Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Richard and the staff created a good atmosphere among the guests and my wishes were fully met by Richard.
The quality of the roads around Lake Manze could be better as fx. the roads around Impala Camp, but the camp is not to blame for that.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
As first timers we may have been spoilt! We found out later a sighting of 4 wild dogs on our journey from the airstrip to the camp is not a normal occurance - in our innocence we didn't realise how privilaged we were. And on the retrn trip the airstrip some days later we wintnessed a large pack of these dogs feeding on thier prey - the guide was so infomative on thier habits as we watched the young ones being led to thier dinner!
Food and accomodation couldn't be faulted. I t was such a friendly place when I decieded against a full day game drive, it was no problem when Jmy partner did want to go off on it - I was quite comfortable to stay behind and join in the walking safair - and then read my book for the afternoon. Richard was concerned when I expressed my feeling of claustrophobia about not being able to wander down to the lake - he even offered to send a Maisi down to accompany me if I wanted to put a chair there to read my book! personal service eh? nothing was too much trouble.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Located in a large patch of doum palms the tents are large, very well spaced and nicely appointed. The management make an effort to seat compatible groups together and there was a nice communal atmosphere. Lake Manze itself is not spectacular but its a nice place to be.
The camp has a couple of resident male elephants which makes for excellent entertainment and adds a frison to the longish walks to the tents. The masai do an excellent escort job.
Again the manager makes a big effort to get the right trips sorted out & they are very flexible on timeing. Very good walks. Boat trips not as good as Rufigi but more game close to the camp. We caught the start of the short rains and the lads did well to get us back. Friendly green snake in the bar.
A long way to go
There are some things which are quite good about this camp: the management are friendly, the food is reasonable and the tents fairly comfortable. That said we would never return and would advise that this camp really isn't up to standard yet for inclusion by Expert Africa.
The guiding was the worst we have ever experienced by a long way. The guides were young, inexperienced, often forgot to collect their binoculars and had to borrow ours to identify the birds (which they weren't very good at). They seemed mainly to be interested in finding cats and on one occasion pursued a leopard (we had seen the tail) into a thorny bush so enthusiastically that they had to be stopped as we were in danger of being scratched.
It was obvious that for part of the time on each drive that one guide wasn't even looking for animals/birds as his head never turned. Unfortunately there are so many first timers at this camp that they think the guiding is good providing they can tick things off their list. As a final probelm they got the meeting place for our Beho Beho transfer wrong so we sat around in a very hot and empty part of the bush for over 1 and a half hours and seemed quite happy to sit there for the rest of the day until we took action. This camp marred an otherwise excellent trip.
Expert Africa comments
We’re pleased that overall these travellers liked Lake Manze’s friendly management and its comfortable tents, even if they felt let down by its guiding. Responding to these comments, the manager explained that they’ve just received new binoculars – which the guides are now using. We’re sorry that these had not arrived before these travellers visited.
Lake Manze is one of the less costly camps in the Selous. The guides here aren’t as experienced as those at Mwagusi or Beho Beho; this is one reason why Lake Manze is cheaper. That said, they are trying to improve their guiding, and it’s obviously inexcusable for a guide “not to turn his head” whilst on a game drive. The guide has now been reprimanded for his attitude, and we hope he’s turned over a new leaf.
The manager remembers these travellers mentioning that they were unhappy ‘chasing the leopard through the bush’, but says that that they didn’t make any other comments to him about the guiding. This is a shame, as in cases like this, we always urge our travellers to make clear if they are unhappy about anything, and to explain what they want.
Firstly, we’d urge them to speak frankly with their guide – telling him/her what they do and don’t want. If this is done clearly, most guides will then do their best to accommodate the traveller’s wishes.
Secondly, if any traveller is still not happy with their guide, we’d urge them to be very clear about this to the camp’s manager as soon as they return to the lodge! In most cases, including this one, the manager could easily swap them to a different guide.
One specific point: clearly there was some confusion about a rendezvous point. We’re sorry that this happened; with no road names in the bush, it’s an easy mistake. We hope that they were parked in a spot with good birdlife to watch – and meanwhile we’ve talked to both lodges to try and ensure that such misunderstandings don’t happen again.
We remain very sorry that these travellers were unhappy with their guide at Lake Manze, but pleased that they liked everything else there, and that when leaving they felt able to write in the guest book, “Many thanks for an excellent four days – lots of game and birds and splendid hospitality. S. and P., London.”