Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
Sun downer drinks are an important part of any Safari in Tanzania. It’s a chance to relax and recount the day’s activities while sipping your favorite beverage and watching the sun sink to the West. Last night as the sun disappeared it lit up all the clouds above the Mahale Mountains to the East, it was amazing.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Our guests John and Christine had a tough walk in the rain on Friday. Although they enjoyed themselves the Chimps had spread out in the forest and Mwiga our tracker was having a hard time finding a group that they could catch up to. They had to cross several streams which the rain had filled. On one crossing John slipped mid way and splashed into the water camera and all. At dinner we talked about how every day in forest is different, John admitted that they had come to Mahale not so much for the Chimpanzee’s but to relax at the end of their African Safari and were happy to just stroll in the forest.
On queue the Chimpanzees performed there magic on Saturday. After a short walk along the trail they found a large group of Chimpanzee’s including the highly ranked males. All of a sudden the males started hunting. With the lady Chimps, John and Christine watching from below the males shot up several trees at an incredible speed. Pimu the Alpha male pursued a young Red Colobus monkey through the canopy each jumping from branch to branch. Surprisingly the Colobus missed a branch and tumbled to the ground and into Christina’s (Chimpanzee not guest) arms. Pimu shot down and grabbed his prize from Christina. Christina was desperate for a share and held onto Pimu’s leg for dear life and was rewarded with a small piece of the monkey. Unfortunately the action was to fast for a decent photo but judging by the look on John and Christine’s faces when they returned to camp I think they will remember this day for a long time.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Unbelievable rain today, this is the first time we have seen the rain set in for the whole day. Incredibly Paulo and Alixandra had a great time watching the Chimps who were huddled together trying to stay out of the torrential downpour. After dinner it stopped pouring and we were able to light the fire and enjoy a drink while drying out our boots.
Monday, January 17, 2011
The manager’s house where I live is right down the southern end of the beach about 50 m past the last Banda. Yesterday afternoon around 4 pm I was walking home along the back path or service path that runs behind the Banda’s. As I walking behind Banda 6 I could here the alarm calls of several animals on either side of the path. At first I thought all the fuss was because of me so I stopped and froze with my back to the trunk of a large Palm tree. I stood stock still for at least 30 seconds picking out the different alarm calls and looking for the culprits. Above me a troop of vervet monkeys were going crazy, further into the forest I noticed a flock of guinea foul who were also making a racket, and behind me and above Banda 6 I could hear several baboons barking their distinctive warning call. Just then I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye and slowly turned my head to the right expecting to see a baboon walking behind the tree. My heart stopped beating, she was small, about 40 to 50kg, and stunning with a striking pattern which looked so clean and fresh, she was only 10 feet away. The leopard walked right behind the tree I was leaning against then strolled onto the path just 10 feet in front of me, she didn’t look or even register that I was there. She slowly walked away down the path with her tail in the air curling to the left so that it looked like a question mark ? . The noise around me was incredible but her only reaction was a flick of the tail once then twice before she rounded the corner. I moved slowly after her and managed to see her turn into the grass and disappear.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
George bushbuck, Barbara’s partner decided to join us for afternoon tea, he actually licked the books on the coffee table.
Today we sent Zungu, our staff chef, back to the village to see his wife and new born baby, congratulations Zungu.
We have some good and bad news here today. On the good side, our guest Carly is 99% sure she spotted a baby bush buck in the long grass, we hope it belongs to our resident bushbuck ‘Barbara’ who we have not spotted for 2 months. This would certainly explain her absence. On the bad side, our resident Wart hogs came through camp less two babies. This is almost a certain sign that they have been taken by a Leopard, very sad.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Jane and Carly asked me to check out the prints in front of their room this morning. We have an elusive resident Leopard who frequently walks along the beach at night and sure enough it was her. Leopards are the biggest Predator in the forest but have so many monkeys and small antelope to eat that they don’t consider us as a food source. It's very rare for a Chimpanzee to be attacked as they are so strong and always in a group. The Leopard sees us as a big Chimpanzee so don’t worry.
Friday, January 14, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A big storm came off the Lake last night around 9pm, everyone decided to make a run for their rooms so it was an early night. The weather here is very unpredictable but lately it has been raining at night and fine during the day which has meant great Chimpanzee sightings. Let’s hope it stays like this.
Monday, January 10, 2011
It is Neil’s 40th birthday so we set up a private dinner on our lower bar deck over looking Lake Tanganyika. It’s not Neil’s first time to Africa but this trip was a special surprise from his wife Paula. Godfrey our waiter made sure the bubbles kept flowing and we hope the night was a memorable one.
It doesn’t have to be a special occasion for us to do this, just ask when you get here.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Swimming in Lake Tanganyika is a great way to cool down after walking in the forest. Jean and Paula took it one step further when they decided to condition and shampoo each others hair in the lake. The ladies had a lot of fun in the warm crystal clear waters, and don’t worry all our products at Greystoke are biodegradable and fish friendly.
Friday, January 7, 2011
A grass roof does look appealing to the eye, the only problem is that they have a tendency to rot and then leak. No worries at Mahale though, we just bring in trusty Moshi and his helper from the local village. The boys are up on the roof all day, apart from when it’s raining, replacing the rotten grass. Thanks guys.
Bucket loads of rain today. Being a transfer day we all worried that the plane would not be able to land. Rabecca is an experienced pilot for the Tanganyika Flying Company and has landed at the Mahale airstrip many times. When the plane touched down, Rebecca commented to our guests that the spray behind the plane would have made a great photo. Amber our Chef and Milton our Waiter were due to fly out for there well deserved days off, but because of the heavy rain and unusual wind direction Rachel decided to leave them behind to keep the weight of the plane low for take off. Poor Amber and Milton turned up back at the lodge and will have to wait another 4 days for the next plane. Let’s hope the weather is fine on Monday.
Monday, January 3, 2011
We could not have asked for a better group of guests to celebrate new years. Everyone at Mahale had a lot of fun, dancing and singing, playing the guitar and telling loads of jokes. Our wonderful Askari Mabwena Simon treated us all too a few traditional Tanzanian songs around the fire. Mabwena has a magical voice and if our guests are lucky and Mabwena is in the mood he will treat us to a moving performance.
Thank you to Dr Susanne Richert, Dr Barbara Treml, Ken, Karen, Terry & Natalie Dial, Rick, Caroline, Charlotte and Julian Everard, for making new years at Mahale so memorable.