Lemala Manyara is an authentic tented camp located in Manyara National Park...
Lemala Manyara: Our full report
***This lodge is currently closed***
Lemala Manyara is a seasonal tented camp set in the heart of Northern Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park, about 60 minutes south of the park’s main gate. It stands on the edge of some acacia woodland and has views, through some vegetation, towards Lake Manyara itself.
Lemala Manyara is one of only two lodges situated within the park’s boundaries; most lodges which focus their activities on Lake Manyara stand outside of the park’s borders, and access the park through its northern gate. This means that the northern end the park can get very busy with traffic, especially just after the park gates open in the morning, and just before they close in the evening.
Lemala Manyara’s location in the middle of the park gives its guests access to the park’s quietest wildlife-viewing area, the southern region of the park, and allows them to keep one step ahead of the many vehicles, which bring day-visitors to Lake Manyara National Park.
The main mess tent at Lemala Manyara houses the lounge, dining area and bar. The lounge is furnished with comfortable sofas, leather chairs, and a large low coffee table scattered with a few nature books and magazines. The canvas floors are covered with brightly coloured rugs.
When we visited in July 2013, a couple of teenage boys were playing backgammon here between safari activities. A bookshelf to one side houses some curios and beaded jewellery that is available for purchase. At the other end of the mess tent, is a long dining table where all the meals are enjoyed. At night this is set with candles so guests can all dine together and reflect on the day's sightings. Beside the table is a drinks cabinet that acts as the bar.
In the evening a campfire is lit at Lemala Manyara and camp chairs set around it. This is a great spot for guests to get together for pre-dinner drinks, whilst doing some stargazing.
There are eight tents at Lemala Manyara, each accommodating up to three people, as well as one family tent suitable for two adults and two children under 12. All of the tents have wooden floors covered in rugs and wooden twin or double beds with bright-green bedcovers. They are comfortably furnished in a colonial style with wooden chests, a leather chair and an old writing desk. Beside each bed is a bedside table with bottled drinking water, a solar lamp and a radio for contacting staff. It is also possible to make your own tea, coffee or hot chocolate – hot water is delivered in a flask on request. There is a hanging rail with canvas shelving to store clothing.
Through a canvas flap at the back of the tent is a spacious en-suite bathroom with flush toilet, a copper basin set on top of a wooden cabinet and a bucket shower. A member of staff will heat water over a fire, and fill your shower ‘system’ when you request it; we had lovely hot showers within 15 minutes of requesting hot water!
Guests have a choice of staying here with their own driver/guide and arranging their own activities within the park; or opting to arrive independently and use Lemala Manyara’s own vehicles and guides. In addition to daytime 4WD safaris, walks and night drives are also possible at an extra cost. These need to be pre-booked in advance, when we book your stay here. (NB: It’s essential that you read the Quadbike warning in the ‘Health & Safety’ section below for our comments on insurance issues regarding this activity.)
Lemala Manyara is a sister camp to Lemala Ngorongoro, the seasonal Lemala Mara and Ndutu camps, Lemala Ewanjan and the recently opened Lemala Kuria Hills.
Our viewLemala Manyara is an authentic tented camp with friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere. If you want your visit to do justice to Lake Manyara National Park, then come and stay here for two nights. It’ll be worth it: this camp’s location means that your experience should transcend what is possible for most in-and-out day-trippers.
Ideal length of stay: Stay here for two nights to explore the quieter parts of Lake Manyara National Park and take advantage of the walking and night drives on offer.
Directions: Lemala Manyara is a four-hour drive from Arusha, or a 90-minute drive from Manyara airstrip.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Lemala Camps
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: During a brief visit here in July 2013, we found the food to be very tasty.
We arrived in time for dinner and had a starter of butternut squash soup served with freshly baked bread rolls, followed by a pork chop served with potato wedges and fresh vegetables, and finished off with fresh mango drizzled with ginger syrup for dessert.
For breakfast the following morning, a buffet was laid out with a choice of fresh fruit, freshly baked muffins, cereals and fruit juice. A cooked breakfast was also available with a choice of eggs, bacon, sausage and toast, as well as tea or coffee.
Unfortunately, we were not in camp long enough to sample lunch.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks are included, except for premium wines, champagne and spirits.
Further dining info: It is possible for meals to be served to your tent on request.
Attitude towards children: Lemala Manyara welcomes children aged six years and older.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be aged six years and older.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Although Lemala Manyara welcomes children of six years and older, we feel that the camp is better suited to older, more mature children – perhaps over the age of about ten.
Notes: Parents need to be aware that the camp is not fenced and that big and dangerous game wanders through the camp day and night. Children need to be supervised at all times.
Communications: There is no WiFi or email, but there is good cellphone reception.
TV & radio: There are no TVs or radios.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The camp staff are trained in first aid and there are doctors in Mto wa Mbu, Karatu or Arusha. For more urgent cases, it is possible to be flown out of Manyara airstrip.
Quadbike warning: quad-biking is sometimes available as an activity from Lemala Manyara. As with any potentially dangerous activity, it’s vital that you take responsibility for ensuring that you have adequate travel insurance prior to getting involved. Be aware that some insurances cover quad-bike activities only for bikes with lower engine ratings: check such clauses particularly carefully before you get on a bike.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris (guards) are on duty at night to escort guests to and from their tents after dark.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main area, as well as in each tent.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included and is limited to three garments per person. For cultural reasons underwear is not accepted. Soap is provided in the bathrooms for this.
Money: No exchange facilities are provided.
Accepted payment on location: Credit cards are not accepted. Cash payments are usually accepted in US dollars, euros, British pounds and Tanzanian shillings.