Greystoke Mahale

The Original Mahale Camp

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.

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Sun, Jul 1, 2018


Wow, where do I begin? It is still difficult to process everything that has happened yesterday. It all started as usual, we met our guests for breakfast, enjoying each others company, the beautiful morning light on the lake, the fresh air and a tasty breakfast. It seemed to be a very relaxed morning as once finished breakfast, there still were no news on the chimps. At ten o'clock, as the lake was just beautiful and calm, everybody was happy to go for a swim. Once the boat left with our guests, we went back to our office to catch up with some work... just as every other day. After a few minutes, the boat came back and Matius, one of our guides, was just telling us to get ready as the trackers had found a giant pangolin! We literally dropped everything, went running back to our house, jumped into our hiking boots, grabbed the camera and went rushing back after our guests who already were on their way into the forest. We caught up with them just before reaching our trackers... and suddenly there it was, the giant pangolin in the middle of the path just ahead of us. We couldn't believe our eyes!!

What a special sighting, on the way back to camp it was hard to talk about anything else. To cool down a bit, just before lunch our guests decided to go for that swim they had to postpone in the morning. Back in camp, hungry from all the excitement, we were just sitting down and starting to eat, when the guides came with news that the trackers found some chimps. Barely swallowed the last bite, off they went again. 

After two hours guests were back, happy to have seen Christmas and Christina. They came down the mountain together with our guests as to show them the way back to camp. The group left Christmas and Christina a few minutes away from camp as the time was up. Everybody was happy about the experience... and suddenly the news were "chimps in camp!". Apparently Christmas and Christina were not finished yet spending time with us, so they came into camp. We asked ourselves: what is happening today? First the pangolin, then chimps, and then chimps in camp?! 

Could it get any better after that? It did... the guests went out for another swim and saw an entire family of hippos, walking right next to the boat in the crystal clear water.

And to end this extraordinary day, it was the perfect night to sit in our Big Bird Bar and in a peaceful and romantic atmosphere to reflect on everything that happened during the day. Also, later we had a little birthday celebration as it was Sean's birthday, one of our truly lucky guests. We are be sure that he will never forget this birthday! What can we say, it was Mahale at its best!

Tue, Jun 26, 2018


... WATOTO BOMBA EEEEEH BOMBA, WAGENI BOMBA EEEEH BOMBA! With this song we ended another great day with pupils from Katumbi here in camp. Sponsored by our Nomad Trust, we were able to welcome 30 pupils. After an early breakfast we left for a forest walk, our guides sharing their immense knowledge about plants, indigenous trees, birds and other animals that crossed our way. The children were eager to learn and understand more about the environment.

And they surprised us with their knowledge too. They knew quite a few plants and their healing power, being taught by their grandparents. What surprised us most is they knew the answer why within the National Park there is a lot more rain than in the village just a few kilometers up north the lake. In fact this is because of the large number of indigenous trees in the park, creating a micro climate that due to deforestation cannot be found outside the park bounderies. Impressive to hear it from a 9 year old, isn't it? On our way we crossed path with Juliette, the last warthog on this side of the mountains. She wasn't bothered by our company at all and the kids were happy to offer her some company.

Back in camp we showed the kids around and our team was proud to explain them about their jobs… especially those whose sons and daughters were amongst the pupils. The kids had a lot of questions and were excited to try everything out.

It became really exciting when the kayaks were discovered. In an instant they were out in the water, circling between our boats in front of the camp, starting races… and believe me these guys know how to paddle! 

It was a very exciting day and in the end, everybody was tired but everyone in camp and I am sure the kids in the village as well went to sleep with a smile and some great memories. MAHALE BOMBA EEEEH BOMBA!

Fri, Jun 1, 2018


It has been a few weeks now that we are back in camp. What a treat to wake up again to the soft sound of the waves and the red-tailed monkeys in the trees, to see the golden light of the morning sun breaking over the top of the mountains and to breath the fresh and clear air of the Mahale Mountains. After the last rains in May everything is lush and green and the weather could not be more perfect.

A perfect setting to get our camp ready for the new season. The entire team has been working together in order to have everything perfectly prepared for our guests. And the result shows… a few new touches in the rooms, the wood oiled and shiny, snow white bedsheets drying in the warm breeze, new recipes added to the menu. We are ready!

And then the first visitors showed. Bonobo and Carter came by for lunch and a leisurely walk on the beach. They looked pleased with everything they saw, or was it just the yummy ripe fruits in the bushes along the beach?

Oh Greystoke Mahale, you are just as beautiful and magical as ever! We cannot wait to share this wonderful place with our guests for this new season and hopefully (definitely!) create some unforgettable memories together. Karibu sana Mahale! 

Wed, Mar 14, 2018


A few days ago we had a very special group of guests here at Greystoke Mahale. Supported by our Nomad Trust, we invited thirty children of the Katumbi Primary School to spend the day with us. The entire team here at Greystoke had been looking forward to this event and everyone was eager and happy to assume some extra work in order to provide a very special experience to the children. They arrived early in the morning and were greeted with a tasty breakfast in order to give them full energy for the chimp trekking. It seemed as the chimps new that something special was going on and  stayed not too far from camp. For the children it was their first time to encounter their wild neighbours and they were very excited. After a quick briefing given by our guides off we went into the lush and green forest. 

Mandazi, omelette, tea and juice... plates were empty and everyone was happy.

When visiting the chimps it is important to wear masks in order to prevent transmitting deseases.

Happy chimping with Matius

On the way the children learned about the environment, the forest, different mammals and birds and of course told them more about the chimpanzees. The children had a lot of questions and were eager to learn everything about our closest relatives. We went bushwaking through the forest, it was not easy to get to the chimps but then we finally saw them, a few mothers with their babies. 

A beautiful walk through the forest

Life demonstration of grooming

And finally... chimps!

Back in camp we split the children into three groups and passed along all the different departments in camp. Our team did a fantastic job in explaining them about their work and daily routines. The most popular place seemed to be our kitchen, was that related to the freshly baked cookies and muffins maybe? After the training we all had late lunch and then it was definitely time to try out the different games we have in camp.

Yoga lesson with Mwiga

Time to play

Butati explaining about the environment and how the children can help protecting it.

We ended the day by sitting together once more and talk about the importance of preserving this beautiful environment so close to their homes.The children had a lot more questions and proofed that they had paid attention to what they had been taught during the day. It was a fantastic experience for all of us and we cannot wait to repeat it. A huge THANK YOU to the Nomad Trust, the entire team here at Greystoke and TANAPA for their support and making this day possible. And last but not least to the children for bringing so much joy and laughter to our camp!

Little presents at the end

And at the end of the day some wonderful memories being taken home.

Thu, Feb 22, 2018


As you might know from many of our previous stories, chimpanzees live in a dominance hierarchy. The males are in a constant competition for social status, and it seems all they are longing for in life is to win a high-rank position, the most desired on the Alpha rank of course. In order to move up the ranks, a male performs what is called charging or intimidation display in front of other males, to show his strength and superiority.  

Alofu, Orion and Fanana charging display 

There are different ways of charging display and it is always great fun to watch this action. All our guides agree that it is their favorite behaviour to watch. And it truly is impressive! You will see the male puffing up his fur and inflating his muscles (he looks twice as big as usual), running around, grabbing and shaking vines, climbing, bending and shaking trees, throwing sticks or stones, slapping and stamping on the ground. It is a powerful moment! Interesting to know is that a low-rank male or even an adolescent before charging display, first will make sure that there is no higher-rank male around, as this one might mistake his showing off as an attempt to challenge him, and most probably would challenge back. Some of the younger chimpanzees within the M-community, like Christmas for example, learned in the past that charging display in front of human visitors is great fun as they are easy to impress.

Naughty Christmas

One of our favorite actions is the Metall House Drumming. When charging display the chimps will use what they can find around them to enhance the impact of their action, like branches, vines, sticks and stones. At Kansyana Camp, the Japanese’ researchers accommodation a little further up north the lake from our camp, the chimps found out that banging against the metal walls of one of the buildings is making a lot of noise. It has been witnessed in the past that when approaching Kansyana Camp, the males get excited almost as if looking forward to do some Metall House Drumming. It is definitely one of the most spectacular ways of charging display amongst the Mahale adult males… see for yourself!


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