Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Greystoke dinner tradition.

Dinner under the stars is always special at Greystoke. The sand is soft and the stars are bright. Sometimes the sand is too soft and even after a warning not to lean back to far, guests have toppled off backwards. Well, last night nearly everyone decided not to leave it to chance, so the guests fell backwards on purpose, the night sky view was better on our backs. After we found out that Helen had never seen a shooting star nobody move until she had seen one. It took half an hour and the waiters had already moved the tables but finally Helen got her shooter.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another camp visitor

The Red Tail Monkey is one of several species of primates living in Mahale and maybe the most striking. We often see a family of Red Tails in the trees surrounding the bandas. Listen for their distinct call which sounds like a bird chirping.

 This fine fellow is sitting in the tree outside my office.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Who will be the next Alpha male?

Pimu the current Alpha male of the M community still has a firm grip on his leadership. But those who visit Mahale know that he rules by force and is not liked by the other Chimps.

When you see the two young 20 year old Chimp's especially Primus the Number 3 we know that it is only a matter time before there is a challenge for the leadership.

Jodi McQueen and Glen Martin gave me these photos of the two young Chimps when they spent an hour watching them yesterday.

Look at the size of Primus here as he watches his friend take a drink.

Orion watches Glen as Glen watches Orion.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pel's fishing-owl

We were behind the bandas looking at the yellow baboons feeding in the palms when I noticed this camp visitor. The birders amongst us got very excited.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Close encounters

When we are in the forest with the Chimps we try to give them plenty of space so that they can carry on with their normal daily routine. However, the Mahale M community often act is if we are not even there and can stop on the path right next to a guest and sit down. In the photo Teddy a young male who is 10 has heard another Chimp calling, he stops, sits and listens oblivious to the human standing next to him.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The lush Mahale forest.

Mahale’s rich tropical forest makes Mahale National Park the perfect haven for Chimpanzees. With thousands of verities of plants and many still unclassified the Chimpanzees have over 200 favorite plants which produce food for them to eat. Did you know that we can eat almost all the same plants that the Chimpanzees eat! Watch out though, Chimpanzees use some plants as a medicine.

 The small trails that zig zag through the forest turn any walk into an adventure.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dining on the Beach

Another magic guest experience at Greystoke Mahale is having dinner under the stars.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A leopard walks into a bar.

This is no joke, Greystoke Mahale’s bar sits on the point at the end of the beach. After walking up 20 stairs you reach the main deck which then branches off to the lower deck and upper deck. Great for watching the sun set while sipping your favorite cocktail.
Last night all the guests were either sitting on the upper or lower decks and only the bar tender was on the main deck behind the bar.

Leopards are territorial and our beach is in the territory of a female who is around 40kgs. Well, she got lost last night and walked up the stairs to the bar at cocktail hour. As she walked past the bar both her and our bar tender noticed each other, then at the same time Kiri walked from the lower deck. The leopard got such a fright that she bounded up the ramp to the upper deck and leapt over the railing into the thick bush above the lake.

We have talked with our guides and Tanzanian National Park Rangers and we all agree that she meant no harm and simply took a wrong turn.

I think she might have been after one of our special Mahale cocktails!

Friday, June 17, 2011

River crossings

June is a beautiful time of year to visit Mahale, the rains have finished but forest is lush and most of the rivers are still flowing. Chimpanzees can not swim and need to find the safest places to cross, this is especially important when mum is carrying her new baby.
Greystoke Mahale’s trackers have many years experience in the forest following the Chimps and know where their favorite crossing points are. This is great for our guests as we can quite often get there before the Chimpanzees.

Notice how Omo's baby is clinging to her belly. Infant Chimpanzees usually start riding on mums back around the age of 2.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Grooming and Kissing.

Chimpanzees are very social by nature. The community also has a well defined hierarchy. How we tell whether one Chimp has a higher status is through the way they interact with one another. Who Grooms who can give us many insights into status and alliances.
Yesterday or guests were treated to an amazing display of this behavior. Tynan Daniels a budding Cinematographer has kindly donated some of his photos.

Pimu the Alpa male is groomed by several Chimps. Notice the Mahale hand clasp where two Chimps hold hands above their heads. This has only been noted with Mahale Chimpanzees.

Like a train, one Chimp grooms another who grooms the next. Note, Omo and new born baby are at the head of the chain. Omo's baby is probably Pimu's 

 We are not the only animals who kiss when greeting one another.

Thanks for the great photos Tynan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Waterfall walk

During the dryer months from June to November a great way to spend the afternoon is to walk up to the waterfall. The pool is deep and refreshing and perfect for cooling down.

Kiri and Sandra enjoy a chilled glass of wine at the waterfall.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trekking for Chimpanzees

Yesterday I trekked for the Chimpanzee’s with Sandra Allaire and Jimmy Greenwood. The Chimp’s had moved high into the Southern part of their territory which meant the trek would be difficult. We all managed to see the Chimps but were in the forest for 8 hours, it was a magic day.
 High above Lake Tanganyika the views are magnificent.

 Sandra makes it to the Chimps, with a little help from her guide Humza.

 Our reward.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

So many babies.

We are very lucky this year to have 10 baby Chimps under 3 years old in the M community. Jean Pierre our only guest at the moment was lucky to come across 3 mums and their babies today.

The current mums are Fatuma (48 years old), Ikocha (46), Ako (30), Totzy (29), Abi (29), Cynthia (29), Sally (25), Ternie (20), Omo (14), and Ua (14). The babies don't get named until they are over 3 due to the high mortality rate. I'll keep you informed of their progress.
4 baby boys and 6 baby girls.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Our Warthogs new home.

Our friendly family of Warthogs have been around camp lately. The babies are nearly as big as mum now, minus her impressive tusks. They actually moved into camp when we were away and slept under the store room. If you look closely you can see their hollow under the building.

Can you see the baboon standing on my out door work bench. I hope he is fixing those chairs!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Evening boat cruise

After walking in the forest all morning one of the best ways to spend the late afternoon is taking a boat cruise on Lake Tanganyika. The views of the Mahale mountains are breathtaking.

From left, Linda, Erin, Humza and Filbert.

Greystoke Mahale and the Mahale Mountains National Park

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A great start to the new season

Our first guests depart today and it’s been a fantastic 3 days.
The evening boat cruise was definitely the popular activity.

Glen Schoefield kindly donated some of his wonderful Chimpanzee and sunset shots.
 The perfect way to finish the day!

 As the sun sinks into the Congo.

Every one managed to see the Chimpanzee’s although only on the first day’s trek.

I was very happy to see that Kalunde (the King maker) still looking strong and healthy.

 I wonder what he is thinking?

The King maker takes a break.

 Damn ants!

He has quite a famous reputation in Mahale. Now 48 years old (10 years older than any other male) Kalunde is usually the brains behind most successful alliances challenging for Alpha male. He is well respected by the other Chimpanzee’s and still gets his way with the girls.
Thanks Glen for the great photos.