Join award winning wildlife photographer Bret Charman on safari to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mana Pools National Park in as we experience close encounters with wild dogs and bull elephants.
Starting with a night in Victoria Falls, we will have an afternoon here to view and photograph the falls in the changing light as sunset approaches.
We then continue to Mana Pools National Park for a week at Vundu Camp. The wild dogs have become accustomed to people in the national park and often approach those on walking safaris, allowing unrivalled photographic opportunities. Equally approachable - leading to incredible images - are the bull elephants as they feed from the high branches of the ana tree.
As well as the opportunities to view the wild dogs and elephants by exploring Mana Pools National Park by vehicle, on foot and by canoe, we should also be lucky enough to view lion, leopard, impala, zebra and hippo, along with a variety of aquatic birds.
Day1: Depart UK
Overnight flight to Victoria Falls via Johannesburg.
Day2: Arrive Victoria Falls, afternoon tour
On arrival at Victoria Falls we transfer to our hotel, before relaxing over lunch overlooking the falls. This afternoon we enjoy a tour of Victoria Falls to watch and photograph the changing colours of the late afternoon African sun. Dinner tonight will be at our lodge overlooking a nearby waterhole where we may gain our first glimpses of iconic African wildlife including elephants, buffalo and kudu.
Early this morning we travel by light aircraft from Victoria Falls to Mana Pools National Park and transfer to our camp. Arriving at the camp around lunchtime we will experience our first vehicle safari this afternoon.
Over the next six days we will undertake a variety of different ways of viewing and photographing the rich wildlife and birds that can be found around Vundu Camp and in Mana Pools National Park.
Typically our mornings will start before dawn to search for wildlife at first light, followed by another activity in the afternoon. The majority of our safaris will be by vehicle but we may be in a situation where we can approach the wild dogs and bull elephants on foot, giving us access to incredible photo opportunities.
During our time here we will be accompanied by their professional and knowledgeable guides including Vundu Camp founder Nick Murray, an expert in the study of wild dogs and their behaviour.
Day10: Fly to Harare & depart
Our last morning spent in this incredible wilderness allows us time to experience and photograph Mana Pool’s wildlife once more before we transfer for our light aircraft flight to Harare. We will then catch our overnight flight back to the UK via Johannesburg.
Day11: Arrive UK
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 daysfrom £8,795 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £7,545 pp
Bret is an award-winning wildlife photographer with a background in the wildlife travel and safari industry.
After spending a year in Australia to pursue wildlife photography, he was rewarded with success at the prestigious Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition, as well as making the shortlist in Bird Photographer of the Year and Outdoor Photographer of the Year. Bret has experience leading groups in Europe, the Americas and in Africa – and has a real passion for African wildlife in particular.
Founder of Vundu Camp in Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park, Nick started his professional guiding career in 1988.
Having guided in many African countries, Nick has an incredibly intimate knowledge of Zimbabwe, having spent most of his time since 1997 canoeing the Zambezi River and working in all the wildlife areas and national parks of the country. Holding a BSc in Zoology and Wildlife Management, Nick is currently carrying out research for his Masters degree by studying wild dogs in Mana Pools. In 2017 he finished guiding a BBC crew on a wild dog shoot which took place for 300 days over a two year period for a documentary.
Combining perfectly with a safari in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia or Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls are not only a wonderful place from which to begin or end a trip, but offer enough interest to be a safari destination in their own right. The wildlife in the tributaries is active all year round, and the birdlife is superb.
Where: Matabeleland North
Ideal for viewing: waterbuck, African elephant, hippo, black eagle, Taita falcon
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, River safaris
This UNESCO World Heritage Site beside the Zambezi has fine views towards Zambia’s Lower Zambezi and the Rift Valley escarpment. Its woodland and open plains contain a huge variety of wildlife, including large herds of elephant. It is famed for walking and canoe safaris, and offers a secluded experience.
Where: Mashonaland West Province
Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, lion, Nile crocodile, roan
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris
Standing in an elevated position outside the town of Victoria Falls, this safari lodge provides captivating views and sunsets over the Zambezi National Park. Many of the rooms overlook a nearby waterhole, so you can observe a variety of wildlife from the comfort of your balcony.
Situated in the heart of Mana Pools National Park, along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, the eight en suite thatched chalets of Vundu Camp are nestled under a forest of riverine trees, with breathtaking views of the river and passing wildlife, which includes a pair of resident leopards.