that this experience will have enriched your life and touched your soul!
This itinerary is just a guideline and may change due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather conditions.
Walks are dependant on animal and weather conditions at the time and there will be a backup vehicle available if required or if clients do not want to walk the entire distance between camps.
All participants are expected to sign an indemnity form upon arrival in Mana Pools. Failure to do so will result in cancellation of the safari.
Elijah or E.G. as he likes to be called as has been with Natureways Safaris for 5 years and has embarked on his career as a canoe guide with the company. Recognizing his enthusiasm for the bush and wildlife Natureways Safaris is nurturing his passion and assisting him to achieve his goal of one day becoming a professional guide. Until then, E.G. works as the team leader in Mana Pools while trying to achieve his 1,000 hours of canoeing necessary to become a qualified canoe guide.
James is Zimbabwean born and raised. From a very young age, he showed a keen interest in the outdoors, preferring to play with skeletons and birds nests rather than toys. This love of nature was developed at school and upon leaving, he started his safari career in Hwange National Park with Touch the Wild safaris. James joined Natureways in 1991 under the tutelage of Garth Thompson. He attained his canoe license in 1992 and his full professional guide status in early 1993. James has been in Mana Pools for 13 years and countless guests have benefited from his knowledge and passion for the bush.
This safari will take place in Zimbabwe, following the Zambezi River through the Mana Pools National Park.
All produce is brought in fresh and meals are prepared in camp by one of Natureways Safaris' famed bush cooks. All pieces of bread and pastries are freshly baked on the open campfire. Vegetarian or other dietary preferences can be catered to providing Natureways Safaris is advised 14 days prior to the safari.
Breakfast may consist of cereals, yogurt, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, toast, and jams. On the last day of safari, a full English breakfast will be laid on for clients to enjoy. Lunch is usually fresh quiche, lasagne, or similar with a varied selection freshly baked bread, salads, and cheeses. Dinners are full 3-course meals with various starters, delicious main courses, and sumptuous deserts all eaten by candlelight under the stars, accompanied by an imported bottle of wine.
All Odyssey Safaris include a supply of local beers, spirits, imported wines, minerals, cordials, mineral water, tea, and coffee. Drinks are served by your friendly camp staff while you relax. You are recommended to contact Natureways Safaris with any drink preferences i.e. if a particular brand of local beer is preferred. You are also free to bring your own beverages. Cooler boxes can be set aside for this purpose. There is no limit to the number of beverages you may bring.
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