There are few places left on earth that might rightfully be called Eden, and the Mahale Mountain Range, on the edge of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania, is one of them. On a far-flung beach along the eastern shores of the lake, below a huge storybook tropical forest, is the tiny sanctuary of Greystoke Mahale. The water is clear, the air scented, and the living very easy indeed.

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Greystoke Mahale is located on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. The forested slopes of the Mahale Mountains rise behind the camp, home to the world’s largest known population of chimpanzees, with approximately 1,000 individuals inhabiting the national park.

Greystoke Mahale comprises six wildly exotic wooden bandas looking out across the soft sand beach, with interiors fashioned from dhow timber. The bandas at Greystoke Mahale are open-fronted, with dressing rooms, adjoining bathrooms accessible via a short boardwalk with flush toilets and powerful showers, and upstairs chill out decks.

The mess stands out on the beach and is a thatched Tongwe chief’s hut which has recently been extended with two soaring, prow-like wings. This has increased the area within with more room for simply lounging around. The upstairs area, with its cushioned rare books and specialist primate library, now has four decks that look out to every point of the compass, the perfect vantage points to sit and appreciate this incredible place.

On the northern headland, right on the rocky lakeside but hidden in the forested sides of the hill, you’ll find a cozy bar with stepped decks that fall down to the water’s edge. This is the perfect hideaway during the day and, at night, is the place to be for pre-dinner drinks and a spot of star-gazing.

Like any embarkation into a truly rare wilderness, the journey to Greystoke Mahale can be challenging. Camp is accessed only by a boat trip across Lake Tanganyika and flights from Arusha operate on a strict schedule certain days of the week. Those who are intrepid enough to make the journey are rewarded with an unmatched wild atmosphere and an experience to treasure.

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