Why photographers love Greystoke Mahale
Chimps are the big attraction. After decades of scientific study, many are habituated. About 1000 live in Mahale and many live near Greystoke Mahale, a unique camp for sure. It sits on the white sand beach of Lake Tanganyika backed by the forested Mahale Mountains. It’s incredibly remote and the area offers great landscapes.
How we rate Greystoke Mahale
Greystoke Mahale at a glance
- 6 wood and thatch bandas on the edge of the forest, made with reclaimed wood from retired dhow boats
- Each has en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, showers and flush toilets
- Upstairs area: “chill-out” decks with a view
- A main dining area set in a structure on the beach designed to look like a Tongwe chief’s hut
The area features plenty to explore–lake, mountains, forest and waterfalls. There are no roads, just forest paths and animal tracks. The camp can only be reached by boat. Besides the famous chimpanzees, the forest has nine species of primates, like vervet and colobus monkeys, and an amazing variety of bird life. Leopard, bushbuck and bushpig are also present. Hippos call from the lake, which is rich in endemic cichlid fish species. Snorkeling, kayaking, and sunset dhow cruises are popular ways to explore the lake.
The green season runs from November to March when the forest is at its best. The skies are clear and there are plenty of birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. The lake is clear and there are views of Congo in the distance.
The dry season runs from June to October when hotter temperatures make the lake more inviting. Skies are quite hazy, but the chimps are found lower down on the slopes of the mountains, foraging for their favorite fruits.
The lodge is closed in April and May.
What Greystoke Mahale costs
Greystoke Mahale is remote–there are no roads within 60km of camp. Access is by flight from Arusha followed by a 2 hour boat trip. Rates start at $650 per person sharing and go up from there.
Photographers need to know
Chimp trekking happens every day, and most guests will see them at least once during a 3 or 4 day stay, but there’s no guarantee. The hiking can be quite strenuous, so you’ll need to be fit and have good footwear. Weight of camera equipment is an important consideration.
The good news
Greystoke Mahale is partnered with Nomad Tanzania who have a good reputation for supporting conservation and local people.