Reviews of Greystoke Mahale
Wildlife sightings and reviews
46 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
"Greystoke Mahale - July 2019"
Chimp trekking was excellent although predictably unpredictable (on one day, we were standing guard underneath a giant tree for seven hours waiting for a group of 6 chimps to come down onto the ground - they eventually did, thankfully).
We went for three nights, but would probably choose four nights if/when we come back to maximise our time with the chimps." See all these reviews: 9n in Tanzania; 1n in Kenya
"Greystoke Mahale review"
The 3 full days you are there, go on the morning chimp treks and prepare to exercise, huff and puff and get down and dirty sweaty. Hot showers await upon return. You will see chimps, young and old, playing and all sorts of other antics. Expect a 3-4 hour ordeal to accomplish this. There is not a lot else to see but for some common vervet monkeys and red tailed monkeys.
Yes, there is other wildlife, bush pigs are the most common, but you are not likely to see much else. This is primarily a one species trip for chimps that are not common in most places in Africa. Lake Tanganyika is pristine here. Looks more like the ocean near a coral reef than a lake. You can swim in it and it's good enough for shower water.
Getting there is an adventure with 2-3 stops on a small plane. You will see Tanzania from Arusha to Tanganyika on this flight. The "tents" are over the top cool. You get an "upstairs" lounge, a separate shower and toilette area, in addition to a porch deck and a great "bedroom".
As a helpful tip, my lens of choice for the chimp treks is the 70-200 mm f 2.8 lens set at 1/200 - 1/300 sec at f 4 - 5.6 and let the ISO on "auto" to accomplish these settings or set the ISO yourself but you'd miss some action then, I believe. Second choice, a 100-400 mm or a 75- 300 mm lens with the same settings. A 24-105 mm lens will be "short" on most occasions and the ability to carry two lenses with two bodies in that forest would be near impossible to manage. Most shots were at ISOs of 5000 to 6400, for those that are curious. Many were at higher ISOs." See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania; 6n in Zambia; 4n in Zimbabwe; 3n in Botswana; 1n in Kenya
"Greystoke Mahale review"
The camp was idyllic on the shore of Lake Tanganyika which looked and sounded more like a sea but with fresh water! Sadly we were not able to swim from the beach due to crocs having been seen in the area (fair enough!) but were taken out for a wonderful deep water swim which washed all our travel away. The briefing on the chimp trekking was entertaining and informative and served to heighten our excitement about the hoped for encounter next day.
It rained heavily the next morning just as news came that the chimps had been found. As a result the rain forest lived up to its name! I strongly recommend that those wearing glasses do wear a wide brimmed hat/cap and carry both a small towel / flannel as well as something to try and keep the condensation on your glasses under control when raining. Also, take advantage of the walking sticks that are available in camp as they were very helpful to young and old alike on the slippery downhill sections!
The food and accommodation were wonderful as were the staff looking after us so well. The encounters with the chimps were amazing and just got better! Knowing something of their behaviour from the briefing added significantly to both our comfort in their presence and sense that we were not interfering unduly in their lives.
The only downside of the camp was that recent rains had led to an unusual horsefly infestation which made walking about the camp quite unpleasant at specific times! This is unusual and did not undermine our enjoyment at all but is worth knowing if you are travelling when the first rains are possible?" See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
"Heaven on earth"
"Greystoke Mahale review"
"The Chimpanze Safari !"
The camp on the shores of Lake Tanganika is excellent, Thai style bandas open at the front with views over the beach to the lake..............very comfortable indeed. The treks can be hard but the opportunity to visit with the Chimps in their own habitat and see their behaviour is something you will never do otherwise. We swam in the Lake, experienced an earthquake at breakfast and just loved it all.
The camp is amazing, lovely open fronted bandas, great food, lovely staff, and a great manager in Julien. We just had a great house party." See all these reviews: 20n in Tanzania
"wonderful lodge in beautiful location"
The guides, Butati and Mateus were both superb. Knowledgeable and helpful, spoke very good English and had great sense of humour.
The chimp viewing was unbelievable and exceeded all our expectations! It was enhanced by the detailed information of the family history of the chimps and the enthusiasm of the staff.
We would have liked to stay longer as three nights are not enough to enjoy all the facilities of the camp." See all these reviews: 16n in Tanzania
"Magical chimp encounters"
We preferred the one night when we had pre- dinner drinks around a fire on the beach to having them in the very dark bar at the side of the beach. This bar was pleasant during daylight but in our opinion was to dark with no view for pre dinner drinks, The stars of these occasions were the two excellent guides Mwiga and Butati who told hilarious stories about the chimps and previous encounters.
The meals in the restaurant where great where the star of this show was the camp Manager Julian who held center stage with his stories and experiences. These were amusing if slightly over the top, but it was not the normal guests chatting and sharing their experiences.
The afternoon boat trips were great fun with deep water swimming in the warm lake and fishing. Marcia again showed her fishing expertise as she caught four times as many fish as Mike. We had the fish as sashimi for a bar snack prior to dinner.
The real magic of our stay at Mahali were the chimps. We were in a party of four guests, the excellent guide Mwiga and a very pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable park ranger Hussain. We had great chimp sightings on the first two days and watched a big group playing, grooming and fighting on our first two treks. The hour we were allowed to view them each day flew past.One of the amusing highlights was when one of the chimps decided to sit with us when we were watching a group of other chimps playing. The treks were quire challenging especially the second day when we went right off path to be with the chimps and we were grateful to Hussain who helped Mike on the steeper bits .
On the third day the trackers struggled to find the chimps but we went on a less challenging trek and were rewarded with a sighting of a red tail monkey, excellent sightings of red Colubus monkeys plus numerous birds and other small species
Mahali was not an easy place to get to but it was definitely worth the travel to have a magical experience" See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania; 3n in Zanzibar; 1n in Kenya
"Face to Face with the Chimps"
However, we were lucky (and as amatter of fact fit) enough to make it to the chimps ( all in all a five and a half hours walk ) and we were very well rewarded !!! Meeting them up there in a rather unaccessable mountainous area was certainly one of the highlights of this whole trip !!
Julian, the manager of the place, tried hard to be a good host - he could, however, spread his attention more evenly to all members of the party. Guests from other parts of the world should be as well cared for as people from Australia......
The staff seemed not as well trained and not as ambitious as in the other places we visited." See all these reviews: 21n in Tanzania
"A dream location - Greystoke"
The highlight was of course the chimp trekking which we did twice, both times reminding us that it is not always easy to find the chimps. The plan was at breakfast around 08.00, we would know from our guides where the chimps were and then we would head out. The practice was that on day one we went out after lunch and on day two around 10.30 only proving that chimps tend to be further away from the camp during the rainy season. Anyway we saw chimps both day, in the trees or on the ground. The walking took about an hour, mostly in rainy conditions.
The camp manager (Julian) was very entertaining and the staff was simply excellent in providing service and caring for the guests. Being at the lake we took a boat out and jumped in 25 degree crystal clear water and afterwards did some fishing (which we had for dinner the same evening). The sunset and evening skies, one day with a distant thunderstorm was magical.
The food was good, nothing to complain about but nothing to be overly positive about either." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania
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Other lodges in Mahale Mountains National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Mbali Mbali Mahale
Mbali Mbali Mahale is a smart lodge on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, primarily visited by travellers keen to meet habituated chimpanzees.