Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas
Mana Pools National Park, Sapi And Chewore Safari Areas
Natural Zimbabwe Africa Urungwe District, Mashonaland North Region

On the banks of the Zambezi, great cliffs overhang the river and the floodplains. The area is home to a remarkable concentration of wild animals, including elephants, buffalo, leopards and cheetahs. An important concentration of Nile crocodiles is also be found in the area

Mana Pools, Sapi and Chewore (which total some 6,766 km2 ) are part of the Miombo woodland/savannah biogeographic realm. They front the lower Zambezi River, and include large areas of the rugged Zambezi escarpment (which rises to over 1,000 m from the valley floor). The area contains the last remaining natural stretch of the Middle Zambezi. The Mana Pools are former channels of the Zambezi. Much of the Chewore is heavily dissected and the Mupata Gorge (some 30 km long) occurs along the northern border of this part of the area. Above the Mupata Gorges the river is broad and sandy, flowing through numerous channels, sandbanks and islands.

Well-grassed Brachystegia communities dominate the mountainous escarpment and higher Chewore areas with small but significant riparian communities along the numerous streams. The valley floor is dominated by mopane woodlands or dry highly deciduous thickets known as Jesse. On the younger sandier alluvial deposits along the Zambezi are well-developed tracts of winterthorn with more diverse woodlands containing Kigelia africana and Trichelia emetica on the higher deposits.

The nominated site has a rich and varied fauna with large mammal populations include threatened animals which concentrate on the flood plains during the dry season when water elsewhere is scarce and when the numerous winterthorn trees shed their protein-rich pods. The fauna includes elephant which number in thousands, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, honey badger, warthog, bushpig, plains zebra, and many antelopes including mixed herds of greater kudu, bushbuck, nyala, eland, waterbuck, sable antelope, grysbok and steenbok.

Nile crocodile are numerous. Birdlife on the river and in the bush is prolific with over 380 species recorded including Nyasa lovebird, yellow-spotted nicator, rock pratincole, banded snake-eagle and Livingstone's flycatcher. Common fish include tigerfish, bream, vundu, nkupi, chessa, cornish jack and lungfish.

There are two further contiguous areas, Dande Safari Area (523 km2 ) established in 1968, and the Urungwe Safari Area (2,870 km2 ) established in 1976. Much of the area had been protected as a non-hunting area since 1930.

The area is of limited agricultural potential. There is virtually no permanent human habitation.