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Trip Report Tanzania (Selous): Trip Report for Lake Manze Camp

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I went to Tanzania's southern circuit for 2 weeks from June 23 - July 5, 2014, as a solo traveller. I stayed 4 nights in each of 3 ca

The only reason that I didn't love this camp was my reaction to too much nature and not anything the camp did wrong. There was too much exposure to small creatures/insects for my liking - I enjoyed seeing all the animals in camp during the day and didn't mind hearing the hippos and hyenas outside my tent at night. What I couldn't get used to were the little frogs, lizards & crickets in my tent since their skittering and jumping around was unnerving. After the first night, I was ready to cut my stay short and leave Lake Manze but there was no where to go, so I discussed with the manager (Rebecca) and we came to a satisfactory solution. She provided a bed net and arranged to have Masai check my tent each night after dinner and get rid of any creatures they found. (I think I provided quite a chuckle for the Masai, but I was also amused when they were freaked out by the little frog hopping across their foot.) I very much appreciated her level-headed reaction to my concerns and efforts working with my tour operator to find options.

The boat safaris were excellent; the guide, Baggo, was thoughtful and didn't chatter but showed me so many birds, trees, plants, crocs and animals. I loved the early mornings on the water best, it was quiet, peaceful and we puttered along in our little boat seeing beautiful things. One morning, he spotted elephants in the bushes and knew they were coming to cross the river, so we were able to watch a family cross and play in the water. The game drives were also very good (guide: Adam and driver: Ali); in addition to the animals, Adam showed me smaller things like the ant lion and tracks. Also enjoyed talking with them.

Food was good - equivalent to basic, home cooked meals. Chicken pot pie was noticeably tasty! The dinners under the stars were difficult for me due to the number of bugs - I know they didn't bite, but the large moths and grass-hoppers were a distraction that diluted my pleasure in the food and magnificent sky.

Service at all levels was very nice. Masai escorts were a pleasant surprise; I've always heard of Masai and was glad to see them used in a role befitting their culture and pride. Some of them spoke English well and enjoyed talking with guests, so we joked about the hippos. At night, I felt reassured hearing their walking sticks on the paths and seeing their lights, knowing that they were patrolling the grounds.

I liked the fact that Manze offered a small curio shop where items made in the employee's villages were sold and all proceeds went to the villagers. They were the only camp to do this and I bought a carved zebra and about 10 bead bracelets. Great idea.

In sum, I did appreciate all the animals around the camp, liked the location, enjoyed the game drives w/Adam & Ali, met interesting fellow guests and liked spending the afternoons in the communal lounge area watching the baboons, elephants, etc. but the night times were not my cup of team so would not return and would recommend it with caveats. (Having said that, the camp was full all 4 nights w/mostly Brits but one or two American couples, so the critters issue was solely me.)

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