Greystoke Mahale is nestled on a white sand beach in Lake Tanganyika. Towering behind the lodge are the Mahale Mountains, home to one of the largest known populations of wild Chimpanzees left on our planet.
Wed, Jul 15, 2015
When you are called with excitement 'RUN, QUICKLY, BRING YOUR CAMERA, QUICKLY, NOW!' Your adrenalin starts pumping, and mind starts wondering. What on earth has created so much excitement from the forest, could it be Chimps swimming in the lake, could it be a pair of Leopards playing cards or could it be 'a Pangolin'?
If you had to ask most guides in Africa what is the one animal that has evaded their careers and a solid majority will have to say the Pangolin. So for us this was our first and hopefully not last, but if it was the last we could still die happy with just seeing the one.
It was spotted by our boat driver running from the beach to the forest. We followed him for several minutes crashing through the undergrowth before he returned to the beach giving us a solid half hour of viewing pleasure.
Of the four species found in Africa, this is the Ground Pangolin, it's large round edged scales seen above tell us that. These scales are made of keratin, the same stuff as your fingernails and Rhino horns. These scales are soft at birth and harden later on and are used in defense, as when the Pangolin is threatened it will roll up into a tight ball that is just about impenetrable.
We were very grateful to this amazing animal for showing itself in daylight as they are generally nocturnal, hence the dificulty in seeing them. We can only hope that one day we come across another one.
Mon, Jul 6, 2015
Greystoke has been up and running for just over a month now, and a few highlights from in and around camp are becoming harder and harder to pick with each and every day offering something different to focus on.
We were out of camp for 2 weeks enjoying the UK summer and what more could we ask for on return with a group of chimps including Caesar and Darwin munching of figs in the big fig tree just behind the camp...since this, the news has spread and many more chimps have made their way through camp to have a snack before pushing off into the jungle.
Of course our close relatives are more often than not up in the jungle and we must continue with the daily chores around camp. But we always have something to look out for, like this Blue Duiker who on a rare day allows for a slight glimpse and for a highly unlikely experience they don't see you and allow for a 10 minute viewing.
Another small creature that has been pretending to be a dull leaf on a branch in and around camp is the Pygmy Kingfisher, but unfortunately for them their beautiful electric blues quite often catch my eye. Unlike their name suggests, they hunt insects in the leaf-litter.
Smaller critters obviously have caught our eyes since arriving back, but who could deny this baby Vervet monkey's cuteness. We found mum with it yesterday, probably only a couple days old and very inquisitive as to the big jungle all around.
We have been surrounded by perfection, with clear starry nights, breath-taking crystal clear warm waters, sunny days and of course some of the best sunsets in Africa.
Greystoke truly deserves a visit if it's sooner or later we are sure it will inspire.
Sun, May 31, 2015
After two quiet months and many days of sprucing up the camp, Cam and I returned to paradise and found our feathered friend eagerly awaiting all the attention he's been missing!
After several days by truck from Dar es Salaam and 12 hours by boat from Kigoma our supplies finally arrive!
Lots of work to be done to get the camp up and running, the Greystoke family pull together to make sure it's as swift as possible....
Big Bird ever inquisitive in everything we do likes to lend a helping beak...including the painting!! Getting himself very dirty in the process!
A very intelligent bird he needs constant stimulation and attention and doesn't BB let us know it!
After a little clean up session we invent new games for him to keep him occupied...his current favourite is "throw watermelon into the pot of water, fish it out and throw it at the Managers!"
He loves to climb our stairs to the office to see if we need any help....
It took a little coaxing to remind BB of how to fly off the boat!!
What better way to spend an afternoon after all that hard work with a little lake surfing...!
Big Bird was so pleased to have his friends back and will be over the moon once his International fans arrive to shower him with love and attention..the way he has become accustomed to!! Such a diva
Fri, Mar 20, 2015
Being so close to the villages here in Mahale we think it's important to let them know why we are here!
The local Tongwe Trust whom we support, recently held a football tournament for the local school children in order to raise awareness about the environment in the Mahale Mountains. The lucky winners came to spend the day at Greystoke to meet the guides and learn about the Chimpanzees and the importance of protecting their environment.
Many of the local residents have never seen a chimpanzee so inviting them in to see for themselves the work we do is a vital part of protecting the area further.
Mwiga Mambo engaging the children with his animated story telling- always raises a smile!
Our star guides are both so incredibly passionate about what they do here it's hard for their enthusiasm not to rub off on all who listen.
With a background in wildlife management, conservation and teaching, Butati Nyundo knows how to get the students thinking about their environment and how to look after it.
Meeting Big Bird was also a highlight as is any visit to Greystoke!
We look forward to welcoming the next group of future Nomad guides!
Thu, Mar 5, 2015
Our day was abruptly altered when the cries of a chimpanzee echoed around camp. We all grabbed our kit and followed Mwiga and Butati into the jungle behind Banda 3. We found Nkombo all alone up a Mango Tree screaming alarm calls.
Nkombo has been the long-term girlfriend of Kalunde and was often found alongside the 'King Maker' but with his disappearance she has been sticking to a small group of females or roaming alone.
Now on her own she found herself in a very bad situation with a troop of Yellow Baboons closing in on her. Baboons and Chimps have very similar feeding habits, hence competition is fierce often ending with an attack. Nkombo found herself in grave danger, all alone with a very strong troop of baboons on her heals.
But the wise old girl, Nkombo, had a few tricks up her sleeve. Well into her forties, this was not her first encounter with Baboons. She cleverly used the crowd of people watching the on goings to her advantage. When we moved from between Nkombo and the baboons, she very cleverly moved out of the tree and ran screaming, putting us in 'no mans land.' With us in-between the conflict, the Baboons would not attempt an attack and as much as we moved we could not get out of this 'no mans land.'
The pressure from the Baboons started to ease off, it was getting late now and the Baboons lost interest and receded giving Nkombo the chance to disappear into the jungle unscathed and fit to fight another day.
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