The Makonde Branch of Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe has organized annual game counts at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe since 1993.
Static counts at waterholes and transect counts across the flood plain take place over a weekend close to the full moon in September each year.
160 volunteer members of the society make up 37 teams who walk across the flood plain on north–south transect lines 500m apart. The aim is to count all the game within the 250m zone either side of each team.
Coverage of the 45km2 central Mana Pools flood plain is nearly total.
Each team walks four different transects during the weekend and each transect is counted four times.
Teams navigate by compass or increasingly by GPS along their transects.
There is a choice of walking unaccompanied or with one of the National Parks Rangers or professional guides who join the count each year.
The static counts take place over a 24hour period at the water points scattered throughout the national park including Chitake Spring.
The count was held on the weekend of 25th-26th September. After a good rainy season there is a lot of food at Mana and record numbers of elephants were seen taking advantage of the surplus.
The rains finished early so by 9-12 September the bush was very dry. On the transects elephant numbers were back to normal and the impala count was up.
The 20th Game Count was completed successfully on the weekend of 28 September to 1 October 2012. After a very poor rainy season (half the average) most inland pools were dry. Most of the species numbers were similar to previous years apart from an influx of bushbuck. Sable, which are very rare in this area, were also counted and photographed. There were numerous of sightings of lion and wild dog.
The 2013 count was completed without incident on the weekend 13 to 16 September 2013. There was more standing water around than the year before even though the rains had finished early again
The 2014 count is planned for the weekend of 5 to 8 September 2014.