Rating: Ultimate Price from: £450 - £850 pp full board
On a far-flung beach along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, below a huge tropical forest, is the tiny sanctuary of Greystoke Mahale. This is perhaps the place to see chimpanzees in the wild.
The forested slopes of the Mahale Mountains that rise behind the camp are home to the world's largest known population of chimpanzees, with approximately 1000 individuals inhabiting the national park. As you make your approach to Greystoke Mahale by dhow, the outline of the camp is visible against a backdrop of deep green forest and pale beach.
There are six stylish, exotic wooden bandas, all looking out across the beach to the lake. They are open-fronted, with interiors fashioned from dhow timber, furnished with wooden double beds, crisp linen and local textiles. It's unique and we love it!
The focal point of Greystoke Mahale is the bar and dining area on the beach. There are no less than four decks looking out to each point of the compass. The cosy bar, set in the rocks on the headland, has stepped decks down to the water's edge -the perfect spot for star-gazing and enjoying fresh sashimi and iced vodka, and the view out west across the mighty waters of the lake. Dinner can be taken in the tented dining area or maybe barefoot on the beach.
WHAT YOU'LL DO AT GREYSTOKE MAHALE
The forest is very special, with eight other species of primate, shyer forest mammals, birds, butterflies, giant vines and waterfalls. Many chimps live in the mountains close to camp, and have become habituated to human presence over two decades of contact. You can venture out into the forest to observe and commune with them as they groom and wrestle and forage across the forest floor. There is also the opportunity to observe leopard, bushbuck, bushpig, and a multitude of birds and butterflies. The waters sparkle with over 250 species of tropical fish.
After a morning of hiking through the rainforests, there is no better way to recoup your energies than soaking up some sun on the beach, going for a swim or kayak along the lake shore. Dinner on the beach under the stars, and sundowners on the dhow can make for a magical end to an unforgettable day.
Trek through the forest in search of troops of wild chimpanzees
Follow forest trails for glimpses of birds and butterflies
Kayaking in Lake Tanganyika
Enjoy some exercise as you paddle your kayak on the lake
Sunset dhow cruise
Sip a sundowner as you enjoy a cruise on a traditional dhow
Swim beneath waterfalls
Deep in the forest there are rock pools by waterfalls ideal for refreshing swims
Open: Greystoke Mahale is open from 1 June to 25 March.
Location: Greystoke Mahale is on Kangwena Beach on the shores of Lake Tanganika at the foothills of the Mahale Mountains. It is in Mahale Mountains National Park. To reach the lodge you fly to Lake Tanganyika followed by a 90 minute cruise.
Rooms: There are 6 open-fronted bandas with a bedroom and dressing room. Each has a private bathroom, reached via a boardwalk, with hot and cold running water, shower and flush toilet. There is an upper deck with a sofa and lamps and views across the beach and lake. Each banda can take an extra bed for a child. The rooms are tucked away in the forest and cannot be seen from the lake. There are canvas curtains to pull across the front for privacy. The bandas are built from reclaimed wood.
Activities: These include daily chimpanzee treks, forest walks to see wildlife and waterfalls, swimming in rock pools. You can kayak, swim, snorkel, fish and go for sunset dhow cruises on the lake. There are sun loungers on the beach where you can spend lazy hours.
Facilities: There is a main mess tent on the beach, where all meals are served. You can have a fry-up for breakfast, choice of buffet dishes for lunch and dinner at the long table on the beach. Seafood features prominently and Sashimi is a speciality. There is a separate bar. The lodge has a library with reference books about chimpanzees and other wildlife.
Dining: Meals are eaten communally.
Children: Children over the age of 8 years are welcome. The minimum age for chimp trekking is 12 years.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is internet access.
Get right off the beaten track with this safari to some of the most remote, but spectacular locations in Tanzania.