This was not my first safari so I was not expecting to be impressed, but I must honestly say this was my best safari ever.
The tents at Manyara Ranch Conservancy were definitely luxury accommodation: plenty of room, best hot showers in Tanzania, stylish furnishings.
The food was exquisite and abundant. Having sundowners with the sun setting over Lake Manyara, and the breakfast the next day in the bush after a game drive, overlooking the dam and the wildlife, was just amazing.
I did not expect to be this amazed by the actual game driving since I have lived in East-Africa for years.
But having the Masai spotter with us in the car, the driver-guide being knowledgeable, the ranch being such a big site where you are all alone, the dams all over the ranch attracting all sorts of animals..
it all contributed to us having a fantastic safari experience.
After dinner we had an extra night drive and that was definitely very special. Nocturnal animals are a completely different ball game and we have seen things I had never seen before. The diversity of everything we had seen that day was wonderful.
Extra special was the horse riding. A place that offers so many activities in the middle of the bush, but still gives you the feeling you are there all alone, is unique in it's kind.
And for those that consider responsible tourism a must: this tented camp is built in collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation in order to protect the wildlife corridor that exists in this area
Yes, I said Awesome sauce.
That's a word I reserve for the absolute most amazing, best things that I've
encountered. Manyara Ranch Conservancy is Awesome sauce.
You get a bed to sleep on, a toilet, shower, sink, and that's where stops being a hotel and turns in to a high end nature experience.
With Chris and Shoshanna you get two people that truly care about guests, and add in Langete, Julius, Innocent, and the rest of the crew and the service level is insane. Especially when you go on a night drive or a walking safari, or enjoy sundowners.
Manyara Ranch Conservancy is different than a national park because not only are there a limited number guests allowed but you are also able to go off-road.
You truly are in nature. It's hard to explain
how different this is when there are really no rules preventing you from going
to see something closer up, at night, or on foot, all of which are not really
possible in a national park.
The walking safaris were one of my favorite things to do at Manyara Ranch, we got to go walking around the Ranch and explore the smaller things like Termite Mounds (really very interesting), insects, plant life, and even larger game including giraffes, monkeys and gazelle.
Chris and Langeti make up a great team for these walking safaris and at no point do you feel unsafe.
If you're going to go on a walking safari I highly recommend wearing gaiters (so stuff doesn't get stuck in your socks), long pants and hiking boots, just trust me, it's worth it.
The night drives were great, we got to see bush baby, an armadillo, some nocturnal birds, and a variety of other creatures. Really one of the best and most unique experiences I've ever had, and not available anywhere else in Tanzania that I know of.
The dining is decent, but not great. Every meal was edible and they were able to make sure that my food allergy was accommodated. The communal dinner was really a great way to meet people since breakfast was usually split up by travelling group. The service was great and there are libations and soft drinks for all.
The rooms are really tents. I've been on tented safaris before but these are much more high end, with a set foundation and running water for toilet, sink and shower. No bucket showers here! It is hard to explain how nice it is to have running water after being on a tented safari.
I highly recommended asking your travel agent or guide (whoever is doing the planning) to add this to your itinerary. I recommend going for at least a few days, we saw different stuff each day, including a young lion in perfect light (for photographs) and a giraffe carcass (worst smell ever).