Game Report: Greystoke Mahale

December 31, 2012  By: Gretchen

One of our favorite places on earth is Greystoke Mahale, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.  Most of us have visited this far-flung corner of Tanzania, and the few that haven’t have it on the top of their lists.  This magical camp consists of pointy, thatched fantasy rooms spread along a quiet beach, with the Mahale Mountains and their resident chimpanzees towering just behind.  It’s a stone’s throw from where Jane Goodall did her pioneering research, and a world away from anything else you’ve ever known.  Kim visited most recently – you can read about her visit here.

This is the latest game report from Greystoke camp managers Bas and Suzanne.  We’ll have to content ourselves with reading this until our next visit!  If you’d like to spend time with the chimps, check out our Tanzania Exclusive and Tanzania Wildest itineraries, or have us customize one for you.  It’s an experience you’ll never forget!

To us trekking chimpanzees is outright adventure. It so very different every time we are out! I know I am repeating myself here, but it’s hard to imagine how positively intense the experience of viewing chimpanzees in the wild is.

This Monday morning we approached the chimpanzees in the northern reach of their territory. A long but beautiful jungle hike through dense greenery, we could hear the chimpanzees vocalizing well before we actually saw the first individuals. Listening to their voices from afar, our guide Robert could tell some of them were fighting.

When we found the chimpanzees a good five minutes later, peace had returned to the group. From where we stood we counted the surrounding forest floor and some of the trees and could see at least 20 chimpanzees. Some of them – Bonobo for example – freshly wounded.

Right in front of us on the edge of the group, three males were peacefully grooming each other. With all the time in the world Alofu (left) groomed Kalunde (center), who on his turn groomed Carter. As we spend another 50 minutes with the chimpanzees, it seemed like quality family time for them. All peacefully resting and grooming on the floor of the jungle.

But how close do they sometimes get?

Well – very close. As we stood and observed them, Primus (the M-group Alpha male) walked straight up to us and sat down right in front of me. Less than a meter away from my legs, my heart pounded but I so much enjoyed the thrill of the experience. My best Monday so far!