Chimps and sandy beaches
Happy birthday Tanja!
We celebrated Tanja’s 50th birthday in Mahale, a truly magical place. It combines the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika and white-sand beaches, backed by the lushly forested Mahale mountains. After a long flight across Tanzania in a small plane and an adventurous landing on the short runway, it takes another hour by boat to reach Greystoke Mahale. The setting of the camp is stunning, with the main mess on the beach and thatched bandas hidden away in the tree line. As it was our third visit to Mahale, so we knew what to expect, but we fell in love all over again. The mix of hiking and observing the chimps in the morning, enjoying the beach and the lake by boat in the afternoon and having a drink around the campfire in the evening is truly relaxing. Have a look at the pictures in the Mahale Gallery. After this remote jungle beach we went to the buzzing Island of Zanzibar. Just driving across the island to the beach resort gave us an impression of its colorful history. We spent our time snorkeling and enjoying the Indian Ocean, where the local fishermen brought in the catch of the day.
Mahale is the most isolated national park of Tanzania. It is primarily a chimpanzee sanctuary, home to about 700 of our primate relatives. Mahale has been the site of an ongoing Japanese-sponsored primate research project since 1965. The M Group, which has been the focal point of the their study are well habituated to people. It can take time and some strenuous, steep, sweaty walking to find the chimps, but watching them is an amazing experience. Have a look at the pictures in the Mahale Gallery below.
Lazy times in Zanzibar
We stayed in Matemwe, which is in the north of Zanzibar. The area has beautiful beaches with fine white sand. Snorkeling and swimming with dolphins around Mnemba island was great. Tanja enjoyed taking it easy and spent most of the days watching the ocean, the fisherman coming and going with the tides and the woman making their way across the shallows to harvest seaweed and catch shellfish. The fresh fish we enjoyed every day came from the colorful fish market in the nearby village.
Exploring with a GoPro
Willem enjoyed playing around with a GoPro, filming the under water world with it’s colorful fish, beautiful coral, sea urchins and stars. Using a split dome Willem took amazing pictures of the fishing ladies walking the shallows at low tide, where half of the photo is above water, showing the surroundings and the bottom part shows the underwater world.