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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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Thu, Mar 5, 2015

Nkombo vs the Baboons

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. 


Fri, Feb 6, 2015

King Maker

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

Drumming in the New Year with the Tongwe

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

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

Butterfly Flutter By

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.


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