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Greystoke Mahale

Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania

Gold price level

Mango Opinion

Staying at Greystoke, spending time with the wild chimps in the Mahale Mountains ranks on our short list of the best experiences to be had in Africa today. 

Lake Tanganyika is surprisingly clean and swimmable. The journey to get there is long (5 hours from Arusha) by a combination of plane and boat - but worth it. When combined with a stay at Katavi, this is an incredible combation. Mahale is not luxurious beyond the experience. Rooms are open and this is a remote location so come ready to let your hair down. 

There are few natural environments more enthralling than Mahale, and there is no place on earth better to watch wild chimpanzees. Tropical mountains rise from pristine sandy beaches of Lake Tanganyika to create a dramatic backdrop. Rivers tumble down waterfalls to the shoreline, through fairytale forest valleys, providing stunning hiking terrain. Among many other mammals, a thousand wild chimpanzees range in this rich habitat. 

You will find Greystoke Mahale Camp set on the beach, right at the heart of it all. Such a unique and magical place demands a camp this is equally extraordinary, so we set our imaginations free. The six open-fronted bandas have little but the best: linen sheets, down pillows, hand-made wooden beds. Each has a forest bathroom, with running water, flush toilet and shower under the palms, though most choose to abandon their normal selves and bathe in the clear moonlit waters of Tanganyika.

Our main quest is always on foot to a wild living group of chimpanzees, whose complex social and political maneuverings are played out within a few feet of us. Their behavior is interpreted by their greatest fans, our team of chimpanzee experts who can recognize each individual and the significance of every action. Tracking the chimps can take anything from half an hour to five. It helps to be fit, but the walking is not overly strenuous. It's all worth it in the end. Sitting, literally surrounded, by these long-lost cousins as they fight, breed, hunt and play is quite simply, mind-blowing.

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