Ruckomechi Camp is set in the magnificent Mana Pools area.

Ruckomechi Camp | Mana Pools National Park Luxury Zimbabwe Safari Lodge

Ruckomechi Camp is a luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge in a remote wilderness concession in western Mana Pools National Park. It’s renowned for its dry season wildlife concentrations, and for sightings of wild dog. The lodge overlooks the Zambezi River and faces the Rift Valley escarpment on the Zambian bank.

The place

Travelling to Ruckomechi Camp by light aircraft and then 4×4 vehicle reinforces our sense that we’re heading into the wilderness; the friendly welcome we receive as we disembark reassures us that we’re in safe hands, and will be well looked after. We’ve heard a lot about the wildlife of Mana Pools National Park, but we’re still surprised when our guide drives just a short distance from the airstrip to where a pack of wild dog rests in the shade. One of the animals we most wanted to see, and we’ve only just arrived. Our welcome committee at this luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge consists of two bull elephant feeding beneath towering albida trees. One of them, keen for even more snacks, all but lifts his front feet off the ground as he reaches upwards. We look upwards too, our eyes encountering the abrupt cliff wall of the escarpment, which perfectly frames the wide grey Zambezi as it flows past.

Travelling to Ruckomechi Camp by light aircraft and then 4×4 vehicle reinforces our sense that we’re heading into the wilderness; the friendly welcome we receive as we disembark reassures us that we’re in safe hands, and will be well looked after. We’ve heard a lot about the wildlife of Mana Pools National Park, but we’re still surprised when our guide drives just a short distance from the airstrip to where a pack of wild dog rests in the shade. One of the animals we most wanted to see, and we’ve only just arrived.

Our welcome committee at this luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge consists of two bull elephant feeding beneath towering albida trees. One of them, keen for even more snacks, all but lifts his front feet off the ground as he reaches upwards. We look upwards too, our eyes encountering the abrupt cliff wall of the escarpment, which perfectly frames the wide grey Zambezi as it flows past.

The room

The lodge manager leads us along a sandy path to our luxury tent. The word ‘tent’ doesn’t do it justice – the splayed poles and peaked canvas roof remind us of the ribs and sails of a ship. Shade comes from another giant tree, and as we step on to the low wooden platform, a sudden gust of wind causes several seed pods to bounce off the taut material. We anticipate visitors of the pachyderm variety! Our private deck overlooks a narrow ribbon of grassy floodplain, and then the river itself. Two folding canvas director’s chairs face the most scenic aspect. Inside, the contrasts between vintage leather furniture, a rough-hewn wooden coffee table and the filmy mosquito nets delight our senses. The shade cloth panels in the walls let the breeze in, so that the interior is wonderfully cool. With so much wildlife to see here – especially as we’ve timed our trip to coincide with the dry season – we don’t plan on spending too much time in our tent, although we could be persuaded.

The lodge manager leads us along a sandy path to our luxury tent. The word ‘tent’ doesn’t do it justice – the splayed poles and peaked canvas roof remind us of the ribs and sails of a ship. Shade comes from another giant tree, and as we step on to the low wooden platform, a sudden gust of wind causes several seed pods to bounce off the taut material. We anticipate visitors of the pachyderm variety!

Our private deck overlooks a narrow ribbon of grassy floodplain, and then the river itself. Two folding canvas director’s chairs face the most scenic aspect.

Inside, the contrasts between vintage leather furniture, a rough-hewn wooden coffee table and the filmy mosquito nets delight our senses. The shade cloth panels in the walls let the breeze in, so that the interior is wonderfully cool. With so much wildlife to see here – especially as we’ve timed our trip to coincide with the dry season – we don’t plan on spending too much time in our tent, although we could be persuaded.

What sets it apart

Ruckomechi Camp is set in an exclusive, remote area, meaning that we’ll be sharing our sightings with few, if any, other people. The dramatic landscape is juxtaposed with superb attention to detail when it comes to our creature comforts. Daily activities make full use of every feature of the area, with game drives, walking safaris and canoe safaris on the Zambezi all on offer.One of the things we love most about Zimbabwe is a certain quirkiness. If pressed, many guides here will tell you that this is where the modern idea of the luxury photographic safari is best executed. We sense a justified pride in this, while features such as the secluded outdoor bathtub attest to a whimsical sense of humour and an abiding love for spending time in nature whenever possible.Finally, we love that this camp has a sleepout deck with star bed, where you can lie under the stars, overlooking the waterhole at Parachute Pan.

Ruckomechi Camp is set in an exclusive, remote area, meaning that we’ll be sharing our sightings with few, if any, other people. The dramatic landscape is juxtaposed with superb attention to detail when it comes to our creature comforts. Daily activities make full use of every feature of the area, with game drives, walking safaris and canoe safaris on the Zambezi all on offer.

One of the things we love most about Zimbabwe is a certain quirkiness. If pressed, many guides here will tell you that this is where the modern idea of the luxury photographic safari is best executed. We sense a justified pride in this, while features such as the secluded outdoor bathtub attest to a whimsical sense of humour and an abiding love for spending time in nature whenever possible.

Finally, we love that this camp has a sleepout deck with star bed, where you can lie under the stars, overlooking the waterhole at Parachute Pan.

At a glance

  • Riverside safari lodge with pool and eight luxury canvas guest tents plus two family tents.
  • Private concession, private vehicles available (additional cost), secluded outdoor ‘bath with a view’ and star bed.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boat cruises, canoe safaris, birdwatching, swimming and catch-and-release fishing (additional cost).
  • Children from six years welcome but private activities must be booked for families with children aged 6–12 (additional cost). Minimum ages apply for boating (6), walking (13) and canoeing (16).

  • Riverside safari lodge with pool and eight luxury canvas guest tents plus two family tents.
  • Private concession, private vehicles available (additional cost), secluded outdoor ‘bath with a view’ and star bed.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boat cruises, canoe safaris, birdwatching, swimming and catch-and-release fishing (additional cost).
  • Children from six years welcome but private activities must be booked for families with children aged 6–12 (additional cost). Minimum ages apply for boating (6), walking (13) and canoeing (16).

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

As the winter dry season progresses, the swollen rain-fed lakes of the Lower Zambezi recede, and game is attracted to these shrinking pools in ever-increasing numbers. This period can therefore be incredibly rewarding for wildlife viewing and is the most popular time to visit Mana Pools (the moderate temperatures also play a part). The tamer water makes this the ideal time to explore the Zambezi River here by canoe.

The summer rains transform Mana Pools. Sandbanks, islands and floodplains are subsumed by a contiguous expanse of lakes. With so much water available, wildlife tends to disperse to an extent; while concentrations like those seen in winter are rarely encountered, the animals are still around. Less predictable weather and higher temperatures have a predictable effect on tourist numbers, making Mana Pools feel even wilder than usual.

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