Situated on a remote beach on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, Greystoke Mahale is an exclusive sanctuary at the edge of a huge area of tropical forest.
If it's remote you're after, this should do the trick as there are no roads within 40 miles of the camp and access is by plane and then boat, with the airstrip an hour and a half from the camp by dhow or 20 minutes by speedboat.
The slopes of the Mahale Mountains, which rise up behind the camp, are home to the world's largest known population of wild chimpanzees. It doesn't take long to see why the chimps love it; few natural environments are more seductive than Mahale National Park, with rivers tumbling down waterfalls to the shoreline through lush forest valleys. As a result, there is no place on Earth better to watch wild chimpanzees. These special creatures are a true wonder to behold, with their natural grace and anthropomorphic features.
In addition to the chimps, you may also encounter leopard, buchbuck and bushpigs, and a wide spectrum of exotic bird and insect species. The area of lake in front of the National park is a reserve where no commercial fishing is permitted so the snorkelling and fishing are excellent. In the evening the bar on the rocks is the perfect place to enjoy sundowners over the lake before a barefoot dinner on the beach. Nestled at the foot of these misty forests lies the tiny sanctuary of Greystoke Mahale. Not many settings have a more enchanted feel with the bandas (cabins) looking out across a soft white beach and the crystal clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, while the mountains loom behind. There are six bandas in total, all of which are open-fronted and furnished from seasoned dhow timber. Each has an adjoining dressing room and the bathrooms are accessible via a short boardwalk with flush loos and powerful showers. The 'upstairs' chill-out decks, or the winged waterfront dining pavilion are perfect for drinking in this fairytale place.
Why We Love It
Watch quietly as the chimpanzees' daily life unfolds before you - swinging effortlessly between the vines, grooming each other, squabbling and playing on the leafy forest floor.
Chada Katavi is hidden on a spot covered by acacias and tamarinds and overlooking the great Chada plain. The canopy of tall trees provide shade and food for a variety of animals and birds so guests need not even leave their verandas to see great game.
The camp was set up by safari legend Roland Purcell back in 1996, and quickly established a reputation as a rather wild and whacky camp.
The whole area is probably best suited to a seasoned wildlife viewer, or the traveller who thinks the African bush can offer up no more surprises. There are six large, romantic and airy guest tents decked out with fine wooden furniture, woven rugs and beds spread with crisp white Egyptian cotton. Steaming hot showers await at the end of a day's game viewing, before traditional bush cuisine is served for dinner in the softly lamp-lit mess tent.
There are few limits to game viewing in this area and - better still - no other 4x4s around. Guests can go on epic game drives or sit tight and watch the drama unfold across the floodplains in front of the camp. Intrepid walking safaris and fly camping trips are particularly recommended for exploring the heart of the untamed Katavi wilderness, with nights spent with only a mosquito net between you and the night sky.
Why We Love It
After a hard day's game viewing, guests return to their rooms to find a chilled glass of white wine waiting on the porch.