Isuzu Mana Pools

Article by Piet de Klerk

Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is situated in the north of Zimbabwe on the mighty Zambezi River. It is an exceptionally scenic park with the famous apple-ring acacia trees dotted along the floodplains, which are a major attraction in the drier seasons when the pods fall to the ground, offering valuable sustenance for a variety of game. Around 350 species of bird life occur here, thus creating one of Africa’s best game viewing, birding and photographic areas.

For this trip we used the Isuzu’s top of the range double cab, the KB300 4×4 Auto. Isuzu has always been known for it’s durability and reliability so it makes a great companion for trips to remote places like Mana Pools.

The KB300 is not a simple workhorse vehicle. It has all the features and comforts expected in a modern vehicle including leather trim, climate control, touchscreen radio with satellite navigation (which even shows the dirt roads in Mana!) and a reversing camera normally expected in a luxury vehicle.  Rest assured you will have a comfortable journey. The Isuzu KB300 is packed with safety features as well.  It has 6 airbags, ABS, electronic stability control, hill decent control, rear park sensors plus much more.

Although the Isuzu is built to handle the toughest of conditions, we decided to customise and modify the unit for the Mana Pools trip to improve the performance on the rugged terrain. Starting from the front of the vehicle we replaced the standard plastic bumper with a Wildog 4×4 heavy duty bumper. Not only does this give you extra strength up front but it also improves your approach angle when driving up steep inclines or when crossing a deep riverbed. A 700mm Ironman LED light bar was also fitted onto the bumper. This makes such a difference when driving in the dark, particularly on our Zimbabwe roads! We did a full suspension upgrade by installing Ironman 4×4 performance suspension. The standard Isuzu suspension is very good and known to be one of the more comfortable pickups available but we wanted to increase the ride height of the vehicle. As we were putting a lot of extra weight on the vehicle, the upgrade helped with this as well. A snorkel was fitted on the side of the cab for air intake. Despite what many people think, fitting a snorkel is not for driving through deep water; it protects your vehicle’s engine by drawing in cleaner air when you are driving on a dirt road. We changed the tyres and rims, which had more to do with styling than performance. I think black rims look cool! On the rear of the vehicle we replaced the factory fitted bumper with a Wildog 4×4 rear bumper with integrated tow hitch. Two spare wheel carriers can be fitted onto this should you wish. The last modification done to the vehicle was fitting a 12v socket in the load tray to plug in a camping fridge. An essential when camping!

For the first two nights of the trip we were based at the BBC camp and the next four at Nyamepi campsite. We would have loved to stay longer at BBC but it is very popular and two nights is all that was available. Apart from the scenery, fishing, birding and game viewing opportunities and a wonderful week away from the hustle and bustle of town, the main highlight of the trip was a fabulous sighting of two cheetahs, on the prowl, just past Chine pool. A very rare sighting for Mana Pools.

To book camping facilities at Mana Pools:

Harare (0242) 706077/8

For further information on the Isuzu KB300 4×4 Auto, contact:

Piet de Klerk

Autoworld Harare (Pvt) Ltd

Tel: 08677004334

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