Today after breakfast you will be transferred to Arusha airport for your morning five hour flight to Mahale. Your adventure begins with a boat transfer to Greystoke Mahale – your base for the next three nights, situated on a white sandy beach at the foot of the Mahale Mountains overlooking glistening Lake Tanganyika. In the Mahale Mountains National Park there are still no roads, so this camp is truly secluded. Your accommodation here is in one of just six wood and thatch open-fronted ‘bandas’, located at the edge of the forest with views toward the lake and mountains, each with its own private bathroom with hot water, shower and flush toilet, accessed by a short boardwalk. The bandas also have a dressing room and upstairs relaxation deck – and provide complete comfort whilst remaining in perfect harmony with the natural environment.
Chimpanzee trekking is generally conducted in the mornings, with resident guides and trackers leading small groups to seek out the various chimp families amongst the stunning forest scenery. Guides have tracked chimpanzees in this remarkable environment for over 20 years, getting to know their unique characters, family history, relationships and friendships. The anticipation and the journey to find the chimpanzees is all part of the adventure – and though the primates traverse this terrain easily, you should prepare for potential rock scrambling and arduous walking! You may find yourself quietly tracking these incredible primates ahead of you only to realise suddenly that they are all round you, nonchalantly going about their daily routine.
Be lucky enough to observe young chimps playing and grooming; the adult chimps feeding or swinging effortlessly between the vines. Once you have found them, one hour is spent in the chimps’ company before making the journey back to camp, filled with awe and exhilaration. In addition to chimpanzees you may also spot leopard, bush pig and bushbuck.
After returning to camp for lunch, afternoons can be filled with further chimpanzee tracking, fishing, snorkelling or swimming in the crystal waters of the lake. Hike forest paths in search of birds and butterflies, swim in mountain waterfalls, go kayaking on the lake – or simply relax on the beach. After inspiring and rewarding days, enjoy sundowners on the old wooden dhow or on the rocks at the end of the beach; and swap stories over dinner in the main mess banda on the beach.