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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 641 reviews

(4.93/5)

  • Everything was exceptionally well arranged and the whole trip, from checking in on line and printing out the outward journey boarding cards from home, until return to Heathrow, was completely seamless.

    Although arriving slightly earlier than scheduled, we didn't have to wait before being collected at Nairobi by Elijah, our guide and Samuel the driver. On being told that we had hardly slept at all on the outward journey, they took us to a small B&B place they use (sorry, I've forgotten the name of the place) and we were able to rest/sleep for some 3 hours before setting off on our adventure. This was very much appreciated by us as that first day was full on after that.

    They looked after us really well and both were very knowledgeable and good company and were flexible to our needs, with nothing being too much trouble for them.

    The accommodation you picked for us was spot on. We were particularly taken with Sunbird Lodge (I could have spent the whole week there if it were not for being on the move due to the nature of the trip), which was quite informal and extremely friendly. We then moved on to the Maji Moto Eco Camp, where again everything was fine. Having stayed in similar places before, at my age now, the one night suited well and I was surprised when Dan was so taken with the place that he would have liked to stay another night! I think the camp fire might have had something to do with it. The visit to the school was also well worth it from Dan's perspective.

    On then to Ilkeliani and I concur with what you say about it being so well priced for what it offers, that it is a good recommendation. This was slightly more formal at mealtimes than Sunbird Lodge but nevertheless, the staff were equally friendly. As adults, both my husband and myself enjoyed the food although the feedback I provided on their customer satisfaction questionnaire was that perhaps the evening meals could possibly have slight variations for children. We didn't see any signs of the suspended footbridge and as we didn't ask about it, I don't know whether it's still there or not.

    I have to say that the beds in both Sunbird and Ilkeliani were very, very, comfortable.

    The Mayfair Southern Sun was again a good choice although I think the room we had was perhaps a standard twin room. There were two what I call "three quarters" sized beds, i.e. larger than a single but not quite a double bed size, which meant it was a bit of a squeeze for 2 persons in one bed.

    Both the Giraffe Centre and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Sanctuary were ideal additions to the itinerary. We had a 10 year old who was reluctant to leave Kenya!

    MissingMartha Ann Eileen Curry reviewing Maasai Family Adventure on 14 May 2018

  • The walking in the mountains was a fantastic experience, helped by our perfect guide Ibrahim. He was intelligent, kind, cheerful and looked after us very well. He could answer all our questions on flora, fauna, geology, history and local culture. He walked at a steady phase that suited all and made sure everyone was happy. We could not have asked for more.
    Our favourite place to stay was the Azzaden trekking lodge where we were welcomed warmly with slippers, dates, milk and a hand wash. The food was excellent and the breakfast was very impressive. The hospitality of Mohamed was second to none. The view from the balcony was amazing and when it got dark the stars came out in their millions. ( we did however not manage to find out in which bed Daniel Craig had slept).
    When we reached Kasbah Toubkal the weather had turned cold and wet so we could not enjoy the roof terrace and the outdoor area.
    Riad Tzara was excellent and Naima, Khadija, Abdul and Mohamed looked after our every need. We had dinner one night on the roof of Dar Hanane where the view over the city was great. We also liked the cozy roof terrace in Riad Tzara where the perfect temperature was in the afternoon after escaping from the noises and fumes of the Medina.

    MissingInga Olafsdottir reviewing Atlas Valleys & Villages Comfort Trek on 27 February 2018

  • The highlights for us were the accommodation choices - we loved each place we stayed and for quite different reasons.

    We found the food really delicious at all the places. We were really impressed. We ended up eating dinner every night at Dar Housnia, which was really tasty but a bit expensive but we loved the convenience of it and loved everything else about the place.

    My 9yr’s favourite place was Douar Samra - he liked the rooms and all the meals. We all like the communal meals there. It was good to get to know other travellers. But my husband and I really loved the Douria Suite at Dar Housnia as it was great to the have space and down time by ourselves there. We spent some hours just lazing on the terrace after walking around Marrakech for hours.

    We also thought Kasbah Ellouze was really lovely too. They were super helpful accommodating the kids. They made sure we could celebrate NYE dinner with the kids as they go to bed early. It was really kind of them.

    We had a Hussain as our guide for trekking and he went with us on the road trip. We really liked him: friendly & kind, and not too loud & talkative (our family is on the quiet side!). Hussain was great with our two boys. He made them feel comfortable, kept them safe on the treks (ie speed walking ahead with them when they wanted (our 4yr old loved this!) and holding them securely on mules over the rough terrain) and he played football with them too!
    We had two different drivers who were both good - helped out when our 9yr old vomited from car sickness and were happy to drive slowly as needed.

    Also we thought your organisation of everything and choice of accommodation & guides was excellent. We had no complaints. We had a splendid, relaxed and easy holiday - we didn’t have to think of anything & it was all great.

    MissingHelen Newman reviewing Morocco Family Holiday: Kasbahs, Mountains & Souks on 30 January 2018

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