Greystoke Mahale Quote... Ouch!!

Jul 16th, 2007, 03:58 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 248
I actually wanted to use flycatcher in some parks, but after getting a response to my initial query, I never heard from them again even though I repeatedly tried to contact them. Not sure the status of that group, so be careful.
jenack is offline  
Jul 16th, 2007, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 246
Don't know anything about Flycatcher, but I can second what everyone says about Roland Purcell's camps -- Greystoke in Mahale and Chada in Katavi.

I have been to both and there are not enough superlatives to describe them. I presume you have to go in the right season, but if you do, they are truly two wonderful experiences.

The chimps in Mahale, combined with Greystoke camp, add up to a magical, dreamlike place. Then Chada camp in Katavi, one of the classic safari camps, is just as fantastic. Everyone must experience fly-camping once in their life!!!! If you are going to Chada, sign up in advance for one night of fly-camping and experience what it is like falling asleep under the stars as you hear all sorts of animals all around you.

Katavi and Mahale are often combined in itineraries, since they are so close to each other, and this somewhat lessens the sting of the cost of getting to just one or the other.

uscmolly, you did not mention if you were going to Katavi as well. If you can, I would definitely recommend it. Even if you are not, you will thoroughly enjoy and never forget your time at Greystoke. If you can afford it, in my opinion it is worth it .

All of that said, I would hate to hear that you get less than one chimp trek per full day. The reason for going to Mahale is the chimps. We went for four nights days and were lucky to get four treks. Depending on your arrival and departure times, you may only get one trek for each full day you are there. (Try if you can to arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon, increasing your chance of getting another trek on your first or last day.) My impression of the place would drop a lot if you got less treks than one per every full day you are there, and it would definitely dissuade me from staying more than two nights if I could only get one trek to see the chimps.
sevendown is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:06 AM
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We are doing the alternative and cheaper Katavi Mahale in September this uses Katuma in Katavi and Nkungwe in Mahale for 4 nights in Katavi and 3 in Mahale the per person cost is $5086.
On this basis I would presume that 3 nights at Nkungwe would be a lot cheaper, even given the excessive cost of the flights. My travel agent is
Please note as far as I am aware all flights leave Arusha, go to Katave and then on to Mahale.
If your prepared to wait until late September you can see my trip report.
Jul 17th, 2007, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354

Unless I am missing something you are paying more than rack rates?

Rack rates are here: and here:

A bit late now but next time try a local outfitter in Tanzania just to compare prices!
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,490
Thanks Nyama!

You are a dream saver
i was just about to conclude that i would NEVER be able to do it during this incarnation

aby is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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aby, the beach is the same, the crystal-clear water is the same, the bright colours of the fishes are the same, the green mountains are the same, and of course the chimps are the same - what do you need more being in paradise? Flycatcher's is nearest to nature of all three camps. With luck you even get the unexpected - during my stay we had a leopard in camp, each night. The trekking is more local guide oriented (compared to Greystoke) what I prefer. And the relationships to the local researchers are excellent - we had several visits by chimps researcher Mike Huffman (co-author of the Mahale coffee table book) and very interesting talks...
nyama is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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ucsmolly, if you're looking for a reason not to stay at Greystoke, there was once someone on this board who posted a report that she/they didn't much care for it. It was cynstalker:
Leely is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
The cost is outrageous but the big red flag for me was only 1 chimp visit. Only 1 visit would disuade me because you might not see the chimps on one try.

You are not disloyal by contacting another agent. Your agent certainly works with more clients than you. It is not a monogamous relationship. The more you know the more you may come to appreciate your current agent. Or not.
But I know just how you feel.
How many chimp visits are you doing?
atravelynn is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 05:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 68
Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful replies and insight. I looked into combining Mahale and Katavi, so the 'sting' of the flights might be lessened, but I'm not sure that combo works with the constraints of our travel dates. Definitely looking into Nkungwe and Katuma as alternate options. Chimpanzee safaris also has a Gombe/Mahale package, which would allow us to visit our friends in Kigoma.
uscmolly is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 07:42 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
The increase in beds in Mahale is disturbing the historic way of doing things.

Anyone who has visited there recently has to agree that some kind of order needs to established - informally (the present system) or formally (under review).

During our visit, I became aware that the different camps were sending clients and trackers into the forest in the early morning. We "ran" into each other and the researchers from Japan at different times while everybody was looking for chimps! When we saw a chimp, the 60 minute countdown began.

At one time the chimps basically followed us around (they like the paths as much as we do!) so we saw them a few times over a few hours.

When a new group of tourists showed up they got their 60 minutes and we had to leave only to see more chimps a bit futher down the road.

One small group of tourists were certainly noisy and clearly did not keep their distance from the chimps. The quality of guiding (and potential lack of consistency did bother me).

And then we saw two chimps next to the neighboring camp on our way home to Greystoke!

Chimps scare me more than any other large animal. They can be very dangerous and brutal. Yet in Mahale, I saw people strolling around along the beaches and in the forest to/from the bandas with no guard/ranger in sight! Obviously the Mahale chimps are well-behaved, but...

With 3 camps and the bandas now in full operation, I am all for some sort of order. And safety for both chimp and human.

We are all waiting for a resolution. There are talks of 1 visit by 6 people only per day and so on. Clearly this is not good given the potential number of people in the camps at busy times.

All we can do is wait and see.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 17th, 2007, 08:41 PM
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Sorry I forgot that my package included two nights in Hatari, waiting for flight connection to Mahale and 1 night in Arusha on return as flight to Joburg is early morning.So presumimg the flight to be around $995 it looks like 3 nights each would be $4,400 at Nkungwe an extra $3,000 for Greystoke seems a lot extra to pay for greater luxury!
Jul 17th, 2007, 11:07 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,715
Lynn: as of right now I believe we will get one trek per day for a total of 3 during my stay. At present the limit is a group of 6 for each Greystoke trek which means 1/2 the camp goes in the a.m. and 1/2 goes in the p.m. Of course if the park service does introduce a new chimp permit rule that limits that I guess it could change. Hopefully that won't happen before February! It's going to be tough for Greystoke at their prices if they have to explain to those who have already booked that there is a new limit, even though it will be beyond their control.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 02:48 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Let's keep things real folks!

Do not compare 2008 prices with 2007! There is a big difference!

Sniktawk, just compare your quote with this:

In September 2007, the street rate from local companies for a 4-day Chada Katavi + 3-day Greystoke + 2 night Hatari Lodge + 1 night Arusha Hotel + flying doctors package?

About $5200 per person, including transfers and flights!

I still think you are paying premium.
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 02:52 AM
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Typo alert!

Let's make that 4 NIGHTS katavi + 3 NIGHTS mahale (not days)
climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Jul 18th, 2007, 06:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,172
Leely is correct - we did not enjoy our stay at Mahale. HOWEVER, and this is important: The main reason we did not like Mahale was due to (mis?)management, which has changed since we were there in February 2006. I would hope that the problems we encountered have been rectified, and that it is now the luxury property it advertises. The company that we used in February 2006 still uses them, and we were reimbursed for our stay - all of which tells me that they have addressed the problems. Also - the things that bothered us may have been of no consequence to other travelers.

The following link is to some pictures taken while we were there.

Seeing the chimps was truly wonderful, but if I had known how the trip was going to go while there, I would have skipped it. There are other places that we enjoyed so much more - Rusinga Island comes to mind, but of course - no chimps there.

cynstalker is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 02:06 AM
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I just got the following news from Arusha:

TANAPA has approved a general management plan that regulates chimps viewing in Mahale. In this plan there is to be a limit of 18 permits per day, 6 permits going to each of the camps (Greystoke, Flycatchers and Chimpanzee Safaris) as well as an increase in fees. Permits will be transferable. Currently a consultant company is evaluating how chimps viewing should take place and how to implement a booking system. This contract work will be done mid of this month so it is possible that the new system will be implemented very shortly.
nyama is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 11:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 246
That doesn't sound at all good. 6 permits a day for each camp?

Greystoke itself has 6-8 cottages (I can't remember how many), which means 12-16 persons in camp at a time. That means you might have to stay 2-3 days to even get one chimp trek. It's too far there and too expensive to make that worthwhile.
sevendown is offline  
Aug 7th, 2007, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I guess it will end with 2 nights for each chimp trek - one day chimps, the other day beach and dive activities. Maybe also more cultural tourism at the villages around.
nyama is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 813
Let's not forget what's really important here; the chimps. For them, this is good news.

pixelpower is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 09:37 PM
Posts: n/a
Regarding the proposed limitations on viewing in Mahale, I have received the following from my agant via Chimp Safaris
"That is just a proposal by Frankfurt to TANAPA and has not been approved as yet. We plan to continue as per this year GMP until the next one is approved. The only restriction is the 1 hour veiwing per day per group. We will brief you should there be any changes."

We are going next month, in the meantime I would suggest that anyone making a booking asks about this!
I will let everybody know if there are any restrictions in my report.

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