Reviews of Greystoke Mahale
Wildlife sightings and reviews
47 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Greystoke Mahale and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Wow! What a camp and experience... "
The obvious reason travelers come here is to see the chimps. I did two treks, both short, and experienced everything there was to experience with these noble apes. We got very lucky and ran into the main group on our second trek. We were able to spend an hour watching them groom, play, eat, and climb around the trees. It's an experience like no other.
The camp itself is beautiful..the rooms are gorgeous and secluded, with the sounds of the lakeshore at your front step. The food was wonderful, the service impeccable, the people so kind and knowledgeable.
I am so happy I choose to make this my last stop for a month-long safari. It could not have ended any better." See all these reviews: 16n in Tanzania
"Greystoke Mahale review"
Our one concern has to do with the chimp trekking itself. Each morning our encounters with the chimps differed in both location and activity. Although camp was busy, we were split into two groups to view the chimps. Even then we felt sometimes as though our time with the chimps was intrusive. On more then one occasion, it felt as though we were literally chasing the chimps to ensure we used up our allocated 60mins. There was pressure from other guests at camp to make sure they received their full daily allocation of 60mins which made us increasingly uncomfortable. We were more interested in the quality of our interactions, and maintaining a respectful distance. Unfortunately, our camp guests didnt always agree or comply and this caused tension. It was clear that some of the chimps were not happy being with us or having endless telescopic lenses pointed in their direction.
The encounters with chimps are an incredible privilege and not a right. Human interactions with wild animals can have a detrimental impact if not properly managed. This had an impact on our enjoyment in camp, and I'm not sure it was handled properly by camp management who just seemed intent on making sure all demands were given into. We wish the camp manager had intervened earlier to manage expectations & limit interactions where appropriate.
Having said all that, our time spent watching sun sets over the lake, or cruising on the boat taking-in the spectacular location from the water will remain cherished memories. It is such a special location and we would love to return here for longer some day. Truly an incredible camp in a spectacular location." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania; 7n in Zanzibar
There’s a very clear ‘code of conduct’ for both guides and travellers visiting the chimps – covering the best etiquette for these sensitive wildlife encounters. In the past, our experience has been that the team at Greystoke really set the bar for the quality of chimp interactions – in marked contrast to some other chimp experiences that we’ve had. Hence we were concerned by this report and contacted the Greystoke team about it.
The team there confirmed that the welfare of the chimps is their No. 1 priority – although noted that it was tough as they had to follow the rules, yet also balance the differing expectations of every guest.
They commented that they’d never heard of or experienced, any ‘chasing of chimps through the forest’ – but have flagged the issue for inclusion in their guide training course, due in April/May 2023.
Of course, for many camp managers, the balancing of the competing requests from different travellers can be very challenging indeed.
"Greystoke Mahale review"
Simply the very best safari experience we have every had. Everything about the place is astonishing, even how you get there.
When you first catch sight of Greystoke from the Dhow, its enough to make you catch your breath (or tear to your eye) - Its beautiful and situated right on the lake beach.
The 'bandas' you stay in are simply fantastic, high quality, plenty of room and beautifully put together. You even get an upstairs.
The service, food, and activity options are great (these are not normal safari activities) - We spent most afternoons diving of the boat into Lake Takanika. (you can't do this from the shore due to the odd Hippo and Crocodile)
The highlight is (of course) the time you spend trekking to and spending time with the Chimps. Its completely magical and unlike viewing any other animal (that we have experienced) - Coupled to this is the time you spend with the guides (for us Butatis & Mwega) The knowledge and passion they have for the M Group of Chimpanzees is spectacular. (Both have spent many years in Chimp company so (as expected) are an authority on their behaviour and back story)
My tip when spending time at Greystoke is to take some time learning the back story to M group and their current structure / hierarchy. This adds to the experience significantly when actually observing them." See all these reviews: 17n in Tanzania
"One of the most magical places in the world"
From the dreamy bandas nestled on the edge of the beach to the sunset bar with its drop dead gorgeous views... you'll find yourself in total paradise. And that's even before you get to the real reason you're here - amazing chimpanzee trekking with the best guides in the business. Then top your day off by diving from the boat into the middle of glorious Lake Tanganyika.
There is nothing better." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania
"Paradise with chimps "
Chimp trekking was fantastic, first day was arduous but worth it with circa 25 chimps around us. Second day was far easier with similar number of chimps in more open setting. Highly recommended. Masks must be worn with chimps, long trousers and shirt advised and a complete change of clothes required for each chimp trekking day.
Lunches were disappointing- no protein of any description. Final briefing for departure was confused and confusing." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania
"Greystoke Mahale review"
We also didn't like, that the first information we were given was about the tip we have to pay.
They suggested a tip for the campstaff, the ranger, the trackers and the guide. Each 10 Dollars per day and person. That will be 80 Dollars for a couple per day. That will be 250 Dollars for a three night stay. We paid a lot for this journey and it is not my duty to pay the salary of the staff. Nomad camps should do that." See all these reviews: 21n in Tanzania
"The place is unique and magical"
The lovely bandas had the lake on their doorstep and forest at the back. We enjoyed spending time on the beautiful sandy beach and the water activities (e.g. kayaking). The bar is a fantastic spot to watch the sunset. The staff were all amazing, and we had the best food of the entire trip (which is no mean feat considering how isolated the place is).
Still, the best part are the chimps, and everything you learn about them from the very dedicated team who know them so well. You never get tired of spending your meals chatting with Mwiga (the manager)!" See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania; 5n in Zanzibar
"Greystoke Mahale review"
The lodge is beautiful in design and layout and is situated in what may well be the most magnificent location (along the shore of Lake Tanganyika at the base of the soaring Mahale Mts) of any lodge we've visited in Africa. The simple bandas are extremely comfortable. The menu was distinctive, with many imaginative elements, and the food, much of it locally-sourced, was delicious. The service was absolutely top-notch, provided by guides Butati and Matias, and Masudi and the other staff, with attentiveness and real flair.
The sole activity at Greystoke is tracking chimps, and what an activity it is. The chimps are simply fascinating, gregarious and endlessly social as they go about their business with almost complete disregard for human presence. And the guides provide a notably illuminating supplemental experience, with a steady stream of information about the individuals and families involved, their histories, and the particulars of their complex behavior. Highly, highly recommended.
( Those who've tracked gorillas in Rwanda/Uganda should be aware that chimps are much more active and mobile than gorillas, and spend much time in the trees, and that gives rise to a very different kind of tracking experience. We suspect that most will join us in finding the two experiences equally rewarding. But they are very different. )
We single out hosts Barbara and Fabio for special praise. Any luxury lodge in Africa should meet various expectations. When a lodge consistently exceeds them, as Greystoke did, special recognition is due. At almost every turn (including the marvelous menu) our time there was simply, but subtly better than at almost any other lodge we've ever visited.
All in all, a really notable, really wonderful lodge experience." See all these reviews: 12n in Tanzania; 12n in Zimbabwe
There is, literally, nothing to fault, with highlights including superb food made from mostly locally sourced ingredients (we especially loved the fresh, light lunches) and afternoon boat cruises and swimming in the lake. We were fortunate with the weather - there were a few biblical thunderstorms, but mostly at night - and the extraordinary chimpanzees, whom we saw every day.
Treks were shorter than we expected - more than once, the chimps were barely 10 minutes outside of camp - although there was plenty of "off-roading", so it still paid to be fairly nimble. In short, one of my favourite places in Africa, right up there with Mwaleshi in North Luangwa, and one I will return to again soon." See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania
"Greystoke Mahale review"
The Chimpanzees really were the stars of Greystoke, and the amazing guide (Matteus) bought the whole thing to life with the incredible history and insights into the group, and individuals within the group. We were lucky to see them on all 3 days, all in very different situations and the experience was phenomenal.
The lake provided the perfect swimming pool after the trek through the forest.
I really couldn't rate this place high enough and wouldn't fault any aspect of it, and feel immensely lucky to have been able to go there !" See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania
Holiday styles & special interests in Tanzania
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Tanzania.
Other lodges in Mahale Mountains National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.