Places: Ingwe Pan Tented Camp in Mana Pools

28 October 2020

By: Sally Rind (Emma's Mum)

We have just returned from a fantastic 3 night stay at Machaba Safari's new Ingwe Pan Camp in Mana Pools. Being one of the camps that People and Places sells Emma asked if we would report back on our experience, so here goes! 

We left Harare at about 0530 for our drive into Mana, stopping en route at Twin Rivers for a picnic breakfast and mugs of coffee. They are constructing a new road down the escarpment which when complete will be great.  However we did not find the going as bad as expected and we reached the camp by midday and Caitlin the Camp Manager, and her team were waiting to greet us!   Our tented rooms were ready for us and very much the usual camp style.  The situation of the camp was magnificent – all our rooms and the main sitting area were right on the edge of “the pan” – of course not much water in it but they regularly pumped water in from the borehole and especially the part outside our rooms.  I think we had the best view we have had at any of the camps.  The pan was alive with a constant and very busy bird life – two resident saddlebilled storks included.  Groups of elephant regularly came down including a small baby who loved the mud.  One night there were a couple having a bath right alongside our veranda!  Lion spoor was sighted passing our rooms regularly each night.  Also there was a visitation by a couple of wild dog and a few buffalo.

As usual in the evening/night time we had to be escorted to and from our rooms.  However one lunchtime into tea time there were a couple of cheeky elies who were in the bush alongside our path and on the path so for a while some were trapped in their rooms and the rest of us dogged from room to room ready to take refuge when the ears flapped too much!

The food was excellent!  All very healthy with a great variety of salads and veg dishes. 

They had an assortment of game drive vehicles – the normal Toyota Landcruisers – all in excellent condition.  When we all went out we used the biggest 10 seater but when just a couple of us went out on a morning drive we had quite a posh vehicle with 3 x 2 seats with a table (opened to take your things) between us.  We had the same guide all the time called Liberty and he was excellent.  Away from the pan the game was a bit sparse as it was very hot and dry though lots of impala, kudu and more eland than we have seen before!  Not many zebra, a herd of buffalo but away in the bush.  Lots of elephants though!  Sadly we never caught up with the wild dog that were about and previous folk staying at the camp had apparently seen leopard.

Our biggest treat was on the last evening when we were headed out for our final sundowner in a dry river bed – as we were nearing the river suddenly two or three young lion dashed across our path.  We stopped right away and quietly searched the bush and not far from us in the bushes was the mother lion just lying but very interested in us!  We then left her in peace and a little way along on a small rise was the male lion. Then as a treat in the river bed we had a couple of sightings of hyena!  That was a very special sundowner as we sat right in the middle of the river bed – lots of sand everywhere and just faced the bank where the sun slowly dipped and disappeared.

Two of our party did a short back of house tour to see the solar set up and were very impressed.  The whole camp is run by solar and they have 40 panels.  There is also a massive generator to back up the solar. The cooking is done on gas and each room has a small external gas water heater so you can always get your own hot water whenever you need it.  They had lanterns down the path to the 7 double tented rooms and these lanterns all powered by solar and very effective. 

Ingwe Pan is relatively close to the Air Strip (new guests the day we left flew in in their own aircraft) and  east of Ruchomechi.  We highly recommend it!

Tents Dining The group Lion Wild Dog Hyena Baby Elephant Enjoying Mud Bath Elephant and Saddle Billed Stork

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