Nomad Tanzania: Greystoke Mahale
LOCATION: Kangwena Beach on the edge of Lake Tanganyika in the Mahale Mountains National Park, western Tanzania.
SETTING: The six double-story bandas are on the edge of the forest, with the mountains right behind and Lake Tanganyika stretched out in front. All bandas have direct beach access and unobstructed lake views.
THE BANDAS: All six bandas are open-fronted, with heavy canvas curtains that you can pull across if you prefer. Made of old dhow wood, no two are the same in style. All bandas have an ensuite dressing room and then a short boardwalk leads to the private bathroom with flush toilet, strong showers, and hot and cold water on demand. They all have a "chill-out" deck upstairs, accessible by a rather clever canoe-ladder around the side of the banda. This is the place to spend a long, lazy afternoon with a glass of wine and a good book.
HIGHLIGHTS: Exploring the magical forest of the Mahale Mountains and the many animals who inhabit it, including other primates, bushbuck, bush pig, leopard, and a multitude of butterflies and amazing birds. Enjoying dinners on the beach under the stars and sundowners on the dhow. Activities such as kayaking, fishing, and swimming in the clear waters of the lake.
ACTIVITIES: Guided chimp treks, fishing (park fee), swimming, kayaking, boat cruises, guided walks, and sundowners.
CHILD POLICY: We are delighted to welcome children of 8 and older at Greystoke Mahale. However, Tanapa regulations restrict children under 12 years of age from trekking into the mountains with the chimpanzees.
GETTING THERE: There are no roads within 40 miles of camp (and long may that last!). The only access to Greystoke is via the lake, and before that a flight best taken from Arusha airport. We operate twice-weekly flights from Arusha on Mondays and Thursdays, which are about 3 to 3.5 hours as they make a stop at least once (at Tabora to refuel) along the way. Once you land on the airstrip, it is then a 90-minute trip by dhow along the lake to Greystoke. To keep you comfortable for the long journey we have snacks and drinks onboard, and you will certainly feel it's worth the journey when you arrive and see for yourself why we love that this camp is so far away from it all!
OPEN: Year round except April and May.
CHIMP TREKKING: Most guests see the chimps at least once in a 3 or 4 day stay, however a sighting can never be 100% guaranteed. Whilst they could be right behind camp one day, the next they could be high in the mountains. Chimp trekking happens during every full day that you spend at Greystoke; you usually always start off - stocked with water and snacks - right after breakfast. We take you up into the forest in two groups of six, accompanied by guides and trackers. Once you find the chimps, you have one hour to hang out with them and watch as they play, groom, and forage on the floor around you. We do ask that you wear a light surgical mask over your nose and mouth when you're near the chimps, this is purely because of germs; chimps share so much of our DNA and are very prone to catching all our coughs and sneezes. These masks are available in camp so you don't need to bring them with you. Do bring good footwear as sometimes you can have quite a trek to find the chimps when they have moved high up into the mountains. While you'll be following paths through the forest, they can get steep and the walking can be strenuous. It's a good idea to have long pants with you too; there is a nasty creeper in the forest called 'The Buffalo Bean' which can cause skin irritations to those who get too close. PLEASE BRING "BUSH COLOURED" CLOTHING (GREENS, BROWNS, and NEUTRALS) FOR TREKKING IN THE FOREST - and no animal print clothing. Aside from that, the forest is a very special place and we know you'll have an amazing time.