Greystoke Mahale


Greystoke Mahale sits on a pristine, white sandy beach overlooking the turquoise water of Lake Tanganyika, with the forested slopes of the 8000 ft Mahale Mountains rising behind. For many years Mahale was simple tents. So when Nomad built Greystoke Mahale, wanting it to be as unique as its setting, it was important that it didn't dominate its sensational natural surroundings.


The rooms where built almost entirely of sustainable materials and where designed to tuck back into the forest line, so that your only view is of beach, and the lake beyond. All the wood was reclaimed from wrecked or retired dhows bought from villages along the lake shore. Greystoke Mahale used old fisherman’s canoes as ladders and thatch from palm trees gathered outside the national park for the roofs.


The main mess is the only structure on the beach and it's the focal point of camp. Here is where you can look out over the lake to the mountains of the Congo in the haze beyond.Your days can start there, eating breakfast whilst waiting to hear news of the chimps and deciding what to do with your day. Evenings end with sundowners on the rocks of the headland, where drinks are served around the lamp-lit bar whilst the mountains, rising behind camp, disappear into the darkness.


Bandas at Greystoke Mahale


Greystoke Mahale has just 6 wood and thatch bandas set on the edge of the forest line at the base of the mountains. Each one has an en-suite bathroom - accessible by a short boardwalk - with hot and cold running water, strong showers and flush toilets. Dressing room and upstairs chill-out deck.


Activities at Greystoke Mahale


Hike the forest paths looking for birds and butterflies, as well as the other shy mammals who quietly live there. Swim in ice-cold pools up in the mountain waterfalls, take a kayak out for a dawn paddle towards the middle of the lake; drink your morning coffee there and enjoy the sunrise coming up over the mountains.


Go for sundowners on the old wooden dhow, lazily following the shoreline and stopping to fish along the way, or just relax on the warm sands of the beach with a drink in hand.


The Chimps at Greystoke Mahale


The Mahale chimp researchers have been in this remarkable place for over 20 years, and everyday they are still as in awe of it as they were when they first arrived. It's impossible not to be. Greystoke Mahale shares the mountains and the lake with so many animals, but it's the chimps that inspire; hard not to compare their daily lives, their movements, feeding, squabbling, foraging and grooming, with our own human day to day.


Time spent with them is time away from everything else that is ordinary. Over the years the camp and it's staff have watched, as families have grown, alpha males have come and gone, bonds and friendships have been created and then broken, and then created again. They are not so different from us. It's all acted out on this natural chimpanzee stage, and witnessing it is an indescribable privilege.


The guides get to watch again and again, through guest's eyes, as the enormity of what they are seeing hits them for the first time. After tracking them, for an hour or two, maybe more, only aware of the sounds they are making ahead of us, we find them; suddenly they are everywhere. Sit quietly on the forest floor and take a deep breath, this is what it's all about.


For the next hour it's as if you scarcely breathe, so wrapped up are you in watching them go about their daily life. You become aware of the subtleties of different relationships, through gesture, sound and expression. One dictating the pace, another courting favor, yet another perhaps plotting a coup. There is humor too as the young chimps fall about the floor and play remarkably human games.

It's all acted out on this natural chimpanzee stage, and witnessing it is something we are privileged to be able to do every day.


Greystoke Mahale


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