Mahale Mountains National Park, Mahale Mountains National Park, Kigoma, Tanzania
If you were a castaway, this would be heaven. It's difficult to imagine almost anywhere on earth that's as wildly beautiful and remote as this exotic camp on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. Six wood and thatch bandas nestle on the forest rim. Behind them thickly wooded mountains rise almost 2,500 meters (8,200 feet); in front of them white sands stretch to the peaceful azure waters of the lake. Your banda has furniture of bleached dhow wood, a rustic toilet and shower, and a lower and upper wooden deck with views over the lake. The main building is loosely based in the style of a Tongwe chief's hut, although many of your meals will be taken on the beach, at night by glowing lanterns. It's not easy to get here: a four-hour flight from Arusha followed by a two-hour boat ride. But once here you won't ever want to leave. About 60 of Mahale's 1,000 or so wild chimpanzees live in the forest near Greystoke, so you have an excellent chance of spotting them. Bookings are made only through reputable tour operators and there is a $80 park fee. There are no roads within 100 km (62 mi) of camp, and access is only by light aircraft using the shared charter flights that operate on Monday and Thursday from Arusha only. Flights leave early in the morning and return to Arusha early evening that same day. The flight to Greystoke Mahale is around 3–4 hours, and upon arrival at the airstrip there is an approximately 90-minute dhow trip down the lake to reach the camp.
- very secluded in the Mahale mountains
- the camp gives you the opportunity to watch wild chimpanzees up close and personal
- trekking up after the chimps is hard work
- long flight to get there
- with the reported increase of crocodiles in the river swimming in front of the lodge is no longer allowed
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