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Greystoke Mahale

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

Highlights

- Once in a lifetime chimpanzee experience
- Utterly remote location
- Luxurious lodge

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Overview

Greystoke Mahale is a one of a kind camp in the wilderness of West Tanzania. Set on the shore of the beautiful Lake Tanganyika, with a backdrop of towering mountains that make up the Mahale Mountains National Park; this is one of our favourite camps in Africa.

A tiny sanctuary surrounded by stunning natural beauty this camp is famously brilliant. Run by Nomad Tanzania, a long established safari operation with a reputation for excellent safari guiding, this is one of the only places travellers can come for the best chimpanzee viewing in Africa.

Chimp trekking is the motivation behind the opening and running of this lodge, and it really is spectacular. Expert guides lead you through untouched forests every day to spend an hour fascinated by the daily lives of the habituated chimpanzees. With rarely more than twenty travellers in the whole park this feels like a personal adventure and emphasises the specialness of this experience.

As with all animal trekking, it is variable and unpredictable where the animals may be active on any given day. You may only need to walk to the forest edge to be in the midst of the chimp family or it may be a 6 hour trek along steep and slippery mountain trails. Therefore, good fitness and proper walking boots are a must, and we recommend only families with children mature enough to enjoy this plan a visit.

Other activities from camp include snorkelling, fishing,kayaking and sun downers sailing on the lake; guaranteeing an unforgettable experience.

The uniqueness of the location can render it slightly inaccessible and guests should expect around a 4 hour flight in a small plane and an hour boat ride before reaching camp. Upon arrival, the main mess is the focal point of the camp and the only structure that can be seen from the Lake. An unusual, open structure this is a great place to enjoy meals and to watch the sunset from the lamp-lit bar.

Six large guest suites are tucked away on the forest line, with panoramic views of the golden beach and the crystal clear lake beyond. Constructed almost entirely from sustainable materials, they blend into the natural surroundings and offer guests the feeling of being a part of the forest. Across a short boardwalk is the bathroom with hot and cold running water, shower and toilet. Behind the cottage is a personal dressing room and upstairs, a ‘chill out deck’.

The lodge itself has a minimum age of 8 years old for children. However, for their own safety, children under 12 are not permitted on chimp treks and may not even be allowed into the forest depending on the season. For this reason we would only recommend this trip to families with older children as it is such a long way to go for some family members not to be able to participate.

The breath taking setting alone would be reason enough to visit Greystoke Mahale, but paired with the unique chance to see chimps in their natural habitat; this is really an experience we cannot recommend enough.

Nearby Alternatives

Chada Katavi

Western Tanzania

Our rating

9/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Fantastic game viewing
- Remote and beautiful location
- Traditional safari tented accommodation

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 499 reviews

(4.96/5)

  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

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