The Manor

The Manor: Our full report

Rooms
20 rooms
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 4 reviews
Children
Good for children
Open
All year

The Manor is a luxury lodge located on the Shangri-La Coffee Estate; it covers 6km2 of the Ngorongoro Highlands, adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Most visitors will probably use this as a place to eat and sleep – while driving into the Ngorongoro Crater during the day for their main activity.

The Manor was only built in 2008, but its Cape Dutch homestead style means you might be forgiven for thinking you were in the South African Cape winelands of the nineteeth century rather than Tanzania.

The Manor‘s main areas are inside the beautiful manor house, with traditional gables and wooden sash windows. A high-ceilinged central atrium, with large double doors at each end, separates the lounge from the dining room.

The main atrium and lounge at The Manor is dotted with dark-wood furniture, Persian rugs, sumptuous sofas, and huge flower arrangements. There is a large fireplace and even a grand piano. A small bar with leather high stools sits to one side of the lounge. Outside the lounge is a large patio with tables and chairs under shady umbrellas where guests can sit and enjoy a drink with views over the gardens.

On the other side of The Manor’s central hall is the dining area, which is simply but stylishly furnished with pale gold high-backed upholstered chairs.

Downstairs is a full-size billiards room and TV/cinema room (bring your own DVDs), as well as a room where wine tastings are offered.

Adjacent to the manor house, brick paths lead to the swimming pool in a walled garden with a few sun-loungers and umbrellas. (The paths can be slippery after rain: they look great, but take care.) There is a covered patio area here, with sofas, where guests can enjoy lunch. Beside the pool is a spa with two massage rooms, where the resident therapist offers a selection of massages, manicures and pedicures.

The 18 similar rooms at The Manor (12 of them with king-size beds, 6 with twin beds) are dotted throughout the gardens in ten cottages. All have views over the surrounding coffee plantation and the rolling green hills of the escarpment beyond. Also decorated in the smart Cape Dutch style, each room has its own private courtyard and deck (with seating, recliners and table), a comfortable lounge, a central fireplace – welcome in the evenings during the cooler months of the year in July and August – and high-quality dark-wood period furniture. The rooms are carpeted and have large king-size or twin dark-wood beds covered in crisp, white linen and rich red bedcovers and cushions. Tall travellers will want to know that the beds are built in the sleigh design, with footboards. Every room also has a delightful rocking chair, and there’s a modest-size digital safe in each room too.

Each of the spacious and stylish en-suite bathrooms has a heated floor, a freestanding claw-foot bath, huge rainfall shower, twin basins and a separate toilet. Bath gowns and high quality toiletries are provided.

One of the rooms is suitable for mobility-impaired guests, as it has no step.

Apart from the standard rooms, there is also a separate family cottage, known as the Stable Cottage, which sleeps six. There’s a double bedroom and a twin bedroom downstairs, both en-suite, as well as a separate lounge. Up a wooden staircase, in the eaves, is a child-friendly area with a spacious carpeted twin-bedded room with skylights. Opposite the bedroom is a children’s playroom with a TV (DSTV satellite channels) and DVD player, games, a sofa and cushions on the floor. There is even a children’s bathroom with kiddie-sized toilet, basin and low shower. The Stable Cottage has floor-standing fans, though they are rarely needed.

For most people, activities at The Manor focus on visits into Ngorongoro Crater or Lake Manyara National Park – either with your own vehicle and safari guide, or with one of the Manor’s four vehicles and one of the guides based here. Mountain bikes are also provided for the more energetic who wish to cycle with a guide through the nearby hills and villages. And it’s also possible to do a tour of the coffee plantation followed by a coffee tasting.

As well as the immaculate grounds and buildings to enjoy, the Manor has its own stables with three horses (Jackson, Sasakwa and Equinox) and a pony for children to ride (Bambi). Guests are able to go out for a ride through the coffee plantations accompanied by an instructor. It is also possible to combine a horse ride with a picnic lunch – which is served to you in the grounds of The Manor. During the day the horses are released into a paddock when they are not out riding. Note that the Expert Africa team members who have visited don’t claim any expertise in assessing the horses, riding equipment or the quality of the riding instruction here.

Our view

The Manor is a graceful, pleaceful and charming lodge with friendly and very professional staff, at a high price tag. This is a luxurious base for exploring the Ngorongoro Crater, and perhaps Lake Manyara – with one suite of rooms which is particularly family-friendly. We really liked the Afro-European architecture of The Manor, which is unlike any of the other plantation-style lodges in Tanzania. The mix of natural tones, classic furniture, polished wooden floors and traditional architecture – not to mention touches like the complimentary sherry in every room and baths run for your return from the crater – results in a smart colonial style that works well.

Geographics

Location: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Spend two nights at the Manor to have a full day exploring Ngorongoro Crater and its surrounding conservation area. The Manor is a sister lodge to Tarangire Treetops and Migration Camp, it is of a similar high quality with great food and service, and makes a great combination with Tarangire National Park and the Serengeti.

Directions: The Manor is 40 minutes by road from Manyara airstrip, 2 hours and 45 minutes by road from Arusha and about 40 minutes from the Crater rim.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Property Chain - Elewana

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we last visited The Manor in April 2015, we did not stay to eat. However, we had a look at the menus for the day and this is what guests would have had:

A special breakfast menu included pancakes, toasted brioche, a selection of omelettes, a full English breakfast with all the trimmings, French toast or a ploughman’s platter with a selection of cheeses, cold meats and pickles. There was also the option of homemade muesli, cereals, fruit and various breads. There's a fine conservatory off the dining room which makes a perfect breakfast venue.

If you're in the lodge for lunch you'll find it's an à la carte menu that changes daily. On our visit the menu offered salads, pasta dishes, a tortilla wrap, a vegetarian dish, beef burger, fish cakes or sirloin steak. Desserts included fresh-fruit salad, or apple-and-banana pie topped with home-made ice cream. Lunch could be served in the dining room, on the patio, or by the pool.

The silver service dinner starts at 7.30pm and consists of a choice of three courses with a choice of three starters, three main courses (red/white meat, fish, or a vegetarian option) followed by a choice of three desserts.

Most of the food served at The Manor is grown on the farm and is very fresh.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are usually included, except for cellar wines and champagne.

Further dining info: Yes, there's room service available.

Special interests

Riding holidays: The Manor has its own stables with three resident horses, as well as a pony for children to ride. Rides are normally done through the coffee plantation surrounding The Manor. The cost for this (July 2013) is US$30 per person per hour.

See more ideas for Riding holidays in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: The Manor happily welcomes children of all ages.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: The Manor can arrange child minding with their house keeping staff, though parents should be aware that the staff have no formal training in child care.

Equipment: Baby cots and high chairs are available.

Notes: The Manor has some larger rooms with a lower veranda, which is great for small families with younger children. Larger families with older children may prefer the family cottage, which has three bedrooms.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is a backup generator.

Communications: The Manor has good cellphone coverage, but there are no fixed-line phones in the rooms, only an internal phone service. WiFi is available in the main area and guests can use the office laptop free of charge.

TV & radio: The Manor has a small cinema with a TV.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Unlimited bottled drinking water is supplied to guests.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The managers at The Manor are first-aid trained, and there are doctors at the good FAME Hospital a ten-minute drive away in Karatu.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: There are askaris (guards) around The Manor throughout the day and night. There is also an electric fence around the property to keep animals out.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers beside all the fireplaces and a fire hose is shared between every two rooms. Frequent fire-training of staff takes place.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at The Manor, and if given to the staff in the morning it is returned the same day. Clothes are machine washed.

Money: It is usually possible to exchange small amounts of currency and an exchange rate is received from their head office in Arusha when required.

Accepted payment on location: The Manor will accept cash in British pounds, euros, US dollars and Tanzanian shillings. They will also accept MasterCard and Visa at no additional charge. They do not accept Amex cards or travellers' cheques.