Day 4 - Lake Manze Camp, Selous Game Reserve
Well, all good things come to an end, but sometimes even better things happen too!
After lunch I was driven to Lake Manze camp – a journey of 1-2 hours. The road was quite wet with the recent rain, and in parts there was black cotton soil, but our sturdy landrover negotiated the bad spots with little effort.
At the camp I was greeted by Richard, the British manager of Manze camp, and Sarah the Italian assistant manager. The camp was pretty full, and they showed me to my tent along the lake shore, shaded by doum palms. The grass was quite high and very green, and as I walked with a friendly Masaai askari, we passed grazing impalas. This camp is well known for the animals passing through, especially many elephants.
There is a large lodge area, with a palm thatched roof and sandy floor, and it the whole camp is set on a spit of land between two parts of Lake Manze, so there is usually a cool breeze wafting through. This helps, especially at night, when it can be a little warm and sticky at this time of year. The camp is very widespread, the tents are spread out, about 30-50 m apart from each other.
My tent at Manze camp, together with previous occupant
My tent was set on a cool cement platform, excellent for keeping the sand outside! I saw that all the tents are on slightly raised mounds, to give good drainage when it rains, and a nice view of the lake, with animals coming down to drink. When we arrived there was an elephant grazing nearby, so we took a circumspect route around him!
Tent 3 - the interior with dressing and bathroom beyond, and the veranda and view
The tent was similar to those of Impala camp, with netting windows, and canvas blinds that can be raised and lowered. It was a little simpler, with rush mats on the canvas floor, a canvas and wood wardrobe with some hanging space, a lockup chest with a large padlock and key and a shelf unit behind the bed. On the veranda was a table and deck chairs.
Behind the main tent was the usual dressing area with running water and handbasin and a towel rack and laundry basket. Behind this was the wc cubicle and the shower cubicle next to it, with hot and cold water. Both were open to the sky (which I love, showering under the stars is a heavenly experience!)
The Lounge area where guests gather in the evening for sundowners and to chat about the day's sightings
At 7.30 I was escorted by a Masaai to the bar and restaurant area, where other guests were gathered – a mixture of British, Dutch and Swedish people exchanging their stories of the day’s sightings. We dined at a long table under the stars outside, in front of the lake. There were paraffin lamps hung around us and candles on the table and askaris kept a watch. An elephant appeared from the bushes and wandered past, and a genet cat scurried up and down a nearby tree. A Scops owl sat above, peering down at us with sleepy eyes.
Lunch is in the shady lodge, but evening dining is always under the stars on the lake shore, if the weather allows
The food was very pleasant, a lot of fresh vegetables, pasta, with chicken or beef most nights. The bread was freshly baked, and dessert was a very nice pie made by the pastry chef. One night we had cottage pie which was excellent! In the daytime lunch tended to be a mixture of salads, which seemed perfect for the temperature.
Back in my tent I fell asleep quickly, though hyaenas calling woke me briefly in the early hours.
.....forward to Day 5