Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Lake Manze - Ouch!
Lake Manze earns a Good because of the high quality and quantity of sightings in such a short time. Liz warned us that the camp was not our 'usual choice' but the lack of light and fans in the tents during a period of unseasonal heat and humidity proved extremely uncomfortable and in no way 'romantic' as described by a male Australian fellow guest!
The food was average and the random, management directed seating at main meals served only to separate us from other guests we might have chosen to sit with if left to our own devices. We knew drinks were extra but bottled water was also charged for when the alternative of 'filtered and boiled' lake water was barely drinkable. It was also irritating, when faced with a difficult tipping situation of 3 'guide, driver, boatman' recipients over 2 airstrip runs, one drive and 2 boat trips, to be told by the guide that I 'should have read the instructions in the room' and tipped him directly rather than my solution of a single tip in the box for the manager to share fairly. Poor judgement by us not to take Expert Africa advice.
We did not enjoy our stay. As has been reported by a number of other Expert Africa clients, this camp seems designed to serve the 1 or 2 night safari 'adventure' needs of Zanzibar holidaymakers.
Expert Africa comments
We’re very sorry that Lake Manze Camp wasn’t a good fit for this traveller. We passed their comments to the team at camp, who have looked into the issues.
Firstly, they are looking at putting fans into the rooms, although this is complicated by Lake Manze’s lack of electricity. Until this is resolved, this is a good point and worth noting: November - March in the Selous does get very hot and humid. If travellers are sensitive to the heat, we’d suggest that they choose a camp with powered fans in its rooms.
The dining at Manze is communal and there are often different nationalities at the camp. The managers try to guide guests to sit next to others who understand the same language – and guests often find this useful. However, perhaps this sometimes appears slightly forced and they have resolved to try to direct guests more discreetly in the future. We’d always comment that if guests ever have a preference of who they sit with, then they should always let the manager know.
Lake Manze’s filtered water is perfectly safe to drink – and bottled water is an extra cost there for environmental reasons. It takes a lot of fuel and energy to make, transport, and dispose of bottles for water. Given the remote nature of the camp, they strive to reduce the waste that they produce. That said, the Lake Manze team acknowledge that the taste of the filtered water is not to everyone’s liking, and have since made bottled water free for those who really do not like the filtered stuff.
The Lake Manze team apologized if these travellers felt frustrated by the tipping situation. However, they feel that tipping is a personal choice, and that it’s less awkward to make tipping suggestions in the room’s literature, rather than discussing it with each guest. Information on tipping is provided in each tent and they urge guests to read this. It appears there was a language issue when the guide explained the tipping situation, and they apologise for this. We’d encourage guests to ask the managers at any camp if they are unsure how tipping operates, as it differs slightly from camp to camp.
Amazing safari at Lake Manze
We saw a pride of lions just five minutes after our plane landed, and before we had even reached the camp - a great way to begin our 5 days at Lake Manze. We thoroughly enjoyed the trips in the boat, and all the drives.
I think our favorite was the early morning drives with breakfast out in the middle of nowhere - our driver (Salom) and guide (Emmanuel) were excellent - full of knowledge about every animal, insect and bird. Definitely a good idea to stick with the same driver/guide pairing through your stay to ensure you always go somewhere different on each drive.
As to the animals - well having elephants in the camp, watching 3 lion cubs at play out on a drive, and then discovering a pack of wild dogs at rest in a river bed are memories we will treasure for years to come.
For anyone who wants to feel properly outdoors then Lake Manze is the place to go - my wife who is not keen on camping, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience - so Richard and his team are definitely doing something right!
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
The concept of Lake Maze as a simple camp being close to nature is a fabulous one but it just doesnt quite manage it in our view.
Negative points first..
The tents are great, but quite close together, overlooked by both neighbouring tents and a large number of Maasi guards and didnt actually look out onto the lake as we assumed they would (ours looked onto the back of the next tent).
One night both the tents either side of us were empty, wonderful we thought... we can leave the window flaps up and catch the breeze. Unfortunately the Guards sitting in the front porches of both neighbouring tents and their frequent torch shining onto ours meant that the windows went down pretty quickly - shame. We didnt quite understand the need for so many guards.
The guiding was very erratic, especially so on the drives which were very much in the 'tick the box and list the fact' style which unfortunately is all too common in Tanzania.
I think this is a Selous problem in general rather than just the camp area.. the animals, especially Elephants were very skittish.
It would have been lovely to have a place where you could sit with your Binos and a G&T to watch the action by the water, the camp really doesnt seem to make the most of it's location here.
Now the positives..
The Lake is the main attraction here and we ended up spending most of our time on it. We had an excellent boat guide one morning who obviously loved the birds in the area and was really enthusiastic in sharing his knowledge and experience. Fishing for catfish was also a great way to take in the calm of the lake.
Richard is a great character and runs the camp very well, it is quite regimented but we did get the impression that it needs to be. His conversation and wry questioning ended up being an unforseen highlight of our stay
There is a very wide mix of guests here, especially over the weekend when expats based in Dar visit for a couple of nights which made conversation in the bar very interesting, and multi lingual. We will always remember the baffled look on the face of the Spanish couple as our Belgian friend regaled them of the hunting style of the savnnah dwelling blue ringed octopus, complete with sound effects from the German vet sitting next to him!
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
The following is a brief update of our recent few days at Lake Manze. We found the accomodation ie. tents, dinning and relaxing facilities every thing we expected from myself and Sheila's previous experiences. The set up of the tents both in position and structure proved to be very exciting especially with the younger members of our family. Food was very good, very well prepared and of great varity. Richard and his staff were absolutely first class in attending to our needs and nothing was to much trouble and that included all our family in what can only be described as a lovely relaxing and welcoming atmosphere.
Lake Manze and the surrounding area I think exceeded our expectation,The diversity gave for really good game drives with great variety in the game and bird life we saw and if I say one section of our family (two adults and two of the children) had over two thousand photographs between them (we have not as yet had the opportunity to total the remainder) even for a first safari proves the wild life was in abundance.
Overall the trip was a very exciting adventure and all our family would like to express their thanks to Expert Africa, and feels you certainly lived up to your name.
Lake Manze camp review
Manze was a disappointment after Kwihala. The location was nothing special with next to no view despite being almost on the lakeside. The camp seemed crowded with the tents too close together and without much privacy. The furnishings were flimsy and the provision of candles for lighting seemed dangerous- most camps manage some sort of electric lighting nowadays. This indeed seemed a strange choice as they did have solar water heating. The food was OK but the camp seemed rather threadbare with dirty sand floors and rickety furniture- a chair broke under my not excessive weight! Our main gripe however was the water. This we were told was filtered and boiled water from the lake and was 'perfectly drinkable'. It may well have been safe but it tasted like pondwater and was simply foul and as they made tea and coffee from it they too were undrinkable. The alternative was to buy bottled water.
The game was actually excellent and the guides did make some effort to find things we were interested in but we got the impression that they were pretty disinterested and they lacked much more than minimal knowledge of the basics. They belonged to the 'find a lion at all costs' type of guides. We spent ages on one drive gathered round part of a dead impala up a tree with 8 other vehicles in attendance and then 'bundi bashed' the locality looking for the leopard that had evidently long since gone and was never coming back.
Given the large number of first timers at this camp we got the impression that it was actually directed at that group of 'first-timers' that combine a few days safari with a beach trip to Zanzibar and to be fair many of them thought the camp was fine although we suspected that it was because they did not know better.
We got the impression that it was not an altogether happy ship
time of a lifetime at Lake Manze tented camp
Altogether a wonderful experience made even more special by the friendliness and attentiveness of staff and the bespoke approach to activitiesRead more about the whole safari
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
A wonderful start to our safari adventure, the tents were great and we throughly enjoyed the hurricane lamps and no electricity.
Brilliant sightings of lion, leopard and elephants, our guide and driver were such fun but also very knowledgable and answered all our questions as if it was the first time they had been asked them. Loved the bush breakfasts and the trips on the lake gave another dimension to bush life.
The early morning walk was fascinating, and we learnt a huge amount. We really enjoyed the visits of Rifiki, the camp elephant, especially to the palms next to our tent, and to the bar area just before lunch, everyone rushing for their cameras! Sarah the assistant manager (Richard was away) was absolutely excellent, always smiling and really ensuring that everyone was happy and enjoying all the facilities to the full.
5*** plus We would go back tomorrow!
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
Facilities were very good, food again very good, the idea of having the evening meal all together outside under the stars, with the opportunity of seeing the night roaming animals under the spot light meant the the safari was an on going experience.
The only slight negative was by the 3 day the taste of the water had lost it charm & I switched back to the fresh bottled water.
They are still in the early days of the fishing experience & I have agreed with Richard to send him out some fishing lures.
Lake Manze Tented Camp review
A fantastic location by the lake, an almost total contrast to Mdonya.
We loved our stay here and the variety of activities on offer was excellent. Our guide, Nukumah, and driver, Ally, were tremendous - great company and so anxious to find any animals we were keen to see. The organisation of the camp was excellent and we have absolutely no complaints, but, for us, the atmosphere was somewhat more organised and timekeeping seemed more important.
There wasn't the same flexibility we had enjoyed previously. Having said this, we had fantastic game viewings and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Food was very good (particularly the lunches)
The seating allocation at dinners was over regimented - they seemed determined to keep Italians and British apart - a better way would have been to have 2 separate tables rather than one large one.
The last day was spoilt by being told at dinner the night before that our tents would be required for guests arriving during our morning game drive. As it was then too dark to pack, the decision was made to leave later for that drive and continue on to Selous safari camp taking a bush lunch when that could have been decided days earlier and we could have had a proper lunch at Selous safari camp.
Mosquitos were present in tents and dining area which caught us unawares because our previous camp (Mdonya) had none
Adam (our guide) was disappointing with limited bird knowledge and he did not know the area well having only been there a short time