The appeal of the Selous, aside from the great scenery and wildlife, is that, because it's a reserve and not a national park, off road driving is permitted.This is an advantage when it comes to more intimate game viewing and in our case enabled us to enjoy wild dogs, which were completely at ease with the vehicle and frolicked, regurgitated for the pups and ran alongside us for quite lengthy periods.
Lake Manze provides both driver and guide in each vehicle, and with all those eyes patrolling the landscape game viewing is excellent. We had great sightings and close encounters with most of the regular animals, including a wonderful leopard viewing that wouldn't have been possible without the ability to go off track.
Because the camp is located on an elephant walkway, daily encounters with the big beasts is a given. One lone young bull is a fixture and comes by regularly to visit the kitchen area and to shake the doum palms for fruit. This proved a little troubling for one guest as the elephant reached out to grab a fruit which had rolled into the lounge area and touched his leg with the tip of his trunk which just about scared the guy to death!
I was using the tent bathroom one day when there was a shower of dead leaves and fruit bouncing off the canvas and when I stood up to see what was happening I was practically eye to eye with the elephant who just kept about his meal. It is astonishing to see such a huge beast pass within centimetres of tent poles without touching anything.
Being unfenced the camp often has interesting visitors and one morning a group of lions kept some visitors tent bound for quite some time as they passed slowly through. Hence the warning about no outside travel between tents at night without an askari.
On our final day the people we had shared a vehicle with had a close encounter with lions at their tent. The lady, a charming octogenarian,(which gives me hope for safari going in my dotage!), was moving in her tent with the sides up. She was wearing a white nighty, which apparently is a colour that fascinates animals, and a sub-adult male fixated on this and pressed his nose against the netting giving her, so she said, a look of mixed longing, interest and hunger. Needless to say she was a bit put out, dropped to the floor and yelled for an askari. It took quite a while to sort this out as there were 7 lions moving through and eventually vehicles had to be brought in to move the lions on.
All in all we found Lake Manze camp to be a wonderful place. As I said before it's a basic no luxury camp that really has a true safari feel about it and we would return in an instant. The guiding is very good and the area hums with game. The food is good, although a couple of meals could have been improved. This minor detail is now being addressed by the management and with some tweaking should be as good as at Mdonya, which will be the next camp we visit.