4 wonderful days at Greystoke Mahale Mountains National Park

September 2009

If you have read my past Mahale newsletters you will know how fond I am of this unique place, so I won’t warble on about how much I love it there. After our extraordinary trip to Kitulo, Lake Rukwa and Katavi we were ready for something different! My guests were not really hikers but were determined to see the chimps. It was a total surprise then-unprepared for hiking as we were, when half way into the 2 hour boat ride into Mahale it was announced that the chimps were in moving mood and could be quite high up the mountain by tomorrow. The trackers and guides advised us to jump ship and hike into the lower parts of the forest to try and find them. On the boat were a group of 10 guests that were all moving into Greystoke that day, we were of two hiking skill levels it was decided so we split into a ‘fast’ group and a ‘not so fast group’ and headed into shore.

Our group was off and ready and we laboured a little up some of the hills. It was sweaty indeed! Within our ‘not so slow group’, an agent from the US, was obviously not up for it and almost collapsed so I called a halt and insisted we all head back to the boat at once and slowly. Dehydration is a major factor out here and sure enough after I asked the agent if she had drunk enough water, the reply was – “well why?”

The so called ‘fast’ group caught up as we neared the boat and they had spent an interesting hour with the chimps. Our group had not so naturally felt disappointed.

“We have 4 days, please relax, we will see them” was my rally cry! And sure enough we did on two exciting occasions during the next few days.
Chimp watching is so otherworldly to most folks. It is something you never forget. How can you resist them?

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Our days at Mahale were full of good cheer, the meal times always enjoyable as our fellow guests were a wonderfully mixed and social bunch.The sunset boat trips each evening, fishing and bird watching relaxed us all before a hot shower and drinks at the Greystoke bar. As I have said many times – to end a long safari at Greystoke Mahale is the ideal memory to take home. Sharing such a destination as we did over a four day period, with a lively group of new friends, all recounting our varied safari experiences and life history is a fine thing and in the true spirit of camping in the wilds and being surrounded by nature’s beauty.

I sincerely hope that we stay in contact and I don’t always feel that way!

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TREAT YOURSELF ONE DAY

As my safari season was at and end untill December I looked forward to other tasks in life but a safari such as this one that I have described over these 3 small newsletters, leaves a big impression and a fondness for Tanzania that still glows as I write this in late November. Our 21 days were over and the plane flying my guests to Dar es Saalam dropped me off in Katavi to reunite with Ombeni and my Land Rover. We then drove south to Mbeya for a night and then looked up old friends of mine in Mufindi, a tea growing area of the southern highlands. Then on to Iringa before heading back to Arusha, but that’s another story.

Best seasonal wishes
Paul