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, 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!!
Sat, Sep 27, 2014
Kerrie and I have come to the end of one very exciting year managing Greystoke Mahale. It has been truly incredible. I suspect we will talk, brag, reminisce and occasionally shake our heads thinking back on our time here.
We've met amazing people visiting us, made some new friends too. It was always exciting wondering who would step off our dhows onto these shores next. Thanks to all the lovely, happy guests who came to share this unique and magical environment with us. We know we are leaving Mahale but are SURE that Mahale will never leave us!
Here are some photographs from highlights of our time here.
It's a boy (we originally thought Big Bird was a "she")! Kerrie & I weren't really planning on starting a family just yet.
We enjoyed many family outings.
Suddenly we realise there are chimps here too. Incredible!
We never got tired of spending time with them. What a rare privilege to have them as our temporary extended family.
Safety equipment needed regular testing.
Fishing became Kerrie's new passion.
Sunsets were always appreciated.
We would like to warmly welcome Kate and Cameron who have been handed the reins now. All the best to you both. We know you will love it here. Who wouldn't? Sand Rivers Selous will already be missing you!
at 5:15 am Sat, Sep 27, 2014
Tue, Sep 9, 2014
The males of M-community rise and fall from power regularly. Threatening displays, dominance of others and shows of strength are important parts of each day in the forest here. Only the strongest will survive. High ranking males have privilages over food and mating rights, strengthening them further. Lately we've witnessed Darwin lose his number three position. It could be temporary but we will see in time. Orion, previous number 4 seems to have risen to Darwin's former number 3 spot. Michio, still a teenager has been in on the action and Darwin has retreated lately after several beatings, choosing to stay well out of the way of the younger rivals. Also in the forest lately we've witnessed Primus playing with a group of youngsters, showing his softer side and presence of a heart. Alofu, (number 2) and Primus spend time grooming and showing respect to one another. They realise the threat from the youngsters rising to full strength. An alliance is vital to maintain order and to ensure the safety and preservation of all community members for a calm existance with a responsible, experienced leadership.
Alpha male Primus grooms Alofu, current number 2
at 11:22 am Tue, Sep 9, 2014
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