Written By: Shelley Cox
As our aircraft gently touches down on the dusty airstrip and we disembark, the October heat of the Zambezi Valley hits us and droplets of perspiration start to form on our heads and arms. A friendly smiling face rushes up to greet us and welcomes us to Greater Mana Expeditions with ice cold water and beverages to quench our thirst. The next 4 nights will be spent exploring the newest offering in the Zambezi Valley – “Greater Mana Expeditions” operated by Great Plains Conservation.
Previously a safari hunting area, the Sapi Concession, which forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage site including Mana Pools National Park, was in November 2016 converted to a photographic concession and all hunting was stopped. The decision made by Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to convert the area to photographic was done in an effort to expand the protected photographic area of Mana Pools National Park and restore and rehabilitate the landscape and wildlife within the Sapi Concession. The concession was awarded to Great Plains Conservation, primarily owned and run by National Geographic Documentary filmmakers and conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Their model takes stressed and threatened environments, and surrounds them with compassionate protection and intelligent, sustainable management, funding them with sensitive, low-volume, low-impact tourism.
For more on the Mana expeditions, please purchase Issue 10 of our Nzira Travel Magazine!