We woke up the next morning and Stephen and Michael were not feeling 100%. They both skipped breakfast. We said goodbye to Greg, Alan, the Spanish couple, George and the Texans, who were also heading to their next stop. We left around 9:45am, and headed to Exploreans Lodge. On the way we did make a short stop at a large store that sold a lot of different items in the town of Mto wa Mbu. I bought some wooden salad tongs, and salt and pepper containers. They had the salt and pepper containers on the table at Manyara Ranch and I just loved them, so was quite happy to find them here in this store.
We arrived at Exploreans about 12:30pm – perfect timing for lunch, which we got to enjoy out on the terrace.
The rest of the day was ours to relax, which actually worked out quite well since some were not feeling well and really just wanted to sleep/rest.
This is a very nice lodge in a lush tropical setting with very manicured and well cared for gardens.
Very different from the surroundings at Manyara. Every time we arrived whether our first time or after game drives we were always welcomed with a wet washcloth and juice. It appears as though all the rooms are the same size and they are huge!! Everyone is in an individual thatched hut.
Stephen and I shared one and Holly and the kids shared one. They have a nice size sitting room, a large bedroom and a nice size bathroom.
The bathroom had two sinks, tons of counter space, and even a full length mirror! Water pressure in the shower was great!
The outdoor deck was huge and had a fairly comfy daybed to relax on. The deck got a nice afternoon sun which could warm you up.
The main lodge was L-shaped with one part being where breakfast and dinner was served and the other side having comfy club chairs and tables for drinks, reading or visiting. There was also a pool and deck area to lounge at outside.
The service was quite good, though I have to say that the food was not up to par with Manyara Ranch. The soups and pastas were nice, but other things were hit and miss. Whether you ordered a steak medium rare or rare it was always medium well. They did always have a local specialty on the menu – which tended to be a stew type dish that Stephen seemed to enjoy.
There were two negatives about this place. Number one – while there were tons of outlets in the rooms (including one strip that included adaptors), there were no plugs in the bathroom. Number two – the room and the main lodge were both very cold. There was a fire place in the bedroom, which you could call to have them light, but it did not do as much as one would like. In general, it was actually warmer outside then inside. At night it wasn’t a big problem – lots of comfy blankets, and while we were at dinner they provided a turn down service which included a hot water bottle in the bed – I loved that!!
However, during the day/afternoon it was cold and if inside your room, one wanted to snuggle under the covers of the bed. Also, the dining room was cold at night and we wore our coats to dinner inside the lodge.
Our first morning we had a 7:30am wakeup call which included coffee, hot chocolate and biscuit on the deck.
Then breakfast at 8am which is a full made to order breakfast of eggs, omelettes, bacon, sausage and oatmeal. For our longer trips to Manyara National Parka and Ngorongoro Crater the lodge made us lunch boxes. Cute and convenient but the meals were only so-so, the pasta was better than the sandwich.
The lodge also had a small but nice gift shop. I purchased a nativity and a beaded necklace. I collect nativities so was so pleased to find this one!! The store did not ship for you, luckily the nativity was extremely light and not a problem to carry with us for the remainder of the trip.
Here is where our first “unexpected” incident of the trip happened. We were here for three nights. On our third night, while we were eating dinner in the main lodge, the thatched roof caught on fire from a flue of one of the wood stoves – it was not properly insulated. All the employees came running out of the kitchen, etc. and kept pointing up to the fire but no one seemed to know what to do. Soon someone brought over a very large fire extinguisher but it either did not work, was empty or they did not know how to use it. The guests were starting to call for water and finally some one brought over some tubs (similar to what you would use to carry dirty dishes) and began to throw the water up to the ceiling. The fire was put out and no one was ever in danger, but it does make one wonder about the construction and lack of insulation on the wood stove flues. I am also a bit curious as to how they are going to go about repairing that roof.
Up next, our visit to Manyara National Park.
To read about the other parts of our trip clicker here: