East Africa Travel Diaries | Lake Manyara to the Ngorongoro Crater

Nicole and Ben picked us up at around 2pm, after a quick coffee and a last Kilimanjaro viewing, we started our journey to Lake Manyara


From this point we journeyed in Ben’s Land Rover Pumba. It was a tight squeeze with all of their kit and our additional bags, but we managed to make it work. We made a quick stop in Arusha before heading out to slightly more rural areas.


-Pick up groceries from Arusha on your way to Lake Manyara, the closer you get the less convenience and larger food stores are available.

If you don’t have cash now is the time to pick some up, we didn’t see any cash machines after we left Arusha

When buying bottles of water on the road, make sure that the seal is not broken on the top of your bottle before you buy it, this is more of a precaution than anything else, but something to keep in mind. 

Try to leave enough time in your journey to arrive at your campsite in the light. We definitely need to follow our own advice more, as it was much harder to navigate once the sun had set.

Nicole used an app called Tracks Africa which will show you local camping grounds as well as roads that might not necessarily show on google maps. You can also use it offline, which is good for areas where you run out of service.

On the road from Arusha to Lake Manyara keep an eye out for animals. A herd of seven elephants walked out straight in front of Pumba and though it was an amazing sight to see, we had to slam on the breaks to avoid crashing into them!


Kiboko Bush Camp wasn’t our first choice; after arriving at Lilac Campsite at around 10pm, we were told that they couldn’t accommodate the roof top tent within their camping ground. So after a beer at their car bar (check out the link for photos), we made the decision to head elsewhere.

A few minutes drive and a couple of U-turns led us to Kiboko. At first we weren’t sure if the grounds were even open, but after waking the guard up at the gate, we were led in. Apart from a team of eight men, there was no one actually staying at the camp. We were told we could park anywhere and within minutes of getting out of the car they’d created a fire for us.

The campsite was definitely still being refurbished; when we stayed the camping toilets and showers were out of order, which meant we had to use one of the lodges which was about 800m walk from where we were camping. It wasn’t a big deal but it would have definitely been more convenient to have them closer by. Not that it bothered us, but there wasn’t actually any running water when we stayed, so if you’re someone who likes their home from home amenities this might not be the place for you.

That night we cooked spaghetti and meatballs and chatted into the early hours. We had a security guard and his two dogs with us the whole night too.


-The campsite cost us $10 per person camping, which was the cheapest campsite we stayed at on the whole trip! There is no sign of a card machine so I would recommend carrying cash on you. 

– I would wait a few months until the site is completely refurbished. We used one of the lodges for showers etc and from the booking.com price of $100 a lodge, I would say it’s pretty overpriced for what it is at the moment. You might be able to find slightly nicer accommodation near by. 

 – A head torch is always a god send when you’re camping. I nearly trod on a snake on the way to the bathrooms and if Nicole and I hadn’t been wearing head torches, we would never have seen it on the path. 

This overnight stay was definitely a jump in the deep end for Steve and I sleeping out in the African Bush. However I loved the fact we were thrown straight into it, because at the end of the day that’s what’s travelling’s all about. I would love to know if you’ve ever been to Lake Manyara and if you camped. It was such a great experience and not one I’ll forget too soon! Next stop the Ngorongoro Crater.