Monday, December 31, 2012

My best Monday

To us trekking chimpanzees is outright adventure. It so very different every time we are out! I know I am repeating myself here, but it’s hard to imagine how positively intense the experience of viewing chimpanzees in the wild is.

This Monday morning we approached the chimpanzees in the northern reach of their territory. A long but beautiful jungle hike through dense greenery, we could hear the chimpanzees vocalizing well before we actually saw the first individuals. Listening to their voices from afar, our guide Robert could tell some of them were fighting.

Alofu, 33 yrs, 2nd ranking male in M group (left), Kalunde, 54 yrs (center), Carter, 28 yrs.

When we found the chimpanzees a good five minutes later, peace had returned to the group. From where we stood we counted the surrounding forest floor and some of the trees and could see at least 20 chimpanzees. Some of them – Bonobo for example – freshly wounded.

Right in front of us on the edge of the group, three males were peacefully grooming each other. With all the time in the world Alofu (left) groomed Kalunde (center), who on his turn groomed Carter. As we spend another 50 minutes with the chimpanzees, it seemed like quality family time for them. All peacefully resting and grooming on the floor of the jungle.

But how close do they sometimes get? 

Primus; the nr. 1 ranking male of the M - group just sat there for a couple of minutes...

Well - very close. As we stood and observed them, Primus (the M-group Alpha male) walked straight up to us and sat down right in front of me. Less than a meter away from my legs, my heart pounded but I so much enjoyed the thrill of the experience. My best Monday so far!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Greystoke's water world

Sure enough chimpanzee trekking will take the best part of your day in Greystoke. Though many people make it back to camp before lunch and so there is plenty of time to join in other brilliant activities.

Just a couple of our favorites to get your fantasy going…

Suzanne, Richard and Anna Williams on a Kayak trip.

Get some exercise and Kayak the lake waters north of camp. Did you ever kayak a crystal clear lake full of deserted beaches, mountainous forests and wildlife? Here you go!

Snorkeling the rocky coast.

More exercise! Swimming in the Greystoke bay is refreshing and cool with water temperatures hovering between 24 C– 25 C (72 - 75 F) year round. Had enough of normal swimming ? Gear up with a snorkel, mask and fins from the camp and have a look at the nearly 400 colourful Cichlid species that Lake Tanganyika has to offer. Especially in front of our rocky bar area the snorkeling is excellent.

Diving of the from the front of boat during sunset - brilliant! Picture courtesy of Ariadne van Zandbergen. 

Then… likely to be our favorite non-chimping activity of all; sunset cruise meets diving. Sail out far from the coast to the deep blue waters of Lake Tanganyika and take in the stunning surroundings with a cool drink. The lush forest covered mountains are everywhere. Then as the sun starts sinking in the sky, get off that shirt and dive from the boat.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Other worldly sunsets

Powerful, spectacular and short; this area of East Africa is known for its tropical thunderstorms. And with these brilliant storms, we offer sunsets you will find hard to believe - so beautiful. 

Just before 19.00 hrs, the sun sets over the mountains in Congo.

As you can see afternoon storms brewing over the Lukuga basin across the lake, you know what’s soon coming our way.

Often unleashed over the lake as they make their way from west to east, the sky remains littered with shreds of stormy clouds all around.

Shreds of stormy clouds fill the sky.

Then when sunsets kicks in - close to seven o’clock – the dense and humid air is lit up in a way that is close to other worldly. Sometimes even, lightening is still striking as the sun is painting the horizon!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How’s life at your end?

If we develop even the slightest of an office day feeling out here, we’re careful enough to take our remedy immediately. We sail one of the boats out on the lake, have a drink and take in the scenery…

Greystoke Camp and surroundings from the water.

The lake, the mountains, the vast remoteness of it all – this place has no space for dull feelings.