Nomad share the mountains and the lake with so many animals, but it's the chimps that inspire; it's hard not to compare their daily lives, their movements, feeding, squabbling, foraging and grooming, with our own. Time spent with them is time away from everything else that is ordinary. The Greystoke guides have watched, over the years, as families have grown, alpha males have come and gone, bonds and friendships have been created and then broken, and then created again. They are not so different from us.
After tracking them, for an hour or two, maybe more, only aware of the sounds they are making ahead of you, you find them; suddenly they are everywhere. You sit quietly on the forest floor and take a deep breath, this is what it's all about. For the next hour it's as if you scarcely breathe, so wrapped up are you in watching them go about their daily life. You become aware of the subtleties of different relationships, through gesture, sound and expression. One dictating the pace, another courting favour, yet another perhaps plotting a coup. There is humour too as the young chimps fall about the floor and play remarkably human games.
It's all acted out on this natural chimpanzee stage, and witnessing it is a true privilege.
Activities at Greystoke
Hike the forest paths looking for birds and butterflies, as well as the other shy mammals who quietly live there. Swim in ice-cold pools up in the mountain waterfalls, take a kayak out for a dawn paddle towards the middle of the lake; drink your morning coffee there and enjoy the sunrise coming up over the mountains.
Go for sundowners on the old wooden dhow, lazily following the shoreline and stopping to fish along the way, or just relax on the warm sands of the beach with a drink in hand.