Zimbabwe's Big 3: Mana Pools, Matopos & Vic Falls

Zambezi River alongside Mana Pools by Helen McCulloch

Exsus describes the surreal experience of 3 of Zimbabwe’s top natural attractions.

Serene encounters at Mana Pools

Being on the Zambezi river in Mana Pools at sunset is possibly one of the most serene experiences you could ever encounter.  You find yourself immersed in a painting of soft warm colours glowing and reflecting off the mirror like surface of the river.  Nature responds perfectly at this time of day.  Elephants criss-cross the river in Indian file searching for the tastiest papyrus whilst the white fronted bee-eaters and pied kingfishers get in a final catch before dark.  Hippos grunt with subdued satisfaction at the scenes they have wallowed in for another day.  All is in order and how it should be here as you observe in comfort from a boat, canoe or the creamy sands of a transient island carved out by this life giving river.

Matobo Hillls: magically patterned rock formations

At the top of world’s view in Matopos (aka Matobo Hills) stretches out in all directions a continuous landscape of giant boulders, balancing rocks, caves and domes created over the millennia by the natural forces of weathering and erosion that have eeked out cracks where soft sediments once joined the hard granite that was laid down during ancient volcanic activity.  You get the feeling that someone sat there in that spot and reached out and delicately placed each boulder carefully to create this magically patterned kingdom of rocks, partially covered in areas by rock figs and bright yellow, green and orange lichens.

Victoria Falls from a dramatic angle

Standing at knife’s edge and gazing into the depths of the misty chasm, formed by the power of the Zambezi pounding continuously from a height of 108 metres into the narrow gorge, gives you a sense of our species’ vulnerability in the face of one of nature’s greatest wonders.  The Victoria Falls are a special sight to behold from any angle, but here where there are no fences and the droplets come in waves that softly whip against your bare face, your soul is truly on show and inwardly recognisable.

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