A safari to the Northern Serengeti then on to Katavi and Mahale, a special experience

August 2008 ~ Part 2 Mahale

If you read my past news letter you will know that I hold a special place in my heart for Mahale and Lake Tanganyika. My first visit to the lake was in 1984 and to The Mahale Mountains 1989 and I always look forward to a return. I can think of no finer finish to a safari in Tanzania, for me Zanzibar just doesn’t compare- how could it?

Streets full of tourists and haggling vendors? No thanks! Give me the Mahale experience at safaris’ end any day of the week.

The Serengeti and Katavi had been wonderful to us and our big game experiences could hardly have been better during this past week. I knew what was coming of course but I take great pleasure in seeing guest reactions once we land at the airstrip, climb into the boat and glide onto this lake of lakes. The contrast is mind blowing indeed but there is one moment I treasure on these boat rides into Mahale and that is when we round a certain headland and the grandeur of these mountains hit you. At that point, apart from enjoying it myself, I look across to enjoy my guests’ reactions, I am never disappointed. Coming ashore at camp in Mahale and knowing that you have 3-4 or maybe 7 nights ahead of you there is one of the many times I am glad to be a safari guide.

The chimps were great, the forest enchanting, the lake refreshing for the mind and the managers of Greystoke camp wonderfully entertaining. Fishing, hiking and swimming everyday we enjoyed it to the full and being always on the look out for new bird species I got up early everyday to scan the mountain sides for crowed eagles, hornbills and strange sunbirds. Sleeping here to the lapping lake shore sounds after a day of physical activity is very peaceful, so invigorating that every morning I awake with a smile on my face, eat a hearty breakfast and feel very privileged.

Grooming relieves stressGrooming relieves stress

Following the chimps at MahaleFollowing the chimps at Mahale

I want that oneI want that one

Darwin lazesDarwin lazes

The Male high 5The Male high 5

I have seen this camp change over the years, met many managers, know the original and present owners, so it’s a little like watching a child grow. Changes of accommodation have happened but the present set up is my favorite. I loved the original camp of 1991 – watched the improvements over the years and was blown away the first time I revisited and saw the present set up. Sadly things change and the dinning area will be pulled down this coming wet season. I’m sure that the new one will be outstanding; being that it will be built by the same people that created the set up as it is now, but I can’t help but be a little sad to see this wonderfully creative icon of Mahale disappear, so here are a few pictures of it and our beach diner setting.

Sunset on our last eveningSunset on our last evening

Set for our beach dinerSet for our beach diner

Greystoke messGreystoke mess

Interior at dawnInterior at dawn

Greystoke mess and Nkungwe peakGreystoke mess and Nkungwe peak

As I ponder the past few months and get on with tasks closer to home, I can’t help thinking how lucky I am to safari to the places I do. Tanzania is blessed indeed and I look forward to my trips of September and October. I turned 52 on September 8th and thankfully am still in good health, enjoying my work and very happily married, I just need Manchester United to beat Liverpool this coming Saturday now and life is perfect!

Best wishes
Paul.