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“Excellent Service & An Amazing Adventure”

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Lake Manze Tented Camp, Selous Game Reserve
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 12 December 2011

We had an incredible experience at Lake Manze. It was the first stop on our honeymoon safari tour in Tanzania, and I can't say enough about the location, the camp and the quality of the guides.

I don't know what expectations other travelers have about "luxury camps," but the permanent tents were clean, comfortable, stylish and private. I wouldn't have asked for anything else especially since we watched a wild elephant calmly pass by the front of our tent under the full moon. Even though we were in the middle of the wild, we always felt safe due to the Maasai guides that accompanied us to the dining and lounge area.

Due to the intimacy of the camp, we didn't encounter large tour groups and the clientele were very friendly as well. We dined under the stars every evening and the food was delicious.

We didn't feel forced to stay on a specific schedule, and our days were always flexible. The boat safaris were a once in a lifetime experience as we saw hundreds of crocodiles, birds, hippos and other animals grazing by the riverside. Our walking safari was so informative as well and all of the guides are knowledgeable.

An important note as well- they were incredibly accommodating to us as KLM misplaced our luggage and we arrived a day later. They were so flexible and friendly upon our arrival.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Lauren T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 October 2011

Lake Manze may be one of the cheaper camps in the Selous but it is excellent value for money. The photographs of the camp on its website do not do it justice. The tents, although not luxurious, are more spacious and better appointed than they appear, with a very comfortable bed, an outside loo and shower with running water (not just jugs and buckets). Also, they are permanently surrounded by wildlife - there are always impala and baboons in camp, elephants pass through daily and there are great views of hippos and birds in the lake.

In terms of game viewing, I would highly recommend the boat safari, on which we saw an incredible variety of birds, loads of hippos and crocodiles and came incredibly close to a large bull elephant on the shoreline. On the drives, we were lucky enough to see wild dogs but on the whole the game was fairly skittish compared with other parks (presumably because of the fact that hunting is permitted in 90% of the Selous) and, after some unseasonal rain, the game was fairly scattered. In the dry season it is usually more concentrated around the lake.

We were impressed by the food. The meals were fairly basic but always fresh and tasty and the communal open-air dining next to campfires creates a friendly atmosphere.

The only real criticism I would make is of the tipping situation. Like most camps, there is a tips box in the mess area but guests are informed that the drivers and guides do not share in the tips collected in the box and have requested to be tipped separately. This has created an annoying situation where, after every game drive or cruise, guests are expected to pay a tip. It would be better if you were able to leave a single tip at the end of your stay as is the case at most other camps.

Room Tip: We stayed in tent 6 but tents 4 and 5 had better views of the lake. Elephants seemed to favour high...
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank DB_n_JB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2011

Spent 4 nights here at the beginning of October and cannot praise the camp or staff enough
Wildlife viewing is exceptional.We saw everything we wanted including wild dogs,hyenas and of course lions (we were lucky enough to see a pair mating and also two females on a giraffe kill)
The birdlife is exceptional and we really recommend the boat safaris (hippos and crocs everywhere)
The tents are spacious and having no electricity made the whole experience so much more authentic particularly with elephants and giraffes walking a few metres from our tent.
We would really recommend Lake Manze for a brilliant safari experience

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank twill56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 October 2011

We spent 3 nights here and loved it! We were picked up for the landing strip and went straight on a land safari and saw wild dogs, lions, countless beautiful birds zebras and giraffes. The camp is very well thought out with the tents very well spread out. The food was fantastic with something different every night. There were two large tables seating 12 on each for dinner set outside under the stars but I can imagine this being difficult if you don't like sitting, talking and eating with other people (I suspect the management would arrange something else for you though). We enjoyed it and met some lovely people. The management, who were lovely, try and put you with the same driver and guides everyday which is great and 90% of the time it was just the two of us in our land rover. The tents were great, you were able to stand up and although there isn't any electricity there really is no need for it (camera batteries are charged at the main lobby while you're having dinner) and it was magical to see elephants lit by moonlight just in front of our tent in the early hours eating - amazing! We would definitely stay here again.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank loopylisalou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 September 2011

To put this review into perspective I should point out that this was my first experience of Africa and my first safari so I have nothing at all to make a comparison with. I travelled with just my wife, first to Selous Game Reserve and then on to Zanzibar. We went in August, after the rains but before the really hot weather. Every day was pleasantly hot without being over-powering and sleeping at night without air con was quite acceptable. We smothered ourselves in mosquito repellent everyday and even wore wrist and ankle bands but it was worth it because other guests were getting bitten and in 2 weeks in Africa we didn't get bitten once.
Selous was recommended by our travel agent as having fewer camps, fewer residing guests and therefore fewer jeeps following the animals around. We stayed there for 5 days and on some of the drives we did not see another person so this was certainly true. I did wonder if this in turn meant there were less animals to see but hardly a minute passed when we weren't watching some animal or other. It was non-stop action from the moment we left the airstrip, I won't list all the animals as someone else has already done that, the only notable thing that we didn't see was a leopard but others saw them so we just happened to be unlucky. We did however see the dogs which many others didn't but that is the nature of a safari I suppose, nothing is guaranteed. As mentioned by others the biggest surprise of all was the birds. I never had myself down as a twitcher, in fact I loathe the thought of it, but I'll admit the variety of colours, shapes and sizes was astounding. Some of my favourite photo's are of birds and I never thought I'd see the day when I said that!!
Lake Manze is a tented camp which I felt would add to the excitement of being on safari. What a great decision that was!! Yes they were tents but not as you'd know it, more like bungalows with canvas walls. The bed was huge and one of the most comfortable I have ever slept in. There was hot and cold water on demand, a fantastic shower and a proper flushing toilet (the only luxury I felt I couldn't live without, and you can even put the paper in it!!!!). I have stayed in more primitive hotel rooms!!! The tent was cleaned every day and a range of essentials like mosquito repellent and flying insect killer were among the items provided. The towels were folded in the shape of an elephant (although I teased Sara by saying I thought they were birds!!), Even the soap was wrapped in a leaf from a nearby tree. The lack of electricity was not an issue, my wife thought she wouldn't be able to live without her hairdryer but it really wasn't a problem. If it is a deliberate act to add to the authenticity of being on safari then it worked for me. There are ample candles, lanterns, torches (another item provided in your tent) and fires to provide light where needed.
The location of the camp was utterly sensational. Elephants passed within feet of the tent and bar area many times of the day and night. We saw giraffe, impala, hippos, even a buffalo all from the chair outside our tent. A scarey thought for some but I went there to see animals I just wasn't expecting to see them from my bed!!! The other thing I liked about this camp was you can do trips in a boat or on foot as well as in the jeep. There were 2 boat tours to be done so with a morning and afternoon walk to choose from you could really mix it up and avoid the repetition of doing drive after drive everyday. There was also a full day safari on offer which took you to a hot spa in the foothills. We heard some other guests saying the spa was not worth the long journey. If the journey had been in a tunnel that may have been true but on the way you saw the changing landscape, had dinner in the bush, visited the grave of Mr Selous himself plus watched about a thousand animals. The spa was interesting in it's own way if not a candidate for the shooting of the next Bounty advert, and you got to swim in it which was something to remember!
All the staff there were amazing. We had Roger for almost all our excursions and in 5 days we had only the one outing with another couple, the rest of the time it was like a private taxi service. Roger was brilliant, a very intelligent and thoughtful young man and a great ambassador for his country. But we also had Adam a couple of times and he was great too so I have to believe that everyone there was of an equally high calibre. The bar staff and waiters did their bit too, and made rest time an equally enjoyable experience. Final word has to go to Sara the camp manager, a remarkable young lady. She was so friendly and helpful and she always made us feel like the only guests there. How she managed to juggle the resources without making it seem like a massive chore was incredible. Every evening she came round and asked you what you wanted to do the next day and what time did you want to do it and without exception that is what you did, no fitting in with anyone else or taking second best, it was just done. Even if you changed your mind at the last moment it didn't seem to ruffle anyone's feathers, it was just done.
The food was great and there was plenty of it. No choices as previously mentioned by other reviewers, but I am a very fussy eater and didn't have a problem with any of it. At night we ate outside at a long table with a bonfire at each end and Masai guarding us so it was a great atmosphere!!
4 days is probably the ideal stay as I have to confess the 5th day we felt we had seen everything but I shed a tear when it came to say goodbye as I really didn't want to go, despite Sara taking the mickey about my "invisible socks" held up by my mosquito bands.
If you want to feel like you've lived in the bush go to Lake Manze for an experience you're unlikely to regret.
To sum up, what I didn't like about this camp was leaving. What I did like about this camp was absolutely everything. Hats off to you and your team Sara!

Room Tip: The higher numbered tents seemed to have more animals walking past, the lower numbers had a better v...
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  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank RSD58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2011

My wife and I had never been to a safari place before - this was excellent, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to do a safari. We were only here two nights/three days but it felt longer, in a good way! I think three nights would be ideal but if like us you can only afford two you should definitely do it; I think there's no point staying much longer unless you're a real wildlife fan or you want to see rarer animals like leopards or wild dogs. The place is a very well oiled machine: all the staff acted like total professionals whatever their job. The manager, Sara, gave good advice on how to make best use of our limited time. Our main guide and driver, Roger and Ally, were brilliant - a mine of information and an excellent rough-terrain driver respectively. We saw a great range of wildlife, including lions on five occasions, and spent a lot of time on or around lakes and channels full of hippos and crocodiles. The camp isn't 'luxurious', but is all you could really want. We had elephants in front of our tent a couple of times - slightly scary but the Masai security were looking out for us, and we got some great photos! I had some concerns about the 'open to the sky' bathroom as my wife doesn't like insects - obviously there were a few around but it wasn't that bad. Food is decent, good for veggies and vegans, less so for the committed carnivore. The communal dining may seem an irritant for some but was actually alright and encourages you to chat to other guests. The bar is very reasonably priced. The lack of electricity wasn't a problem - you can charge cameras etc at the bar, there are plenty of light sources in the tent, and it gives the place a bit of a romantic ambience in my opinion. Overall then, a great place, thoroughly recommended.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank jimbtho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2011

The density of game is not as great in Selous as in other parks but there are way fewer humans and the terrain is totally different. Lake Manze is one of the least expensive places in Selous to stay but it doesn't feel like it at all. The service is great, totally personalized and the food is great. We lay in bed at night in our totally comfortable bed listening to elephants and hippos. During the day the camp manager totally accommodated whatever we wanted to do that day. We love the guide who picked us up from the airstrip so he stayed with us for all 5 days.

Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
3  Thank KimSL10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Lake Manze Tented Camp, Selous Game Reserve

Address: Lake Manze, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Lindi Region > Selous Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 27 Speciality Lodging in Selous Game Reserve
Price Range: £677 - £683 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Lake Manze - Experience adventure! Keep it natural! Feel the thrills of having an elephant eating Doum palm seeds right outside your tent. Hear the sound of its rumbling stomach and see how tender a mother is to her calf. We have so much to learn from our animal friends, teachings that can help us create a better world. We keep everything as it was before we arrived and this is why animals use the camp as much as our guests. Experience this magical, romantic camp on the shore of the Lake Manze with stunning lake views from your own veranda. Experience the sunrise on a walking safari. Enjoy a delicious picnic bush breakfast or lunch during your game drive as you spot lions and wild dogs. Take a fishing trip on the lake. Get close and personal with hippos and crocodiles and thousands of exotic birds on a sunset boat safari. Delight in a sumptuous candlelight dinner on the lake shore to the symphony of the surrounding. You'll never want to leave! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lake Manze Tented Camp, Selous Game Reserve Hotel Selous Game Reserve
Lake Manze Tented Camp, Selous Game Reserve Tanzania

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