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Mana Pools with Bushlife Safaris

Bushlife Safaris offers a world class wilderness experience in this UNESCO World Heritage site on the Zambezi River. Walk with elephants, canoe with hippos and sleep in unfenced bush camps. A truly spiritual experience with the wild.




Wilderness lovers, adventurers and those wishing to truly connect with nature


Affordable all inclusive packages available



Mana Pools is a unique part of the world. Breathtaking views, unique wildlife experiences and miles away from the every day.

Detailed Overview

Bushlife Safaris is known for their excellent guiding, world class walking safaris and canoeing safaris that offer an experience not to be missed. Owner operators Des and Nick Murray are both qualified guides, between them with over 30 years’ experience in the bush, are widely recognised for offering intimate and unique wildlife experiences for their guests.

Zimbabwe is known for offering some of the best walking safaris in Africa and Bushlife Safaris core passion and focus is to provide you with a unique and personalised experience surrounded by incredible wildlife.

There is a choice of game drives in open sided four-wheel drive vehicles, each with roof to shade guests from the sun, nature walks with a professional guide or a morning/afternoon spent canoeing. The opportunity to spend time on the water canoeing down the Zambezi surrounded by hippos and wildlife is a rare opportunity to experience game viewing from an entirely different viewpoint – a real highlight as it is a unique activity.

The Story

When Nick and Desiree first drove into Mana Pools, Nick remembers saying as they hit the flood plain area, ‘I could live in this place!’ Five or six years later Nick and Desiree got the opportunity to lease Vundu Camp, and they been living here for 20 years now. 

Nick and Desiree work on a wide variety of conservation projects in the Lower Zambezi Valley through their conservation organisation Bushlife Conservancy.

Some of the initiatives include:

Working to Stop the Illegal Killing of Elephants

A poacher may get as little as USD $200-300 for a pair of average female trunks, and the potential punishment for poaching in Zimbabwe is to be shot on sight. Yet, we continue to lose dozens of elephants to poachers because of the severe economic hardships facing people in Zimbabwe today.

Bushlife Conservancy hopes to change this dire situation by changing the economic incentives and risk/reward balance for poachers. Bushlife Conservancy, through its funding of Bushlife Support Unit Trust, works in close coordination with Parks and Wildlife personnel to help patrol remote areas, identify, detain and arrest poachers, monitor prosecutions and sentencing, and recover and rehabilitate stolen wildlife.

Pangolin Recovery and Rehab

Bushlife Conservancy, through its funding of Bushlife Support Unit Trust, has recently had considerable success in interdicting poachers and recovering live endangered pangolins, the most trafficked mammal in the world. They work closely with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, and with organizations like the Tikki Hywood Trust to ensure that the rescued pangolins are rehabilitated and, where possible, reintroduced into the wild.

Providing and creating structures for success

Bushlife Conservancy is a “friends of” organization providing ongoing financial support for the African nonprofit Bushlife Support Unit Trust (“BSUT”).  The Bushlife Support Unit Trust faces daily challenges in identifying, stopping, and capturing poachers on both sides of the Zambezi River. The Trust deploys trained trackers and rangers by car and boat, to assist Parks and Wildlife personnel in patrolling the Valley and adjacent areas, including following poachers into Zambia and working with authorities there to detain them when necessary. The BSUT staff is constantly patrolling the area in search of poachers, snares, and potential hazards to wildlife (such as poisoned wells). And, by establishing a presence in more remote areas of the Valley, the BSUT team works to discourage poachers from establishing a foothold where Parks and Wildlife resources are spread thin. The Bushlife Support Unit’s hard work has paid off over the years, saving the lives of hundreds of wild animals in Mana Pools National Park and the Zambezi Valley area.

The Elephant Monitoring Program

Bushlife Conservancy, though its support of Bushlife Support Unit Trust, keeps a close watch on the elephant herds of the area, and particularly the iconic “upright standing” bull elephants of Mana Pools National Park. BSUT has sought and received preliminary approval to undertake an elephant collaring project, in order to better protect these magnificent animals. Animals with protective collars will be off-limits to trophy hunters, regardless of whether the animal migrates outside the protective boundaries of the Park. The collars will also provide a basis for research into the animals’ movements and behaviours, being undertaken by the National Park Ecologist.

Working for and with the Local Community

Providing resources for Mana Pools National Park community is crucial in building local support for our conservation efforts. We strive to respond directly to community needs, to have the greatest possible impact.

For example, through Bushlife Support Unit Trust, the Bushlife Conservancy provided transport to relevant stations in the surrounding area for a malaria inspection team. We have also assisted the nurses and members of ZINWA (Zimbabwe water purification) by assisting them to repair a village water pump and to collect/purchase sanitation requirements. We are currently helping to set up a medical clinic in Mana Pools National Park to aid the 250 + members of that community. This initiative will assist with treating sick patients, providing post-natal care, and performing vaccinations. This clinic will also be the first medical facility in the area. We are working to have this established and up and running by May 2017 and are currently registering the clinic with the Ministry of Health in Zimbabwe.


  • Water storage containers for remote bases
  • Road clearing tools to help build, repair, and maintain access to remote areas where poachers are present
  • Supplies and Equipment needed to help build a ranger station in a remote area


Vundu Camp has eight chalets, canvas under thatch, situated on the banks of the Zambezi River in the magnificent Mana Pools National Park.  Each spacious room provides great views over the river and is en-suite with running shower and flush toilet.  The family room consists of two rooms, both en-suite, separated by a lounge area.  The main lounge/dining area is built on stilts and gives guests amazing views over the Zambezi River whilst relaxing after the day’s activities.

The area is teaming with wildlife, with a pair of resident leopards, lion and the distinct sound of their calls most nights, and elephants visiting to feed on the thick vegetation in camp and to have a mud bath in the pan behind camp.   Mana Pools has a healthy population of wild dogs, which are the most endangered of the carnivores in Africa.

Little Vundu Tented Camp is a personal and intimate semi-permanent camp situated 3km upstream from Vundu, making it well located within the boundaries of the Park on the banks on the Zambezi.

Little Vundu is designed for those looking for a bit of adventure with a traditional tented camp safari experience, or to book out a camp exclusively

The camp features new and spacious canvas tents, sized at 6m x 5m, each with twin beds with mosquito nets, a fan, and an outside seating area.  Each tent has an open-air, en-suite bathroom with a flush toilet and a shower.

The main lodge offers wholesome, healthy breakfasts and alfresco lunches, served in an open-air dining room. Dinners are exceptional as they are served under a canvas of stars, where after enjoying delicious food prepared by a private chef, guests can relax with a nightcap and listen to the sounds of the wild.

The camp is very active with animals, with elephants coming down to drink and feed on the green grass along the channel in front of camp.  Little Vundu has excellent fishing right off the banks at camp.