There’s a reason why Mana Pools National Park is known for being one of Africa’s best game-viewing destinations. Each rainy season flood plains here turn to vast lakes, making it mostly inaccessible to visitors. But as seasons shift and waters recede, animals from across the country begin to gather in search of water and food. Rare mahogany, baobab and ebony trees populate the surrounding forest, which is one of the least developed in all of southern Africa. The park is home to the biggest concentration of hippos and crocodiles in the country, as well as large populations of elephants and buffalo during dry season. Some 380 species of birds also call this place home.
It’s best to visit this park, named a wetland of importance in January of 2013, between June and October, with best wildlife viewing from late September through October. But be advised, temperatures during this time can exceed 110 degrees. Chitake Springs, which provides water during dry season, is one of the best spots for animal viewing.