Mahale Mountains National Park

Greystoke Mahale

Overview

On Tanzania’s remote western frontier where it meets Lake Tanganyika’s clear freshwaters, Mahale Mountains National Park encompasses forest blanketed peaks sloping down to white beaches home to rich wildlife.

One this strip of sand, hidden in the greenery, find Greystoke’s six wood and thatch bandas looking out across the water.

Begin your day with breakfast as you wait for news from the trackers about whether the chimpanzees are nearby, before heading into the jungle on foot (there are no roads in the park) with incredibly knowledgeable guides for an up-close close encounter with these close relatives. You’ll learn about their unique personalities and the fascinating politics and history of the troops.

In the afternoon, explore Tanganyika by kayak or a traditional sailing dhow, spotting crocodiles, hippos and local fishermen, and visit a village supported by the lodge. There are also some safe swimming spots. Later, as the sun begins to set over the lake, enjoy a drink or two from the bar before a dinner under the stars.

Facts

At a glance

  • Six beachside bandas

  • Beach bar

  • Indoor and outdoor dining

  • Library

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Experiences

  • Greystoke Mahale chimpanzee 1

    Chimp trekking

    While there are many other creatures to discover in the mountains and around the lake, the chimpanzees are definitely the biggest draw. The opportunity to spend time with them and watch how the families interact is life changing as you notice the similarities between their interactions and those of humans.

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    Hiking

    Head out on foot and follow the forest paths looking out for birds, butterflies and some of the shy creatures that inhabit the area.

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    Swimming

    Venture into the mountains and you’ll discover ice-cold pools and waterfalls which are ideal for swimming in, or take a dhow out to a deeper part of lake safe from resident crocodiles and hippos, where you can swim in the clear freshwater.

Community & Culture

You can learn more about what the Nomad Trust is doing on a visit to the village of Katumbi. There you can visit the primary school where the trust has helped to build and furnish classrooms and install solar power. You can also see the community clinic at which the trust funds essential health care including first aid and midwifery.

Conservation

Nomad works alongside The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in supporting their Tuungane Project in the Mahale Mountains and Lake Tanganyika ecosystem. The name of the project means ‘let’s unite’ in Swahili and it aims to promote a healthy relationship between the people who live in the area and the natural resources they depend on. The ecosystem is fragile and human activity can put pressure on it, especially when communities are already facing extreme poverty. Some of the challenges the project addresses include health and sanitation, environmental awareness and education. Volunteer families have been enlisted to lead by example, beach management units help to enforce sustainable fishing regulations, and microfinance loans are available to help locals generate income without harming the environment.

Footprint

Greystoke’s wood and palm thatch bandas were built almost entirely from materials sourced from the local area, including repurposing wrecked and retires dhows and canoes purchased from nearby villages. Much of the produce served at the lodge is grown at community vegetable garden set up by Nomad Tanzania.

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What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

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