by Thanda Mhlanga on July 13, 2018
4 min read

Drawing from his intimate knowledge of the land, legendary safari guide John Stevens offers an authentic exploration of the glorious Mana Pools landscape and its many creatures. Having spent most of his life traversing and guiding in Africa’s most epic wildernesses, he joined forces with the award-winning Robin Pope Safaris to set up the seasonal John’s Camp, where the untouched side of a precious terrain is unveiled to those who desire an authentic nature experience.

John's Camp tents overlook a luscious green swamp

A tent with a view
Photo credit: Robin Pope Safaris

Rhino Rating:

5/5

Where?

Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Why?

For true nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers, it could not get any better. Pitched in the same place every year from the beginning of May until the 15th of November, John’s Camp is situated in the middle of the action, with no boundary in sight. Completely unfenced, the sound of a drum signals the presence of one of the creatures that roam the land. Lions and elephants make the occasional stop-by, deep roars can be heard from the comfort of your tent in the late night hours and birds such as the African ring-necked dove announce their presence almost constantly. The tents are a collection of six luxury, fully-equipped units with comfortable beds, beautiful linen, an en-suite bathroom and camp shower. Naturists will be pleased to know that it’s a no-WiFi camp, allowing true immersion into the wild.

WHAT?

Walking Safaris

Mana Pools, one of the most beautiful destinations is Zimbabwe, is known for its walking safaris. At John’s Camp guests are treated to a leisurely exploration of this wilderness and its wildlife; a voyeur’s glance into the inner-workings of the animal kingdom that does not disturb the animals or breach their boundaries. Led by armed, expert guides who have intimate knowledge of the land, guests can slowly uncover the secrets of this terrain and the seasonal patterns and ancient rhythms that govern it, which is why it’s one of the 5 Things to Love About Mana Pools. Game drives, bush lunches, fishing and village tours are also on offer as is a night under the stars in a “mozzi dome” tent on a rustic platform away from the main camp.

Walking safaris are a Mana Pools speciality

Walking and tracking in Mana Pools
Photo credit: Robin Pope Safaris

At a glance

Mana Pools National Park is a World Heritage Site that sits inside a natural valley on a floodplain with a rich population of wildlife, including 4 of the Big 5 (except Rhino), and amazing birding for enthusiasts. By catering to 12 guests at a time, John’s Camp can tailor your stay according to your needs, passions and mood on any given day. Your lunch can be had in a remote, scenic spot in the park or in the main camp area. Afternoons can be spent walking or in an open-air 4×4 safari vehicle.

John's Camp is pitched in the same spot every year

The luxurious side of roughing it
Photo credit: Robin Pope Safaris

Dining Experience

With staff all employed from the region, the atmosphere at John’s Camp is one of familial respect and lightheartedness. The cuisine is prepared in a similar vein, taking guests’ needs and preferences in mind but always using the freshest produce. Hearty and healthy is the best way to describe the food, which is served with exceeding warmth.

Eating in the open veld is a highlight of a John's Camp stay

Dining in the bush
Photo credit: Robin Pope Safaris

Best time to go

The dry season (June to October) offers excellent conditions for wildlife viewing. However, between June and August nights call fall to under ten degrees Celsius. The rainiest months are from November to March when the temperatures climb to over 35 degrees Celsius. For these reasons, the camp closes for several months.

How to get there

The easiest way to reach John’s Camp is by taking a light aircraft from Victoria Falls or Harare. Alternatively, book a transfer from Harare via Chirundu and then travel by boat to the national park.

Nights at John's Camp are scored by the sounds of wild nature

An authentic wildness retreat
Photo credit: Robin Pope Safaris

Perfect for

Families, groups and individuals who are nature lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers who don’t mind being off-the-grid.

John’s Camp up your alley? Let our team of expert travel consultants create the tailor-made Zimbabwean holiday of your dreams to include a stay at this luxury camp by clicking here.