Reviews of Lake Manze Adventure Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Simple and relaxing
Our family of four started our safari adventure at Lake Manze where we stayed for three nights. The staff were friendly and welcoming. Our tents were comfortable - the girls slept in a room attached to the main tent. The showers and toilets open to the stars and bats at night gave us a different experience from the UK.
Our guide Alfred and driver Daniel were great. Very friendly and full of information. Daniel was a careful, considerate driver. However, our daughter's highlight of the trip was when he "put his foot down" to race across the bush to find us a leopard! We had some wonderful game drives seeing exciting and interesting sites every day. The trip to the hot springs was fun and we bathed in the waters hotter than a bath.
Unfortunately Lake Manze itself had dried up so we probably had less experience of animals near the camp than usual. However, our boat trip on the adjacent Lake Nzerakere with Elton our guide, was one of our loveliest times especially seeing the storks flying back home in formation against the backdrop of a stunning sunset. Eating the evening meal at a communal table gave us a chance to chat with other guests. The lack of electricity in the tents meant that torches were essential.
Lake Manze Review
We are seasoned safari hands and deliberately chose Lake Manze Camp for two reasons.
Firstly because it offers a more authentic 'bush' experience than some of the more luxurious camps. This proved to be the case - we were able to watch elephants bathing and giraffes passing in front of our tent. The camp blends well with the surroundings giving a feel of fly camping but with added facilities! The tent has no electricity but is spacious and well appointed.
Secondly because we hoped it would provide good game viewing and guiding. The guiding was first class both on land and on the lake. We had stayed at other camps in Selous and had to travel longish distances to see much game. At Lake Manze the game was on the doorstep.
Nothing was too much trouble for the managers - who were under pressure due to lack of water (now resolved). Food was the only negative - not very high quality although vegetarians might be happy.
Lake Manze Adventure Camp review
Lively camp, good atmosphere, pleasant helpful staff. Game drives good; particularly liked exclusive use of 4WD and driver PLUS guide (same individuals throughout), which increases chance of sightings. Only adverse comment relates to food, which was pretty dire we thought.
I'm pretty tough on gradings and believe Excellent should be awarded only in really exceptional circumstances. So, for me, Good is a pretty high rating.
Expert Africa comments
The manager at Lake Manze was sad to here these guests were disappointed by the quality of the food. We understand that there was only one chef in camp at the time, which although should not have affected the standard, may have had an influence. Since then another chef from Zanzibar has arrived who is working closely with the staff to improve the menu.
Great safari at Lake Manzi
Adam and Mgoma were excellent guides/driver. In particular, we were very impressed by Mgoma's thoughtfulness in positioning the vehicle for the best light for photographs and shade when he was able to do so without disturbing the wildlife.
As our stay at Lake Manze was 6 nights it was good to have the same guide and driver for the duration of our stay as they knew where we had been and what we had seen.
Being at the end of the dry season we were unable to do any boat trips due to the lack of water in the lake, although this was adequately made up for by the game drives. It was also a great experience to have elephants and other wildlife wandering into the camp day and night.
Lake Manze Adventure Camp review
We stayed in Tent 1 as requested and glad we did. It is a long walk from the main part of camp but the privacy and view are worth it. Just sitting on the porch in front of the tent was at times as good as a game drive. We had a small problem with tiny ants one morning and the staff took care of it very quickly. The nights were a little warm, even with the one fan going but then we expected that and knew what we were getting in to.
Food was decent and the staff attentive. We enjoyed the boat trip and absolutely loved our guide and driver on the game drives. There is much to see in the Lake Manze area although elephants were a big scarce. We finally saw one big heard of about 40 on the second day but they were a little ways off. Our drivers went above and beyond to make sure we got the most out of each drive which was very much appreciated.
Expect to many bumpy drives and the camp is dusty given the floor of the main camp is dirt. A nice feature was the outlets in the main camp were universal so we didn't need an adapter for our US plugs. Not having electricity was not really a big deal. We had our own flashlights and headlamp which came in handy.
Lake Manze Adventure Camp review
After quite a long journey from Ruaha River Lodge, we arrived at about 2 pm and were welcomed by Rebecca, the young manager who had only been at Lake Manze for 3 months. She took her time to explain everything to us and we were pleasantly surprised that lunch had been kept for us.
The activities on offer included a boat safari, early morning game drive (6.30 am), afternoon game drive (at 4 pm) or all day game drives which left at 8.30. We did them all and were delighted with all. Victor, our guide, was very knowledgeable, as Ngome, our driver and it was nice to have them on most drives. The boat safari was very relaxing after the journey.
On the full day game drive, there were times when we would drive for maybe an hour, seeing not much, but were then rewarded with something spectacular.
We thoroughly enjoyed having dinner out in the open on a long table as it gave the opportunity to talk to fellow guests. The food was very good and plentiful
Nice break from traditional safari
Overall the Lake Manze Camp was a pleasant experience. The camp itself was well maintained and looked after and your were made to feel welcome from the moment you arrived.
The tents are a good standard and had running hot water which was a nice surprise. The food offered by the camp was of good quality, if the range was a bit limited.
The one big positive of the camp was the boat trips that were offered - these gave you a very different experience from the traditional jeep safari and let you get very close to a number of animal and birds which is not possible in any other situation. Also a trip to the hot springs as part of the all-day game drive was great fun and a different experience. The other postive was the guides and drives at Manze - Hillary and Zakora
Looking back, I think having only two night (instead of 3) would have been enough in Manze, for no other reason than the animals in the park seemed to be very aware of the jeeps / people to a much greater extent that any other location we went to. This meant it was very common for them to move quickly area from open areas when a jeep arrived or to back off to a safe distance - according to the guides this was due to the hunting that takes place in the south of the park.
Could not recommend this place highly enough. It is exactly what we were looking for and more. The staff were exceptionally friendly and did everything possible to make your stay a memorable one.
Would love to stay here again.
Excellent location Lake Manze adventure camp
The camp is in a superb location over looking the lake with lots of visiting animals nearby,the highlight of our stay were the trips by boat out on the lake with our guide Mbargo.Thanks to Daniel our driver for his superb traking skills.Read more about the whole safari
Lake Manze Adventure Camp review
Some background before we go into the details:
We are experienced safari travellers who have been on safari in South Africa, Tanzania, Botswana and Kenya before visiting Selous, and we have stayed at 20 different lodges and camps while travelling. Because of this we had high expectations and quite a lot to compare with. We'll divide our comments into 2 parts: The Lake Manze Adventure camp and the safari experience.
Lake Manze Adventure Camp
The camp was excellent. It may be a bit rough for some people, with no electricity in the tent and shower and toilet outside, but for us it was just perfect. We had a really nice tent at the far end of the camp, with elephants, giraffes, impalas and buffalos very close to the tent .The common area was also very cosy with nice atmosphere, friendly staff and pretty much dialy visits by a herd of elephants. One thing we did miss was sitting by the fire before dinner (simply because there was none).
The Lake Manze Adventure camp is for people who like a somewhat rougher stay out in the wild, but still with everything you need. We enjoyed our stay very much. Highly recommended!
The safari experience
The game viewing and the scenery was much better at the Lake Manze area than around the Impala camp. We saw lions, elephants and a lot of hyenas every day, and there were a lot more wildebeest, zebra and impalas who were also more relaxed than at the Impala camp. We had a really nice guide and good drivers at Lake Manze, and it felt like they tried hard to show us as much as possible.
The boat safari was really beautiful with lots of hippos, crocodiles, kingfishers, bee-eaters and other birds, highly recommended!
We would recommend both new and experienced safari-goers to stay at the Lake Manze camp and that part of Selous, ideally in combination with some other reserve or park, like the Serengeti.
Important note about cheetahs
There is one major error on the Expert Africa webpage. It clearly states that there are ´huge populations of cheetah´ in Selous. There are however NONE. This is major issue for people who book safaris based on wildlife to experience and photograph. It's very important that facts about the wildlife is correct, since it at least for us is of big importance when choosing where to go.