Reviews of Greystoke Mahale
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A truly magical place. Chimp viewing was an amazing experience.
The camp was the perfect base to do this and provided enjoyable additional activities and great hospitality.
Kate and Cameron were excellent hosts and Butati and Mathias were passionate and enthusiastic guides.
We stayed three nights at Greystoke Mahale.
The camp is divine, the setting is fantastic. You feel as if you were on the seaside. It is remote and beautiful.
Chimptrekking was exciting, we had the opportunity to see so many chimpanzees and to walk alongside. Our guide Buttati was fantastic, so funny, passionate and kind. We loved to listen to him explaining us the behaviours of the chimpanzes and sharing so many anecdotes. We had the chance to see the chimps grooming, resting, walking,... The first day we had to walk long hours before to meet them as they had the idea to go far in the bush but the second day we met them only 30 min far from the camp.
We highly enjoyed too our trip to Katumbi, a nearby village, for which we had raised funds and supplies. We went to visit the school and the clinic which we wanted to support through the Nomad Trust and Packforapurpose. It was a great opportunity to meet the community and to discover their way of life.
We would definitely come back.
Unique.... The best.....
Ah.... Mahale..... Of our five weeks in the bush, it was the best, but it is difficult to compare with the others because of its uniqueness. Aesthetically, the buildings (and much of the furniture and fitments) are made of old dhows and are exquisite. Cam and Kate were consulate hosts and went above and beyond to make our stay perfect--including setting the entire dining table for the 12 of us on the beach on the final night. Happy hour at the bar on the point was divine.
Butate, our guide, was one of the most caring and lovely people I've ever met, to say nothing of his knowledge and guiding skills. He loves the chimps, that is clear. He also took us through his village, which was a wonderful experience. He is also a very, very funny man, and we spent an inordinate amount of time falling over with laughter.
Chimp trekking was fabulous, though my camera struggled with the light and shadow, and with the focus, because the jungle can be very dense. We had one very easy trek to see them, and one very tough one.
And then there's Big Bird, the tame pelican who, if truth be told, rules the camp. We guests had to fish for him, rescue him from a boat that threatened to cart him to the nearby village--where he would have ended up in the pot, and generally ensure that his life was bliss. He was the most wonderful bird I've met, and I miss him and worry for him. He is too friendly for his own good. Long Live Big Bird!
Amazing Greystoke Mahale
I had high expectations for Greystoke Mahale. I've been dreaming of going there for years, and I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the amazing things I've heard and read about it. It turned out to be even better than I could have possibly imagined! This is a truly magical place, and there's no place like it anywhere in the world.
We spent four days trekking and interacting with chimps and monkeys, relaxing on the white-sand beach, swimming in the amazingly clear water, fishing off the wooden dhow, playing with Big Bird the Pelican, kayaking from the beach, and hiking the gorgeous forest trails. The thatched-roof bandas are whimsical and luxurious at the same time. They're made entirely from reclaimed dhows (boats), and they are completely open to the environment (there's just a mosquito net around the bed at night), and yet it feels safe, secure, and a little adventurous. The food was delicious and plentiful, and the service was flawless.
Kate and Cameron, the managers, created a very relaxed and easy vibe, where nothing is a problem and everything is possible. I had been concerned about whether we would want to swim in the lake.. I had heard about crocs, hippos, water cobras, bilharzia, etc. Once we got there, we realized that there was nothing to worry about. The water is slightly alkaline, which keeps it crystal clear and makes it feel very silky and soft on your skin - we didn't want to get out of the water once we were in it! The worrisome creatures only hang out near the rocky shoreline areas, so all you have to do is stay well away from the rocks and there's nothing to worry about.
I really can't say enough good things about Greystoke Mahale. If you have a chance to go there, don't hesitate - just go!
A special place to stay
A very relaxing stay in a fantastic setting - the rooms were magnificent. Chimp trekking was exciting and we have hundreds of photos to prove it. Guides were excellent and hugely knowledgable on all the chimp families.
The lunches were great but less so the evening meals
The legend of....a perfect wild jugle
We had spent a long time wishing for a trip to Greystoke and when we finally arrived there our expectations were very high - we always try to keep them low but all the comments on this place makes it impossible. We were not disappointed at all. The feeling of getting to camp by boat from the airstrip is really "an adventure" - although with a great VIP treatment from the first minute! Reaching the beach and looking at the green mountains with the birds and cicadas singing took our breaths away...and then we noticed the welcome party with an unusual member: no less than a pelican walking at Mark's heel!! now that was unexpected!!!
It would be too long to describe our 4 days experience there so I will try and stick to the main points...those chimps are just amazing!! We were so lucky (Mwiga our super expert super funny super friendly guide nicknamed us the "lucky group") to see the chimps during the three guided walks, plus once during our forest walk just behind camp!! We had the chance to see them grooming, resting, hunting a monkey, fishing for ants, shouting at us to warn us of a snake....Only one day we walked 45 minutes, otherwise it was just a 15 minutes stroll. Apparently it was the season and our luck.
We went to visit the Katumbi village (clinic and school sponsored by Nomad) and we felt it was good to give a little back.
We went out on the dhow in the afternoon and enjoyed the relaxing feeling of the camp. We played with "the bird" and watched monkeys and warthogs.
All meals are communal and we really liked having the chance to chat to Mark and the other guests. At sundown the guides also joined us for a chat and that was always a great time too.
the bandas (not sure hot to call them) are great and so is the food- a mystery considering their location!
In a nutshell we felt privileged to be there and would recommend highly recommend it !
Greystoke Mahale review
Obviously, we came here for the chimps but the scenery was also stunning. Arriving by boat was different and, had it been as choppy on the way in as it was on the way out, might have been a disastrous start. However, it wasn't and Cameron, Kate and Big Bird made us very welcome. Camp wildlife included a visit by a leopard, regular trips by the Beach Babes - a trio of warthogs - and various red-tailed and vervet monkeys.
The trips up the mountain to see the Chimps were fantastic. We had to go quite a way up - about an hour the first day but further on the second - to find them but once there, our group had to split up and we each followed separate small groups or singleton chimps back down the mountain. We had lots of close encounters - they don't respect the proximity rules - so we got some good photos but on day 2 it rained so the light was a bit restricted and pictures more difficult.
Some might be tempted to be a bit disappointed but how many of us can say we have been that close?
Tanzanian Birthday Adventure
What can we say about Greystoke, Mahale? The camp is wonderful with spacious comfortable bandas well spaced out along the back of the beach with the communal area centrally placed. The setting is magical - beautiful white sand on the shores of the crystal clear Lake Tangyanika with wonderful sunsets reflected in the waters each evening.
As the dhow, which had brought us from the airstrip to the camp, pulled onto the beach we were greeted by staff who implored us to quickly disembark as there were 2 chimpanzees in the camp - which watched, awestruck, as the chimps played in the trees by the camp kitchen and then followed them up the small hill behind the camp where we stood watching them groom each other. We could not have asked for a better start to our stay at the camp.
The days that followed were fantastic with marvellous sightings of chimps quite low down and relatively close to the camp on the first day, the second day the chimps had taken themselves off into the mountains so we left the younger guests to make that trek!!
On our final day there were a few chimps low down so Peter and I ( the geriatrics!!) opted to trek them whilst the other guests had quite a gruelling hike back into the mountains to find the main group. Our little trek turned into a delightful nature walk seeing not only chimps but other wildlife too. Our guide Butati told us about the vegetation and plant life and spotted things that we would have just not seen like the green spotted tree snake - very interesting.
Each afternoon after a siesta we all went out in the dhow - the plan was a gentle trip on the water but once the fishing lines came out some how there became a great rivalry between the men and the women as to who could catch the most, the biggest and the smallest fish! I caught the first one - a yellow belly - and for that I had to kiss the fish. Later , Sarah, another guest caught a huge fork tail perch. Over the days we were there the women caught the most and the biggest fish but Peter won the prize for the smallest!
Each evening we had sushi, to accompany our pre dinner drinks, made from some of the yellow belly caught that day, on the first day we also enjoyed some of the fork tail perch with our dinner. Any remaining big fish went to the staff or TANAPA . The small fish were the most important catch - they were for Big Boy the habituated pelican at the camp who is unable to fish for himself
On our last afternoon dhow trip apart from the fishing we also went up a river seeing some interesting bird life as well as many crocodile. We had also had the opportunity to swim in the lake.
All the staff at Greystoke are fantastic. Our guides Mwega and Butati were marvellous. Their knowledge of the chimps ( knowing each one by name and recognising their voices) was amazing and their general knowledge about the environment etc second to none. Added to this they were a fantastic double act and should they ever retire from guiding should go on stage!! Pity they are Arsenal supporters!! ( I jest!)
A very big thank you to Kerry who managed to keep smiling and keep every thing running smoothly despite her damaged ankle whilst her husband, Geoff ( camp manager) and Cameron ( about to take over from Geoff) both took to their beds with flu. Thanks also for our birthday cakes.
Amazing chimpanzees at Greystoke Mahale
Chimpanzee tracking with guides Butati and Amos was excellent. Boat trips on the lake to see the forest, go fishing and swimming were very enjoyable. Our banda accommodation was very comfortable and had a wonderful open view of the lake through the open front. Not having to bother with zipping up door (because no biting insects or dangerous animals) was very pleasant.
The location of this camp is absolutely stunning. I am so pleased that Liz persuaded us to come here! Everything about the camp was just wonderful, the views over the lake, the beautiful colours of the trees in the forest, the food, the delightful, friendly staff, Big Bird and finally trekking through the forest to find the chimpanzees. We had such an amazing time just watching them. Listening to their stories from the guides added to the whole experience.
It was a very special way to end our trip to Tanzania.
Greystoke Mahale review
Quite a way west of other lodges and if traveling from a previous safari lodge destination it is quite a trip to get there, consisting of game vehical, plane, boat (1 1/2 hr boat ride) so all the day can be spend travelling to get to the location.
Very nice lodge and pictersque location, but each rooms are a little bit down a path so as darkness sets in they soon get hit by the light fading. Good food at the main lodge and very nice bar overlooking a sunset location.
Good views and interactions with chimps on both days we were treking, and spent the optimum 1 hr with them on the first day and approx. 1/2 hr on the second before they move away from us. The nearness of the chimps each day makes the distance to walk the factor in seeing them.
If you're into activities they're very focused around seeing the chimps and the boat ride out into the lake or afternoon walk (very little to actually see in the forest) are not too great pulls. The boat trip up the coast to the river estuary is good but beware the insects as the dusk settles in.