Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.”
Great start to Safari at Lake Manze
This was an excellent start to this year's visit to the Selous. We stayed in Selous last year at Impala Camp and had such a great time that we were not sure that Lake Manze would live up to that - but it certainly did! From the moment we arrived until the moment we left we thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Game Drives and boat safaris were very good - we saw a surprising amount of animals on our game walks. Richard, in particular, was great with extensive knowledge of everything we asked about!
Nothing was too much trouble for the staff - from lending a brand new pair of binoculars (whilst waiting for the ones carelessly left at the previous camp to arrive) to sorting out creams for various peculiar bites!!
Rafiki - the almost 'resident' elephant kept us v amused as he trotted round the camp peering into the bar to see what was going on! He was rather noisy at night though when accompanied by other elephants he tore down leaves from the palm trees just outside the tent!
We liked showering under the stars, eating at the long table exchanging the day's safari experiences, having the same guides for the whole of our stay (3 nights), sunsets over the lake and much more.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
What a beautiful setting by the lake, with lots of animal visitors, including Rafiki the resident elephant, around and about the tents at any given time of day. Here the phrase 'verandah safari' was coined! Paulo the manager greeted us on arrival and initially proved helpful with a minor crisis we experienced, although we felt let down by him in the end. This wasn't a big issue as Richard the under manager was very helpful and informative.
We found the camp more rustic than Impala, as expected, but comfortable and the food was plentiful and wholesome, enjoyed around communal tables. A pity that it was deemed necessary to charge for water on the game drives, as only bottled water was made available on the vehicles.
Once again birdlife and game superb, brought to us this time by the excellent Ian and Abul our driver. All day drive turned into another adventure that involved rain. Mid afternoon we came across a pack of nineteen wild dogs, including 8 puppies, which was a dream come true for us. We then headed over to the Beho Beho hills for a dip in the hot springs where another of the Manze vehicles was also visiting. We left first and shortly afterwards it started to rain.
It was apparent that the tyre treads left something to be desired as the vehicle kept sliding on the track and had difficulty coping in the gullies. Our drive back, delayed due to an attempted rescue mission for one of the other trucks caught out by the downpour, in the dark (an unexpected night drive!) was rewarded by seeing hyena, hippo and lion. All credit to Ian and Abul for getting us back safely.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
We particularly liked the lakes trips and the guide was excellent. Paolo was very welcoming and friendly, but maybe a little laid back which reflected on the organisation.
Tent location was excellent with good views and plenty of wildlife and a good introduction to Tanzania.
We also liked the communal dinner table.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Everything was first class. The staff particularly were really helpful and friendly and we never once felt as though we were part of a package tour.
My only slight concern was when we went for a whole day safari and the lunch table was set out, it didn't include a place setting for our driver. This made me feel uncomfortable as he was just as important as our guide - surely the drivers should eat in the group too ? We had become really friendly with our driver and I wanted him to be included.
Great visit to Lake Manze Camp
Although the camp has only basic amenities there is a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere which makes for an exreemely enjoyable visit.
With elephants passing through the camp and good views of game when sitting outside the tent it is very rewarding. T
he drives are very good as there is lots of game in the area.
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.