This was such a good way to start our holiday! I was immediately impressed with the kind of company andBeyond is. Our guide, Vitalis, picked us up at the airstrip and was ready with coffee, cookies, and of course, some Amarula! We loved the open vehicle and all of the little touches (blankets, beverages). We saw tons of wildlife on our way to the lodge, and though I knew I would, I was not prepared for the little kid excitement of seeing an elephant mere feet from me. The staff as Lake Manyara Tree Lodge were exceptionally warm and inviting. From their opening song, to the ridiculous sense of humor of our butler, Patrice, I was completely smitten with them. The vibe at the lodge was warm and inviting, and the construction of the boma & common guest quarters really lends itself to that. I loved getting to dinner early and being greeted with the "cocktail of the day" and getting to chat with other guests before dinner. It felt homey and together, and then knew how to be separate in private when it needed to be. We were surprised and pleased to be the only folks in our safari car. This allowed us to call the shots and Vitalis was an excellent, excellent guide. We would be driving along, chatting, and all of a sudden he would stop the car because he heard a Vervet monkey's "alarm call," signifying danger. We were able to see an African Crown Eagle in a tree with a dead monkey dangling from its talons.
This first destination was a great introduction to the "andBeyond" way--they do anything possible to make sure the guests' needs are met and they NEVER say no. The answer is always "Yes, how can I make sure you're happy?" It's pretty remarkable! Vitalis would ask us what we were hoping to get out of each and every game drive. They went through great lengths to surprise us with bubble baths and a private lunch. On the last morning, when bees swarmed the entire breakfast area, Patrice indulged my irrational fears and packed my breakfast to go in a bag that read "I Am The Magic Ingredient."
I loved it there.
The road trip to Lake Manyara was ok and no problems. On arrival the staff greeted us and with this really being our first welcome in Africa we were happy and pleased to see all the staff waiting for us. So nice!
The accommodation, lunch ready and everything taken care of was really nicely done. This was our first experience of the “butler” and he was great, as was our dedicated driver. Initially we were a little concerned realizing that the children would be as far away from our tree top as they were. But the security arrangements and just the warm and “safe feeling” we experienced with the staff soon put all our concerns at ease. Our driver Vitalis was clearly and experienced and a highly competent Game guide. He took us everywhere, made the looking for animals fun for the children, and really showed us and enabled us to see everything we possibly could. He took us on a night drive and insisted William (our son) sit in the front with him. William several times here and during our African trip placed his GoPro camera on the trucks/vehicles.
Our butler Liberty was great, and our Sundowner drinks, William and Alice playing football with the staff, the meals, the environment etc. all made this a truly great and memorable place to experience and stay. Unfortunately the time went all too quickly, that is back to Lake Manyara Airport to be picked up to go to the next part of our adventure.
Lake Manyara Tree Lodge makes you think "Can it get better?" I don't think so! Excellent service, food, wonderful lodge. Lots of smiles, we were pampered like crazy
The welcome from Felix at Lake Manyara was a lovely touch - a warm and friendly man who showed us personally to the Suite and made us welcome at every meal. The staff were very attentive. What amazing views and an indescribably beautiful pool.