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.
Fri, Feb 6, 2015
Meet Kalunde, the oldest chimp of the M-group at approximately 54 years. Kalunde's many years of experience has earned him the nickname, 'King-maker'.
Some say he has survived so many years because of his political guile. He only served as Alpha Male to the M-group for a very brief period, but his ability to use other stronger chimpanzees for his benefit has been his stronghold in life.
The name 'King-maker' comes from him playing a major role in the rise of many previous alphas in the M-group. This role is not fixed however and Kalunde has shown great betrayal in the past and turned on what would seem to be his friend and ally. When weakness at the top is sensed, Kalunde has made a 180 degree turn in his role and forced an attack on the Alpha by the high ranking males. In the picture above, the top three ranking males follow Kalunde down a path for a grooming session.
This political craft of Kalunde shows great intelligence and a knowing of our saying of 'keep your friends close but your enemies closer.' Kalunde thus may not have been seen as the Alpha, but may have influenced the group more so by supporting powerful individuals and using them for his benefits.
Unfortunately Kalunde's reign may have come to an end. He has not been seen for some time which leads us to believe one of two things may have happened. Either age has caught up with him and he has passed on, or he is avoiding the group because the young males see him as an easy target to show off their strength when the Alpha Male is not around. We most certainly hope for the latter.
Sun, Jan 25, 2015
2014 was seen off with a fantastic Christmas here in Mahale. We have had a fantastic year and the most precious of experiences with the Chimps so we welcomed in 2015 in proper jungle style with the help of the local Tongwe people who drummed, sang and danced with us all well into the night.
Our guests saw in the New Year with the Tongwe and Mahale family dancing lakeside awash with stardust and crackling fire transporting them back to an old world and tranditions the forests of Mahale have known for many years.
We are looking forward to another fabulous year ahead filled with love and laughter around our campfire and sharing this incredible slice of paradise with you all!
Karibu Sana!! x
Fri, Jan 16, 2015
Teddy's just a youngster, but he's already a hit with the girls.
Earning himself the nickname 'Handsome boy' amoungst the guides and trackers and you can see why.
He hangs out with the high ranking males, learning the ropes, he's an excellent hunter of Blue Duiker due to his agility and speed.
He's also one of the most peaceful and relaxed chimpanzees in Mahale.
I wonder why anyone would get that idea!
Come join us and chillout with Teddy in Mahale.
Words and pictures by Mark Sheridan-Johnson, photographer and temporary manager at Greystoke Mahale.
Fri, Dec 5, 2014
Mahale truly is a haven for a stunning array of Butterflies. You will seldom walk anywhere without seeing one of the many beauties fluttering by.
Here are just a few that I have managed to snap in the past week...getting them in flight is the new challenge as well as identification.
Are these two beauties the same species or not...they look very similar but have slight marking differences.
A tiny butterfly you cannot miss, it has quite a fascinating make-up...Hypolycaena antifaunus try saying that doubly fast.
The beach is a great place it seems for butterflies, they must get some salts from the edge of the lake.
This is the Veined Swordtail,
Or is this a Veined Swordtail...different fazes and they could well both be Veined Swordtail's.
This little one is a Grass Yellow...is it a Regular, Angeled or Common...the forewing (top wing) has only black if you look close enough, this tells us that it is most likely a Common Grass Yellow.
Here we have the Variable Eggfly...not such a pretty name for a pretty butterfly.
This is a common visitor to us at Greystoke...it is of the Acraea family, a very big family of butterflies, this one in particular is the Elegant Acraea.
Take off...the electric blues of the Green-banded Swallowtail make you second guess their names.
A beach gathering...at times you will find big congregations of butterflies right at the lake edge, a few days ago it was the turn for these African Leopard Fritillaries.
Just hope Big Bird does not take any notice of you when you are watching butterflies as he is quite fond of the odd butterfly snack.
Sat, Nov 15, 2014
When working in such fragile protected areas as Mahale National Park our efforts to conserve the precious Chimpanzees here must also include the support of the local populations whose lives are affected by the limitations a park can impose on their daily lives. With fishing and agriculture the main stay of the local villages in the area it can be hard to understand why we need to protect areas of the forest and lake and so with the creation of the Nomad Trust we aim to support projects in areas local to our camps to provide understanding of the importance of conservation and engaging them with the tourism industry. The majority of our staff here are employed directly from Katumbi and the surrounding areas, which assits in that understanding and gives you a chance to meet people who are incredibly passionate about their home here.
We support Katumbi Village in many ways through donations from guests and also through 'Pack For A Purpose' where items go towards the small clinic which struggles to maintain supplies. We are working with Katumbi School with many projects which you can learn about in the following pictures:
A beautiful location, the school sits at the top of the hill overlooking the village and receives refreshing cool breezes off Lake Tanganyika
With 800 students at Katumbi School the 7 teachers have their work cut out!
Visitors to the school are always welcomed warmly with a song or two and much excitement!
We continue working towards providing the most basic equipment needed: desks, chairs, uniforms and books.
The Government Ciriculum includes Computer Science and all students had were text books with pictures of computers, it wasn't until a recent donation of nine laptops from a very kind guest that they can now actively learn on a real one!
We have been working on building a 'Computer Lab' to house the laptops so the students can learn in an effective way and keep the comupters safe. We just need to finish the floor, windows, door and several solar panels to power the laptops! Keeping up with the fast moving technological world is essential for the children to progress and have a chance to gain work in the future.
Cool dudes of the class!
Another project in progress funded by donations to the trust is the teacher's house that sits right at the top of the hill behind the school with some of the most incredible views over the mountains! It's very nearly finished and will be a welcome home for the much needed teachers for the 800 pupils at Katumbi!
Schools Out!! So much excitement as everybody rushes down the hill!!!
If you would like to get involved your donations no matter how small make a big difference to the pupils here.
You can check out the Pack For A Purpose website on: http://www.packforapurpose.org/ to see what useful items you could bring with you, or once in camp you can speak with the Managers who will gladly help you with small donations and a visit to the village if time allows. Alternatively you can email us at email@example.com for more information about all the projects in Tanzania.
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