Africa Reps is pleased to inform you we are now representing Manyara Ranch Conservancy in Northern Tanzania.
We must admit to being completely stunned by this project – and whilst we have known about it since it opened two years ago – we were not aware exactly what a fantastic experience it is until a recent visit.
We have all been used to new properties opening on the northern circuit over the past twenty years and most of us are spoilt for choice, we all have our favourites whether it be one of the larger lodges or small select ‘character’ camps or properties – but Manyara Ranch is something different – it is not just another new property it is in fact a new game experience – almost like a new game park.
The farsighted policy of AWF – African Wildlife Foundation – realised that in order to preserve the wildlife movement between Tarangire and the Maasai Steppe and the other northern parks – the area between Tarangire and Lake Manyara needed to be protected from ‘encroachment’ and human development. So ten years ago they were able to secure the 45,000 acre Manyara Ranch by forming a trust to conserve this wildlife sensitive area and to manage any future development. This policy has proved to be remarkably successful and has resulted in protecting and preserving an area, which is now literally ‘teeming with wildlife’ and I must admit that on a recent visit I saw a variety of game that I have never seen before on the northern circuit – obviously the animals have discovered that if you want to get away from tourist vehicles – Manyara Ranch is the place to go!
Two years ago AWF granted permission for the development of limited access for tourism purposes which would generate income and hence assist with the sustainability of the project – so 35,000 acres was given over for creating a wildlife experience – and what a wildlife experience it is!
Located firmly and strategically in the middle of the northern circuit this new ‘private conservancy’ enjoys all the splendour and wildlife seen in its neighbouring parks but without the tourist volumes that we have all come to accept. In fact at the moment there is only a six tent camp on the ranch – so a maximum of 12 guests on the entire 35,000 acres. As no third party visitors are allowed it is only the camp guests and their vehicles that can drive on the ranch.
Interaction with the ranch’s resident and migratory animals has been well thought out and it is possible to drive – both on and off road – accompanied by one of the ranch ‘spotters’, or to walk with an armed guide both early mornings and late afternoon, to stay out at sundowners until dark and then do a night game drive in the ranch’s open vehicles or to do a half day horseback safari using the ranch’s four horses. There are also a number of dams on the ranch, which are a magnet for animals and migratory birds with hides and view points to provide excellent vantage points.
In the camp the six tents have been positioned with exclusivity and privacy in mind enjoying spectacular views over the plains. The typical East African safari tents hark back to an era of ‘authentic safari’ but are furnished for comfort rather than necessity with double or twin beds, writing desks, a spacious tented verandah and all have an integral fully functional bathroom. These are not hotel rooms in the bush but a true safari experience of sleeping under canvas.
Meals are taken in the open air, under a shady tree, in the mess tent or under the stars and focus upon fresh food cooked simply – letting the flavours of freshly baked bread and locally sourced produce speak for themselves.
Rates are fully inclusive of all meals, drinks and laundry – they also include game walks, viewing from the hides, sundowners and night game drives. Horseback safaris (half day) are at a supplementary cost.
Manyara Ranch does not have Game Package rates and is not able to do airport transfers or game driving (other than night drives) on the ranch. The ranch provides qualified guides to accompany safari driver/guides to explore the ranch and to find the best game and bird viewing.
Bookings for the ranch should be made through local ground operators who will provide the transport element – although availability requests can be made through the Arusha office or through Africa Reps. It is felt that the majority of guests will be doing a full northern circuit itinerary and hence have their transport arranged by their DMC.
Due to the very special experience it is felt that Manyara Ranch should be included at the end of a Northern Circuit itinerary – so that their clients can appreciate the busier game parks of Serengeti and Ngorongoro before coming to this very private and exclusive concession – where the wildlife is profuse and stunning.