Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
We absolutely loved Lake Manze - the team there were so friendly and we were made to feel really welcome from the moment we arrived. It had a really relaxed atmosphere with us being able to choose what type of safari to do (jeep, boat or walking) with flexibility on when we did them.
We always looked forward to meal times as the food was delicious and really varied. We were even offered a private dinner outside our tent which was good fun - albeit a little scary without the reassurance of other guests in the bush with us!
This was our first safari experience and we really felt part of it; the first night we woke up to a huge rustling outside our tent and woke up in the morning to find the palm tree just outside stripped bare; elephants in very close quarters at this camp!
The benefit of this camp, and the Selous generally, is the lake systems which offers a variety of wildlife in itself; you get the best of both here, with bush and boat safaris readily available.
A big thanks also for the sympathies we received towards Selina's allergic reaction to Malarone. All better now!
Fantastic first safari
This was our first safari and we were very glad to have chosen Manze. It far surpassed our expectations. We were picked up from the local airstrip (literally just a grass landing strip) and immediately our safari began. Within 5 minutes, we had seen impalas, zebras and giraffes. The jeeps were very comfortable even though there are no roads and the terrain is very bumpy. We particularly liked that they were open-air (with a canopy for shade).
We had a very warm welcome from Paolo and Daja, the managers who throughout the stay made sure that we were happy. They greet every jeep that returns to chat to guests and ask for feedback. Even though they probably hear the same story from everyone, they always seem interested in what you are saying.
We were escorted to out tent by a masai and found the tent to be very spacious, immaculately clean and well appointed. They are well spaced for privacy and uninterrupted views of the surroundings. The en suite bathroom was actually very good and is the only toilet where you could get a sun tan!
In the tent there is a small rail for clothes, a lockable trunk, a table with candles, a torch, fly spray (which we didn't use once), drinking water and a whistle (in case of emergency). The bed was very comfortable. There is no electricity but once you get used to that, it really isn't a problem. There is a socket at the bar which can be used to charge batteries, mobile phones etc (we even had mobile phone coverage). Before night falls, they light lanterns and leave one outside your tent and one in the bathroom.
The communal area consists of a large thatched reception lounge and dining area where guests meet to discuss their sightings that day. Food was good considering the location. My wife is vegetarian and they catered well for that. Dinner is served under the stars at a large shared table and it is not unusual to see elephants walking past. They have a range of drinks and the bar was well stocked. Prices were very reasonable ($2 for a coke). They also provide a laundry service which was very efficient and cheap.
We did a variety of safaris, including a full day trip, a walking safari and boat trips on the lake and river. The guides are very knowledgeable, friendly and possess amazing eyesight. They are also incredibly patient while guests take thousands of pictures of things they no doubt see every day! Victor, our main guide, was a superstar! We were told that we would have to work a bit harder to see the animals in the Selous but there were animals everywhere- we even managed to see wild dogs, mating lions, charging hippos and jackals, as well as the usual safari animals.
Both of us feel that we have been very spoilt on this first trip and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend both the Selous and Lake Manze Camp.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
A beautiful camp in a fantastic location. Loads of game, both on safari and in camp, and magical sunset boat trips on the lake.
What really sets this place apart however is the managment team of Paulo and Dia and the rest of the staff who make you feel like you're staying with close friends.
Wild life at close quarters.
We were made to feel welcome at the moment we stepped off the plane. We were surprised to be plunged into a game drive of about 3 hours before arriving at camp - this was considered a bonus and a very exciting start to the trip.
The whole team at Manze is very accommodating to meet ones needs and the stay can be as relaxed or as action packed as one liked. We were able to choose from a menu ranging from full day safari, or half day safaris per day, and even the `veranda safari` was thrilling - especially when the elephant came to call for lunch one metre from the tent.
The whole experience is very sociable as you share meal times and game drives with other guests. Whether a family of 5 like ourselves, or an individual traveller - all comers are made to feel welcome and comfortable. The accommodation is clean and comfortable, and we enjoyed the tent without electric light - although a torch is provided, would recommend clients bring a back-up! Also enjoyed the star lit showers.
Special thanks to managers Paulo and Daia for being so thorough and attentive.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
See previous commentsRead more about the whole safari
Lake Manze Camp
A real safari experience. Guides were excellent and mostly spoke good english and were very informative. Good balance of activities but if you are staying for a while what you see does get a bit repetitive although we understand this the nature of safaris.The activities were very well organised in maximum of 4 people per group (but this could have been 6) which was great. For those wanting to do long safaris we would recommend splitting time between camps as 4 nights was long enough for us. We did see leopard which was a real highlight. Fly camping from Selous Impala was excellent with a fantastic guide, back to nature experience, no sleep.. but really worth it.
It is amazing to see animals close up but on a couple of occasions we felt the guides went too close and we ended up being charged by a hippo! Richard and Malcolm (who were the managers that week) kept reassuring everyone that the elephants in the camp were friendly but they can get very very close which can be unnerving.
It was communal dining, which was nice for us to share stories with other guests, but for some this may not be ideal.
Brilliant safari at Lake Manze Tented Camp
Facilities were very comfortable and tastefully done, with just the right amount of luxury and authenticity. Beds very comfortable and location of the tents just superb, looking out onto the river; felt very private and exclusive. The service was fantastic, very personal and attentive but friendly and not pushy.
Eating together in the evenings felt very inclusive and it was interesting to talk to some of the other guests.
We had a great guide and driver, Ian and Robert, and were very fortunate to have them for the whole time. The safari drives were great and were able to choose what times we wanted to go out, but we felt the walking safari lacked substance and was a bit slow and the river safari, whilst informative, went on for too long. The elephants coming past the camp each day, and especially Rafiki, really made our stay special.
We loved it a Manze and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
Fabulous Lake Manze Camp
Our party of middle-aged parents and four young adults were were completely bowled over by Lake Manze Camp. This was very much due to the professionalism of the camp management. They personally came out to welcome every vehicle drawing up at the entrance whether it was new arrivals or guests returning from a short game drive. We were impressed by their clear instructions for our safety, efficient organisation, good staff management and their healthy respect for wild visitors to the camp, however familiar they might be. Everything was clean, and all activities and meals happened on time though we never felt rushed at all.
We loved our tents. One after-lunch 'verandah safari' saw us lounged on our own porch gazing quietly around between snoozes. I could see hippos in the lake, a giraffe on the far shore and, nearer at hand, an elephant munching the bushes, and a number of tiny bright pink birds pecking at the ground near our feet. From our bed at dawn we saw a family of elephants lumbering past 20 metres away in the misty half-light.
The tent was completely insect-free; if you spotted a mosquito you could zap it with the spray helpfully provided on a convenient shelf. A comfy bed, African woven mats and rustic storage completed the tent. Through another zip-door at the back was the spacious bathroom. Tall people can peep over the canvas while showering to look out at the bush. The towel rail was more generous than in many a posh hotel bathroom. My only slight discomfort was the lack of a toilet seat – but I saw a boxfull being delivered as we left!
Food was really good. Considering the kitchen receives a truck delivery (10 hours from Dar es Salaam) only once a week it was amazing. One of our party is a non-fish veggie; she was amply catered for without special arrangements because there is plenty of variety among the selection of tasty dishes at each meal.
Out on safari we had wonderful experiences from the first moment we arrived; we found ourselves among a pride of lions less than an hour after arriving at the airstrip. The management try to make sure you are taken out by the same guide and driver each time so that you get to know each other. Ours were truly fantastic. They were knowledgeable, professional and kind and they made us laugh. We were constantly amazed by their ability to spot interesting animal behaviour and nothing was too much trouble for them.
I have recommended Lake Manze to all my friends and will go on doing so.
Lake Manze Camp
Lake Manze camp is an excellent way to start a multiple stop safari. The terrain in this area is quite open so there are plenty of opportunities for viewing the grazing animals and we were fortunate to witness lions with a kill. Our drivers Olay and Salom were excellent. They seemed knowledgeable were prepared to be talkative in a general way when we were out on all day drives.
I was especially impressed with their respect for the animals and that they resisted the pressure of other guests to 'go closer' or 'follow the lion'. Guests were politely but firmly discouraged from trying to interact with the animals. Credit to them for their professionalism. The boat men were also very good. Two contrasting trips on the water, one on the lake and one up a creek revealed very different aspects of the wildlife and birds.
The accommodation was exactly as described in the brochure; however it may be useful to note that Manze's family accommodation is a standard tent with a supplementary tent covering the veranda area. Although this did give the advantage of being together it made things rather cramped as we lost the sitting area by our tent and had to share our bathroom four ways. Had our children been smaller I might have been more appreciative of the situation but travelling with teenage boys it made for a few embarrassing moments! That said, not a camp for young children.
The camp wildlife may appear tame but you can tell from the respect that the Masai afford it, it's not! Also, although I really enjoyed the 'out in the wild' feel of Manze, Hurricane lamps are really not that illuminating!! However, the days were so full that there was no time to miss the electricity.
The food was of a good standard and supper was served communally at a table outside. Torches required if you wanted to know what was in the dishes! It was really nice to mix with other guests and swop stories. Richard (a recent recruit to the staff I think) was an excellent source of interesting information and stories and was still as enthusiastic about the wildlife as us new to safari.
Camp was almost full when we stayed, a mixture of honeymooners and ex-pats with a complement of other nationalities as well.
In hindsight we wish we had resisted the host's suggestions to have breakfast before going out on a drive. The wildlife definitely seemed (relatively) less plentiful as the morning wore on. (See my Impala comments)
We found this camp to be one that fulfilled our hopes for a rustic 'out in the wild ' safari experience to a tee.
Expert Africa comments
We are glad that these travellers enjoyed Lake Manze – we also love it for its authentic rustic nature. The family tents here are best suited to families with small children, rather than the young teenagers.
In this case, Expert Africa booked two separate tents for this family with two young teenagers. On arrival, Lake Manze’s managers thought that they might prefer to be together, and so offered them a ‘family tent’ as an option. They should have made it clear that if the family wanted more privacy, then the separate tents which we had arranged were still available. This message wasn’t clear, hence they stayed in the family tent feeling “rather cramped”.
We’re sorry that this happened, but glad that it didn’t spoil their stay. It highlights our advice that if one of our travellers has cause for concern whilst on a trip – it’s always best mentioned at the time, as many problems and issues can be rectified on the spot.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
A basic camp but only in a relative sense (compared to Impala). Even so we felt it was a wonderful place to spend our first few nights on safari.
The accommodation was excellent and the staff (all of them - guides, drivers, management) were really superb. We felt we could ask to do anything we wanted and there was always lots of expert advice available if we had any doubts. The food was good whether it was dinner or a safari lunch.
The great thing about Manze was the wildlife - we saw so much in our short stay there - and the nature of the terrain made viewing so easy.