Greystoke Camp, Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale Mountains National Park
I first visited Mahale in 1989 after I had travelled past it in 1984. I always regretted not getting off the boat I was travelling on to Zambia. From that boat I had stared longingly at these mountains bathed, as they were that night, in the magical moonlight that great lakes like Tanganyika seem to reflect. I was determined to get there but it took me another five years.
In 1989 I was looking for a place to settle, ready to build a camp and I spent ten wonderful days exploring the beach sites, but, as elephants and grassland habitats had taken my heart, for me Mahale was a second choice. Shortly thereafter Roland and Zoé Purcel made it their own; better champions for the place than I. But I love to revisit, and try to at least once a year.
With the chimps
Their camp is spread across a wide, golden beach along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, sheltered by dense forests. The mountains rise up from the water to 2500m directly behind the camp. These mountains are home to the world’s largest known population of chimpanzees, with approximately 1000 individuals inhabiting the Mahale Mountains National Park.
This camp is within hiking distance of the 60 strong M-group, one of the most habituated groups in the world. Experienced trackers and guides make the going as easy as possible. Hiking the beautiful forest itself is special, with eight other species of primate, shyer forest mammals, birds, butterflies, giant vines and waterfalls. Out of the forest, the beach is ideal for sun worshipping and relaxing, while the lake yields many other activities such as snorkelling (over 200 species of cichlid fish), fishing, kayaking, swimming or sundowners on the dhow. The evening meals are in the bar, mess or on the beach. Greystoke camp is that wild hideaway of many a persons dreams and with very big water on your tents doorstep, unique and very highly reccommended for a 4-7 nights stay. Today shared charter flights make a visit painless, well almost !
My recent visit to Mahale (May 05) to view the improvements only convinced me more that this destination ranks in my top five places in all of Africa.
I must say that Nomad have done an incredible job of refurbishing the camp - my hat is off to you.
On the beach of Lake Tanganyika
Dhow at sunset
Drinks by the lake
The mess tent at night
Inside the mess tent
PLEASE NOTE: Chimp trekking can be strenuous - clients should be able to walk comfortably for min 2hrs, sometimes over steep terrain. Suitable clothing & walking boots are essential. The age restriction for chimp viewing is 12 and over. Most guests will see the chimps more than once in a 3 – 4 day stay, but a sighting is not guaranteed. Whilst they could be right behind (even in) camp one day, they could also be high up the mountains. Depending on guest fitness, most but not all of the range is accessible.
A sunset boat ride is a must
Chimps have very interesting faces
The colours in the forest are stunning
The old wood from lake boats has been used beautifully for furniture
Every building in this camp is highly original
Service with a smile!