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Greystoke - as special as we’d hoped

From the moment we arrived at the airport I knew that Greystoke would be as special as we had hoped.


We were collected by Lazaro and Hamza two of the guides and taken by boat to camp. The colour of the lake was the first thing that hit me! It's so turquoise blue. Its quite a long trip by boat to camp but we were served an absolutely delicious lunch and drinks and were quite happy to lie back and enjoy.


When we finally arrived, we were given a warm welcome by the managers Steve and Kerry and the rest of the staff.   Steve, Kerry and the rest of  the staff could not have been more helpful or friendly.  I should also say that Steve and Kerry had the whole place working like clockwork; it was very well managed.


Our banda was delightful; so different from a standard hotel room. It had everything you could possibly need but also had so much character.


The food at Greystoke was the best we had. Every meal was delicious and different. But it all felt quite healthy! Lots of salads and fruit. It was hard to imagine we were so far from the closest market!.


And now to the stars of the show at Greystoke-the chimps. On the first day, the group could not be found. As the morning drew on, a few of the guests including us went for a walk into the forest with one of the guides while the trackers kept looking. We did eventually see a few individual chimps including a mother and very small baby, as well as some colobus and other monkeys. While we were a bit disappointed not to have seen the group, we were glad to have seen the forest and to have had our first chimp sightings. On the second day, the whole group of chimps were found just behind the beach along from the camp and so, with very little effort, we were able to see them.  It was fabulous to see so many and catch a glimpse of them interacting with each other (and us!).. The only downsides were the heat and shortness of time to see the chimps. It was very, very hot and quite enclosed amongst the thick undergrowth. With the addition of face masks it was a bit uncomfortable. We w  ere allowed one hour with the chimps. While I understand why, and objectively I can see why it is thought necessary to have such restrictions, it felt very short particularly as we had not seen the group the day before. 


Apart from chimp searching, we loved just enjoying the views and relaxing in our banda or in the main camp buildings, reading all the fascinating material they have on the chimps. But we also tried kayaking and fishing, and I spent a lot of time in the lake swimming. So there was certainly no shortage of things to do; just not enough time in our brief stay to do them!.


Each evening drinks were served up in the bar overlooking the lake, with dinner either in the main buildings or on the beach. It  was very special to be sitting out on the beach  in the middle of nowhere, but in such comfort and luxury!


There were a number of guides at Greystoke. Our main guide was Lazaro. He was a great guy, friendly, helpful, very well informed about the chimps and full of enthusiasm. Hamza had arrived just a short time before we arrived and was still learning about the chimps. However he was a very knowledgeable guide and as his english was near perfect, we were able to have more in depth discussions with him about Tanzania and its wildlife etc.   


We know he had previously managed one of the other Nomad camps. So I am not sure where he would go next; whether as a guide or manager. But  we were really impressed by him and he is definitely an asset to Nomad who they should hold on to if they can! Paul was the other guide. While he never guided our group and so we did not get to know him quite as well as the others,  he was also clearly knowledgeable with a great sense of humour.


If I was recommending Greystoke to others-which of course I would do-I would highly recommend that they tried to go for the 4 nights rather than the 3.  Having only two opportunities to see the chimps made it quite pressurised. Also you just want to stay at Greystoke as long as possible-it is so beautiful-and it is such a long way to get there!

GK - October 2010