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, 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.
Wed, Oct 22, 2014
We have been experiencing the first of the Mahale rains over the last few days. They have been incredibly impressive with rolling thunder over the mountain and solid 30 minute flashfloods. But it seems to have brought mixed emotions from the birds in camp.
The Pied Wagtails that have their nests in our Dhows and are great friends but by the looks of this little fella, the rains are not so such a wonderful thing.
The beautiful Collared Sunbird seemed to be loving the after effect of the rain hopping from limb to limb in search of little worms and drinking nectar rich water from the flowers.
Palm-nut Vultures are a frequent visitor to Greystoke feeding on the fruits of the palms or scavenging any fish along the shore. When it comes to the rain they most certainly look drab and uncomfortable...poor chap.
In these rainy conditions the Yellow-rumped Tinkerbird thrives feeding on all the little insects that come out after the rains.
The Blue-spotted Wood-Dove is a very shy undergrowth dwelling species that paid a visit to the beach after the rains, it looks as though a good dry out on the beach was needed.
Of course there is a Big Bird that steels the show, he most definitely does not like the rain sitting all huddled up on top of the roof, refusing to come down for hours after the rain has stopped.
We have some good ponchos for hiking in the rain so no need to bring your own. See you soon!
Tue, Oct 14, 2014
So we are getting our feet on the ground here at Greystoke in the Mahale Mountains. Getting to grips with the change from the Selous Game Reserve has been an exciting process. We have been lucky with a lot of action in the camp since arriving as the Pseudospondias microcarpa have been fruiting outside the kitchen.
So the day we decide to go out and get some exercise and hope for a trek up the mountain, of course the chimps come to camp for breakfast.
Not to worry as we can still go for a hike to see if we can find the chimps up in the mountains. Figuring out what is important to bring can be a bit of a challenge so to help you out here are a few tips, as 15kg does not allow for much.
It is really humid inside the jungle. But you are in the shadow of the canopy so no need for a big hat or even sunglasses but they are useful for the beach.
There are some thorny vines and buffalo beans so it is always best to be in trousers and a long sleeved shirt, but it is humid so make sure these are lightweight and good breathing materials.Hiking boots up to the knees are not essential but having good ankle support and sturdy well tracked, well-worn shoes are a must.
A camera is of course a must, having something with good video is even better for when the male chimps throw a bit of a tantrum. Point and shoots do the job just fine but if you are a bit more of a photography buff then you really don't need anything longer than a 300mm lens as the chimps get very close from time to time. Carting a big lens up the mountain is tough work so make sure you are happy to do so. A small pair of binoculars might come in handy if you are not holding a camera.
We have some great 1l water bottles here with canvass straps that are easy to carry but if you want to be even more comfortable on the mountain a small camel back is much more convenient.
Other than that you dont need much...whether the chimps are in camp, somewhere on the large flat band before the mountains or high up 2000m above sea level this should get you by.
Happy packing and see you soon.
Wed, Oct 8, 2014
As part of Nomad Trust's continuing effort to support Greystoke Mahale's local village we were absolutely thrilled to deliever an incredible donation from a recent guest of 500 mosquito nets. Thank you Steve Cook for the generous gift to Katumbi's residents. News spread fast around the village when they heard we were on our way to deliver the nets and we had a huge gathering at the top of the hill waiting for us at the school. It took several hours to hand out one net per household and it was quite a challenge to organise everybody's excitement!! It is a great gift to the village and will certainly help to protect the families from ever present malaria. We will continue to support this effort through the trust and future donations.
As we approached the shoreline we were greeted by some very eager schoolgirls who swiftly popped the heavy packages on their heads and whizzed them up the hill to the school in no time at all!!
Katumbi's youngest residents are always so happy to see visiters and come rushing to say hello and practise their English with us
Cool Cats strike a pose!
Katumbi village street on the beautiful shores of Lake Tanganyika
Reaching the top of the hill to the local school we were greeted by a sea of vibrant colour from the woman and the cutest babies patiently waiting to meet us
Nurse Elizabeth in her newly stocked clinic with the much needed Malaria drugs, we also delivered gifts of medical supplies and babies clothes that were very kindly donated by guests Melvyn and Linda Buttler from Australia through our "pack for a purpose" initiative
Asante Sana from all at Katumbi!!
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