Professional Safari Guide
All Natureways Safaris guides have passed the rigorous examination set by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management and hold either a valid Canoe or Professional Guides’ License. All guides carry a licensed weapon on the River. They have all studied and passed a MARS (Medical Air Rescue Services) first aid course and take a refresher course annually. If any problems should occur during the Safari there are various contact points along the River, these will be covered in safety briefings conducted before and during the Safari. Each guide also carries an ‘Emergency Safety Manual’ with a map and comprehensive instructions of what to do if a situation arises.
Odyssey Safaris have the benefit of a Professional Guide who is able to conduct canoeing safaris as well as walking safaris. Explorer Safaris are lead by a fully qualified Canoe Guide who is usually accompanied by a Learner guide. A learner guide must have at least 1000 hours of canoeing experience just to be able to site the Canoe Guides exam!
About the Safari
Mana Pools Shoreline – Departs Mon/Tues/Fri/Sat April to November
After being collected by your guide you are driven to the first nights camp, a distance of approximately 30km. 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 our support staff and a lunch of cold meats, a variety of salads and freshly baked breads.
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 give a full safety briefing include 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 multitude 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 you arrival so you will be able to sit back and relax with sundowners and snacks – tea and 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 threecourse dinner for you.
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 to breakfast under a grove of acacia trees. After 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 a chance for you to explore 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 coloured 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 then a siesta. Once again you will walk into Chessa, the next fully set up camp, where our staff are 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 favoured 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 we bid you farewell!
As you depart with your memories, we know that this experience will have enriched your life and touched your soul!
Odyssey Safaris do NOT include transfers. Clients are able to charter return flights to Mana Pools National Park to maximise time spent on safari. Commercial flights can be arranged to and from Harare, Kariba, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Lusaka or Livingstone. Please contact us for assistance booking charter flights or transfers.
Alternatively guests may make their own way to Mana Pools by driving. For all canoe safaris, please arrive by 11:30am at the latest to be able to fit an afternoon of canoeing.
Additional nights can be added to any safari - for example, start a safari with a Camp Zambezi so you are well rested, before starting a 3 day Mana Shoreline Canoe Safari, or alternatively end a canoe safari with a Camp Zambezi so that you have an extra day to relax on the shores of the Zambezi. Please contact us with any special requests so that Natureways is able to tailor a safari to your needs.
Generally the Odyssey routine is similar to that of an Explorer Canoe Safari, however, with a few deserved luxuries. You will be awakened early, warm water will be placed in a basin outside your tent, while freshly brewed coffee awaits you on the campfire. All will have the opportunity to have something to eat before setting out on safari. There is the option of going for an early morning walk or game drive before breakfast or, for the avid fisherman, there is time to pull out a rod. Odyssey Safaris are tailored to suite the individual. Camp is set up and taken down by our staff to ensure that guests spend as much time as possible doing safari activities or simply enjoying their surroundings.
Natureways Odyssey Safari Camps have no permanent ablution facilities, however camps are served by the luxury of long drop toilets and, for night-use, all tents have en-suite chemical toilets. Guest can also revel in a luxurious hot shower underneath the star-studded expanse of the African sky.
BACK UP STATUS
All Odyssey Safaris are fully backed up with a Natureways team and 4x4 vehicle. The team will take care of all our guests’ needs and camp chores. During our mobile safaris the camp will be taken down and all equipment and guest luggage will be transferred to the next campsite by vehicle after guests have left for their day’s activity be it canoeing or walking.
All camping equipment is supplied.
Our 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 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 our 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.
All produce is brought in fresh and meals are prepared in camp by one of our famed bush cooks. All breads and pastries are freshly baked on the open campfire. Vegetarian or other dietary preferences can be catered to providing Natureways is advised 14 days prior to the safari. Breakfast may consist of cereals, yoghurt, 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 our friendly camp staff whilst guests relax. We recommend you contact Natureways with any drink preferences i.e. if a particular brand of local beer is preferred. Clients are also free to bring their own beverages, cooler boxes can be set aside for this purpose. There is no limit to the amount of beverages you may bring.
To ensure guests have time to canoe on the first afternoon we advise all guests to arrive in Mana Pools no later than 11:30am, whether flying into the Park or driving. We recommend guests combine their safari with a one night Camp Zambezi allowing guests to arrive whenever they like and ensures everyone is well rested before the canoeing beings the next day.
The wildlife in Zimbabwe's National Parks is hugely abundant and below is a taster of what you might see on these Mobile Canoe Safaris. The full list would be far too numerous and why ruin the surprise? Join us on safari and find out for yourself as every day is different.