Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A good camp for a visit to Selous
We really enjoyed our time at this camp. Richard and the team looked after us very well.
We have been on several safaries in Africa but this was our first experince of being able to go out on all day game drives, which if you like wildlife are a great experience. Our guide and driver were very good and attentive and it was nice to have them on all our game drives as we got to know them well and learnt a little of their life away from the camp.
The boat safari is also well worth doing as you get close to the hippos and crocodiles and there are some great sightings of bee eaters who nest in the banks of the river. The absolute highlight was seeing wild dog and their litter of seven puppies, but there is an abundance of wildlife, especially giraffe, wilderbeast and elephant.
The camp has a great atmosphere, and the lack of electricity adds to the experience of really being in the bush.
Hippos by the score at Lake Manze
This camp is ideally situated on the banks of the lake, giving visitors a varied choice of activities. We took full advantage of this and went by boat, 4x4 and walked. The latter gave a completely new dimension to the landscape. Unfortunately water cabbage has recently encroached upon the inlet and so the lake does now appear to be further away from the tents, however this does not really have a detrimentel effect on the views.
Richard is keen for guests to enjoy their Manze experience and we got down to organising our activities as soon as we arrived. Having already spent four days at Impala, our guide Ian was a little concerned that we may have seen everything. This theory was soon dismissed. The topography round Manze is very diverse and we soon sighted jackal, large herds of wilderbeest and zebra as well as hyena. We were fortunate to watch two prides of lions, one new to the area, confront each other over their terriotory. The interlopers soon retreated!
On a full day drive we opted to go to the Beho Beho mountains, visiting Selous grave and testing the waters of the hot springs. We crossed from dry plains to tropical jungle, enjoying the changing vegitation. The bird life in this area is fantastic and we watched pied and malacite kingfishers, sea and snake eagles, catching their meals.
We all learnt so much about the flora and fauna and Ian never tired of our endless questions, appearing to thrive on our interest and enthusiasm.
Evenings were spent outside, under the stars, eating at a communal table, lit only by candles and hurricane lamps (no electricity here). Conversation never lapsed as everyone exchanged their days experiences. There was a great feeling of cameraderie, meal times being made even more exciting by the visiting elephants and civets, who came to check out the menu!
The tents are a little hot at night, particularly for those from Northern Europe, but Richard is investigating the possibility of solar powered fans! I'm sure they will be well received.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
We loved Lake Manze Camp. We went on a game drive straight from the plane, and lived amongst wildlife from then on.
Sitting on the terrace of our tent watching 3 young elephants just 12 feet away, mucking about and barging into eachother like adolescent lads, sitting up in bed to watch a hippo or an elephant grazing right next to the tent, seeing a genet cat walk down the trunk of a tree whilst we were having a starlit dinner - all completely amazing.
Excellent game drives and lake safaris - our guide (Ian) and driver (Sallum) were great , and worked really hard to make sure we saw as much as possible, including hunting dogs, crocodiles rolling themselves over in the water to wrench flesh from a hippo carcass, and driving us miles at some speed when they heard about a lion kill. Richard, the camp manager, was a good host, very attentive and knowledgeable about Africa - people and politics as well as wildlife. We really liked the communal eating, and the relaxed opportunity to chat to people from so many different places.
The tents were great - comfortable beds, and the open-air showering brilliant, particularly when there was an elephant grazing just the other side of the canvas and you wondered if its trunk might just come over the top to sample the water. The food was good, and they did the best poached eggs on the trip!
Warm welcome and expert guides at Lake Manze
I have to say that both the guide and the driver were superb and had excellent knowledge. They were dedicated to searching for different game, and could pretty much deliver on request which was amazing! They asked what we wanted to see and clearly used their 'insider knowledge' to find the animal.
All the staff at the camp base were exceptional and extremely gratious. I was stunned at the variety and high quality of food on offer - we certainly didn't go hungry and the cook came up with something new and exciting very day. Very impressive, especially given the lack of access to regular fresh produce.
Richard was facinating and was clearly very passionate about his surroundings. He was happy to provide, at any point, additional information on the wildlife and the park which truely added to the overall experience. He was terribly organised in arranging our daily activities and clearly had the place running very smoothly.
Tents were exceptional, very comfy and I was stunned to find out we all had our own bathrooms - great. The birds and wildlife ingeneral made such a fantistic racket at night which we loved! You could only be in Africa.
Particularly good location for the boat trips - hippo, elephant, buffalo. As always in Eastern Africa, amazing dunsets.
An edgy, exciting camp
Having stayed at both Kampala [Ed: I think this traveller means 'Impala' Camp] and Lake Manze, the latter is more rustic and therefore more edgy. In some ways this was a good thing as we felt closer to the animals and we all found it (especially the 3 children) more exciting. The guides were great, very thoughtful about the children's safety and Nahumu, one of the guides was brilliant with them - maintaining their interest when there was nothing to see or it was 'just another giraffe'.
Richard was informative and interesting to talk to.The Masai were incredible, pointing out animals in the dark that we would never have seen..and making us feel totally comfortable that we and the children would be safe with only canvas between us and the wildlife! The river safari was tremendous and the team were flexible around our needs.
Still a few rough things to iron out, not sure the management team had fully jelled and the food was poor. The playing cards had lost their spots..so we decided to try Monopoly ..only for our daughter to reel back when opening the box, releasing an ants nest inside!
Lake Manze tented Camp Review
This was a great place to start our Tanzanian safari.
Paulo and Daja were great hosts and we loved the way the elephants wondered through the camp and began eating their way around our tent. For us the water safaris were the highlight ( as they were at Impala) with the birdlife, the hippos and the crocodiles together providing non-stop entertainment.
The tents were a little hot at night ( it was apparently unusually hot even for Tanzania and the Selous) and a fan - perhaps driven by solar panels - might have made things a little more comfortable.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Very friendly and well run camp. The communal dining was very well planned to mix people but also to ensure that there was plenty of good conversation.
The area around the camp had relatively few tourists and a great mix of wildlife and the guides and drivers were superb at getting us really close to this wildlife. Talking later to tourists from other camps it was obvious that we had picked a winner and we would be happy to recommend Lake Manze to anyone.
Fantastic safari at Lake Manze Tented Camp
Staying at Lake Manze Tented Camp was a wonderful experience. We felt truly in the wild as there are no barriers around the camp at all. You are however protected by Masai warriors who shadow you wherever you go to make sure you are safe.
We felt the facilities were very good. Our tent was relatively spacious consisting of two separate areas. The area at the back was the bathroom area with a washing area, a toilet and a shower- Taking a shower in the open air especially at night was a great experience. The front of the tent was the sleeping area which contained two single beds. There were some nice touches e.g a torch and candles were provided as it is pitch black at night and a jug of water was provided every day. The tents were cleaned every day and fresh towels left when necessary. We also found the laundry service was very good.
There is a main restaurant/bar area where breakfast/lunch and dinner are taken. The camp is run by an italian couple so there is a definite italian slant to the food. We found the food to be excellent and really tasty. Breakfast consisted of fresh fruit and eggs/bacon/sausage. Lunch was usually pasta/pizza/lasagane with salad and dinner was always a 3 course meal. The food is plentiful but sometimes we found we needed the odd snack to keep us going as the days are long and dinner isn't until approx 8pm in the evening. I would suggest that a covered bowl of fruit or snacks could be left out for guests during the day that they could help themselves to as and when needed.
The choice of activities was also very good. You could go on game drives, bush walks and river trips every day and it was very rare that you couldn't do what you wanted to do. One of the best experiences not to be missed was to get up and go on a drive very early in the morning i.e 6.30am. On these occasions the guides took breakfast with them and you could eat your breakfast out in the bush.
We found the staff especially the guides, were excellent. They were always friendly and made a great effort on the various game drives to try and make sure we saw all the Big 5. This was our first safari so didn't know what to expect but we thought the guides were very informative. They are also learning so some guides are more experienced and confident than others. However for us this wasn't a problem. After all they not only have to have a detailed knowledge of the wildlife and birds in the area, they also have to learn to say it in english!
The staff who run the camp were also very good. The camp is run by two italians, Paolo and his partner and also a british guy called Richard. Between them they strike a nice balance in the camp between the italian guests and the other nationalities. Whilst it is clear that this is a popular camp for italians we found there were a good mix of nationalities when we were there.
The main disadvantage of the camp was the lack of any electric fans or air conditioning in the tents. We found that the tents were unbearably hot throughout the day and most of the night which meant that it was difficult to get any respite from the heat. We tended to take lots of showers to cool off. Consequently whilst we had a fantastic time we were very very tired by the end of the four days and looking forward to our beach break.
In saying that I would say the main advantage of the camp was the fact it offered a genuine safari experience in the wild. The local elephant, Rafiki visited us twice during the night on separate occasions and proceed to eat around the tent we were in. We were literally 2 metres away with only the tent between us and them. It was truly a magical moment. Talking to other guests who had been on other safaris, I got the impression this type of experience would not occur at other more luxurious camps as they are usually fenced in. So what you sacrifice in luxury you gain in the experience.
Overall I think this is a fantastically priced camp for the experience you receive in return.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Staff all very helpful and provided a lot of information on the animals, surroundings etc.
The bird life is especially lovely by the lake and our guide was excellent. We were lucky to see the wild dogs, a large pack with puppies which was great and as we hadnt seen lions our guide went out of his way to ensure we saw a pride!
The choice of activities was excellent and the staff couldnt be more accommodating in ensuring we were able to do what we wanted.
We enjoyed the trip to the hot springs and it was refreshing having a swim in the pool.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Arrival and welcome
The pick-up from the air strip included a short game drive on return to the camp. This was great for me as it immediately allowed me to relax, feel the stress of work fall away and to get back into bush mode. At camp, I was greeted with a fruit juice and was given essential information about camp life and activities.
The tented accommodation was comfortable and spacious. The bed was comfortable and the shower effective. As advertised, there is no electricity in the tents, which makes it very dark when getting ready for dinner. Either a couple more candles or another storm lantern would be good. Also, the lack of electricity meant that there could be no fan which meant that it was extremely hot, which made sleeping difficult at night. The shaded platform outside the tent is very pleasant for sitting outside in the heat of the day.
The bar and restaurant area was very attractive with comfortable seating. I very much enjoyed the fact that we ate communally, giving the chance to chat over our daily activities; this was particularly important to me as a single traveller. It was also lovely that Paulo, Diana and Richard ate with us each meal. It was really great to be able to eat outside, in front of the bar area, at night under the stars. The food was excellent, hearty and plentiful.
The camp is certainly in the bush. The camp is frequently visited by a young elephant, Rafiki, who looks as if he wants to join everybody in the bar. Also, I was woken on a number of occasions by elephants eating foliage directly outside my tent, and seeing impala stroll past during the day. You don't get much closer to nature than this.
The organisation of activities was really great, with the choice of a game drive, walk or boat trip morning and afternoon. I also did a full day drive with lunch set out by a lake and a trip to the hot springs for a swim. This was a long day but really worthwhile as it gave the opportunity to go farther from the camp and thus see more wildlife. The walk was also worthwhile, to learn about animal spoor and the flora and fauna of the bush. I would recommend an early game drive with breakfast in the bush. I was particularly impressed by the fact that, as a single traveller, I did not have to fit in with anybody else but was free to choose exactly what activities I wanted to do.
Most of the guides were excellent with a very good knowledge. I would particularly like to single out for praise Samuel and Emmanuel, who were both knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The only difference between the guides here and previous safaris was that I felt that the information given was very book learnt rather than learnt from experience and was, therefore, somewhat lacking in anecdote. I am sure this is simply that the guides are young and many are new to the job and that this will develop with time. The only poor guiding experience I had was on my first boat trip when the guide (I don't remember his name) was both lacked confidence and has a very strong accent, making it difficult to understand him. Carlson, my guide on the second boat trip, was also excellent, very chatty and full of information.
The high point of the trip was most definitely my experience with the hunting dogs. I had been really keen to see them when I planned the trip but was aware how elusive they can be. I first saw a pack of about 20 dogs, including 8 pups, on my full day drive, which was great, although they were hidden away in long grass and a bit difficult to see. We saw them again fairly near camp at the end of a morning drive. I was lucky enough to be the only person on the afternoon drive and so we went straight out to where they had been in the morning.
We watched them sleeping and moving around in the shade. They then woke up, started barking and making a commotion apparently for no reason. We finally saw a hyena walk past in the distance. They settled down again but gradually started to wake up and the pups started to play. They then moved out of their shady spot and started to line out to prepare to hunt. Eventually we watched them chase an impala. We missed the kill, but not the approach of three male lions who chased them off. The pups got away with some food but the dogs stood back barking at the lions but powerless to do anything about it, as their meal was stolen. Game viewing does not get much better than this and I feel extremely lucky and privileged to have had this experience.
Overall the camp was a true bush experience, the atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, the activities well organised and executed. I would highly recommend it.