In secluded western Tanzania, the Mahale Mountains National Park is located on the lake’s eastern shore. With the Mahale Mountains as the backdrop and lush, tropical vegetation, it is breathtakingly gorgeous. Walking safaris to watch the local chimpanzees are the major draw. They live in a forest paradise alongside numerous other primates, animals, and stunning birds.
- Walking safaris searching for chimpanzees and other primates animals.
- Prolific flora, plenty of primates, and other animals
- Beach-living on the white sands beside the crystal water of the lake
- A heaven for birdwatchers.
- Distant location, breathtaking scenery, and an uncrowded experience.
- Swimming with approximately 250 species of fish exclusive to Lake Tanganyika!
- Visits Mahale’s highest peak, Mount Nkungwe.
- Villages are visited for cultural purposes.
The isolated western Tanzanian region of Mahale Mountains National Park, which was established in 1985, is home to more than 1,500 km2 of lush terrain on the eastern banks of Lake Tanganyika, the second-deepest and longest freshwater lake in the world.
It is lush, green, and mountainous, and the Mahale Mountains, which cross the park, tower over it. Miombo woodlands make up the majority of the park, with patches of Kasoge forest, riverine forest, montane forest, and montane grassland. This gives the variety of animals that call Mahale home enough habitat.
CHIMPANZEES IN THE MAHALE MOUNTAINS
A colony of about 900 habituated wild chimpanzees, some of which are Africa’s last survivors, can be found in the park (together with its more northern neighbor Gombe). Because of the chimpanzees’ propensity for many human diseases, Tanzanian primate safaris must adhere to stringent regulations.
Don’t pass up this exciting opportunity! Moreover, spend some time looking for chimpanzees as you hike through the Mahale Mountains National Park. Experienced and skilled guides lead the hikes. You’ll get to know the neighborhood chimpanzees and have some opportunity to observe them. The opportunity to interact with chimpanzees is extraordinary and comes only once in a lifetime.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NATIONAL PARK
Mahale Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for serious photographers and safari fans because of its magnificent sunsets over Lake Tanganyika. Since there are no roads inside the park’s boundaries, this park is one of the few in Africa where you will only be able to travel by foot. The park may only be entered and exited by boat across the lake.
WILDLIFE IN THE MAHALE NATIONAL PARK
The astonishing variety of habitats in the park includes woodlands, alpine bamboo, grasslands, and rainforests. More than 50 different animal species can be found here. They are primarily made up of members of the numerous ape and monkey families. And in the lake’s crystal-clear waters, there are over 100 different types of fish swimming. The most common animals in Mahale Mountains National Park includes:
- Angola colobus
- Red colobus
- Red-tailed and blue monkeys
- Forest birds
- Less common and rarely seen:
- Wild dog
- Roan antelope
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK/EXCURSIONS IN MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Enjoy a thrilling morning exploring Mahale National Park’s forested slopes in search of the chimpanzees. You will soon encounter the local chimpanzee troop on the hike, which is supervised by educated and experienced guides, and you will have an hour to observe them before heading back to the lodge. Because of the chimpanzees’ propensity for many human diseases, Tanzanian primate safaris must adhere to stringent regulations. Below are the things to do in Mahale mountainous National Park in a summary:
- Tracking chimpanzee
- Camping safaris
- Forest walks
- Hiking up Mount Nkungwe
BEST TIME TO VISIT
All seasons of the year are suitable for visiting Mahale Mountains National Park. The lengthy dry season, which lasts from July to October, is the best time to go since the chimpanzees tend to congregate in larger numbers near the coast. In the rainy season, you should still be able to see them, albeit it might take a little more walking. Visitors are delighted by beautiful thunderstorms across the lake during the rainy season! Nonetheless, some camps close down during heavy downpours.
Mahale is not crowded because it is rural. Air travel is the simplest and quickest method of getting there.
By air: Three to five-hour regular scheduled flights are offered from Arusha and Dar es Salaam to the Mahale Airstrip during the high season, which runs from June to October. There are fewer flights during the off-season. Moreover, charter flights might be planned.
By car: The roads are unpaved and occasionally impassable, especially when it rains. It takes two to three days to drive from Arusha to Kigoma (from whence you must take a boat or an aircraft).
By boat: There are speedboats (four to six hours) and timber boats (up to 15 hours) that travel to Mahale from Kigoma. The large steamship MV Liemba departs Kigoma twice weekly (10 hours).
Chimpanzee-watching is an amazing experience. Chimpanzees’ intelligence and thoughtfulness are readily apparent when you are face-to-face with them.
Chimpanzees can be seen close to the lakeshore or high in the mountains depending on the season, saving you a lengthy walk. Because chimpanzees are so active, exploring these forests on foot can be taxing. You occasionally track them through these tangled woods. So, having an informed guide is crucial. The guides at the lodge know where to go after finding the group.
The dense forest offers a number of accessible routes. The old mango and guava trees you pass were planted by Japanese scientists to observe chimps up close. Guava is the preferred fruit of the chimpanzee.
When you get close to the chimps, the excitement definitely increases. To avoid mishaps, the 10-meter distance between you and the animals is rigorously observed. The possibility exists that the chimpanzees will unintentionally choose to visit you.
A chimpanzee permit is provided each day of your stay. A walk might last anywhere from a few hours to the whole day, and you can even spend a whole day with the chimps. Although fairly pricey, the permit is unquestionably worthwhile. A truly life-changing experience!