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.
Sun, May 31, 2015
After two quiet months and many days of sprucing up the camp, Cam and I returned to paradise and found our feathered friend eagerly awaiting all the attention he's been missing!
After several days by truck from Dar es Salaam and 12 hours by boat from Kigoma our supplies finally arrive!
Lots of work to be done to get the camp up and running, the Greystoke family pull together to make sure it's as swift as possible....
Big Bird ever inquisitive in everything we do likes to lend a helping beak...including the painting!! Getting himself very dirty in the process!
A very intelligent bird he needs constant stimulation and attention and doesn't BB let us know it!
After a little clean up session we invent new games for him to keep him occupied...his current favourite is "throw watermelon into the pot of water, fish it out and throw it at the Managers!"
He loves to climb our stairs to the office to see if we need any help....
It took a little coaxing to remind BB of how to fly off the boat!!
What better way to spend an afternoon after all that hard work with a little lake surfing...!
Big Bird was so pleased to have his friends back and will be over the moon once his International fans arrive to shower him with love and attention..the way he has become accustomed to!! Such a diva
Fri, Mar 20, 2015
Being so close to the villages here in Mahale we think it's important to let them know why we are here!
The local Tongwe Trust whom we support, recently held a football tournament for the local school children in order to raise awareness about the environment in the Mahale Mountains. The lucky winners came to spend the day at Greystoke to meet the guides and learn about the Chimpanzees and the importance of protecting their environment.
Many of the local residents have never seen a chimpanzee so inviting them in to see for themselves the work we do is a vital part of protecting the area further.
Mwiga Mambo engaging the children with his animated story telling- always raises a smile!
Our star guides are both so incredibly passionate about what they do here it's hard for their enthusiasm not to rub off on all who listen.
With a background in wildlife management, conservation and teaching, Butati Nyundo knows how to get the students thinking about their environment and how to look after it.
Meeting Big Bird was also a highlight as is any visit to Greystoke!
We look forward to welcoming the next group of future Nomad guides!
Thu, Mar 5, 2015
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
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
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