The story

Mieke Oxener and Hans Keus

... and nothing else

We fell in love with a piece of the Savannah, a very special piece of land.

We just couldn’t resist it, so we built the most beautiful lodge in Tanzania right here, overlooking Lake Manyara.

From a beautifully elevated position you can look out over the expanse of Lake Manyara, in the distance you see flocks of pink flamingos.

We have perfect weather here, warm, breezy and summery.

Once we decided to build it was very important for us that the lodge would feel like home, and with that in mind the first question was: “How do we start this…?”

Well, for us, home is values and principles. And a core value for us, is a respect for nature.

So we started with solar energy and a good water supply, good staffquarters and next in line was a good access road. We only worked with local businesses for the supply of materials and furnishings and local entrepreneurs for services.

And we assembled a great team and realized the perfect plan.

We have built the most beautiful lodge in Tanzania here

Our architect is Hans Keus , he designed an excellent and well thought-out plan. Mieke Oxener is the driving force and strength behind the entire project. Hans secured Stephen Tas, a superior landscape architect. To complete our team we hired Issack, a local contractor. Our team was complete!


Our closest neighbours are the Maassai, and of course they were very interested in our project. Manyara’s Secret strives to communicate well with the entire community; the project supported and continues to encourage development within the local community. The advent of Manyara’s Secret is helping the entire area to flourish.


From the onset of the project, everything was made from locally sourced materials and from local traders. Our contractor Issack, assembled a team of specialists who started by making wheelbarrows. Dickson, our carpenter, made beds, cabinets and light fixtures from recycled timber. At times Issack had 55 local construction workers at work to realize Manyara’s Secret. The local women, whose work is traditional masonry, supplied us with the correct sized stones. The brick maker hired extra people to produce enough bricks for our project. In Arusha we found a local wicker furniture maker and we found a small joinery where we had our doors made. Was it easy? Not always, but it was so worth it.

Our neighbours, the Maasai