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Mahale Mountains National Park

Sheltered from the Storm
Chimpanzee & sandy beaches, while hidden in the mountains - what a combination!

BEST FOR

chimpanzee trekking

CHIMPANZEES

Our Rating of Mahale Mountains National Park
  • Remoteness 85% 85%
  • Family 25% 25%
  • Animal Viewing 80% 80%
  • Landscape 25% 25%
  • Flora 70% 70%
  • Birding 65% 65%

Our Rating Of Mahale Mountains National Park

%

Chimpanzee & sandy beaches, while hidden in the mountains - what a combination!

Mahale Mountains National Park

Chimpanzee & sandy beaches, while hidden in the mountains - what a combination!

BEST FOR

chimpanzee trekking

CHIMPANZEES

Sheltered from the Storm

  • Remoteness 85% 85%
  • Family 25% 25%
  • Animal Viewing 80% 80%
  • Landscape 25% 25%
  • Flora 70% 70%
  • Birding 65% 65%

Our Rating Of Mahale Mountains National Park

%

Home » National Parks » Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

Two distinct features make Mahale Mountains National Park unique on the safari circuit. Firstly, it is, alongside Gombe National Park, home to heavily researched and habituated troops of chimpanzees. Second, it is the only place where chimpanzees and lions coexist.


Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the very few in Africa that must be experienced by foot.  Within the park there are no roads and the only access is via boat. As you can imagine the whole park is hilly and the main dominating feature is the Mahale Mountains. This mountain chain runs SE to NW through the park with it’s highest peak at 2,500 above sea level on mount Nkungwe. As the mountains fall into the lake they are surrounded by beautiful beaches of white sand.

The number one draw of the Mahale Mountains National park is to track the native chimpanzees. There are an estimated 800 chimpanzees roaming these parklands and whilst sometimes it can be difficult to trek these enchanting creatures, every step in the right direction is a fascinating reward. As you push through the canopies of fragrant trees with bright butterfly wings flitting past your face suddenly you are upon a family of chimpanzees. The little ones tumble around the ground whilst the adults sit back to back grooming each other, unaware of the human eyes watching. It truly is a stunning experience and one that will feed your memory forever and a day.

Yet despite the chimpanzees, the Mahale Mountains National Park has so much more to give. The rich slops are simply teeming with beautiful birds, exotic flora and decadent fauna. Blue monkeys swing through the low lying branches and red Columbus chatter to each other from the tree tops. Hippos and crocodiles wallow in the banks and schools of fish dance through the cool streams.

Sightings of the chimps in the Mahale Mountains National Park cannot be guaranteed, but it is  normal to see them on most days and you would be unlucky not spot them over the course of a few days. More usually, you’ll be able to sit and watch them foraging, grooming, tussling, bickering and taking care of their young. Sitting in the forest, watching chimpanzees getting on with their daily lives is an unforgettable animal encounter that makes the safaris in Mahale Mountains National Park one of the most unique and spectacular in Tanzania.

Our Top Tips For Mahale Mountains National Park
  • The Chimpanzees are the main attraction.
  • Chain of Mountains across the Mahale range offer exceptional hiking.
  • The park is much bigger than Gombe; the more famous chimp park next door.
  • Sandy beaches along Lake Tanganyika
  • Sun set on the Lake horizon
  • Very exclusive and doesn’t get crowdedThose seeking to embrace a high altitude adventure can climb the summit of Mount Nkungwe, along the slopes you can trek through the magnificent bush lands and step in the oversized footprints of elephants. 
mahale mountains national park download infographic 1

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Accommodation In Mahale Mountains National Park

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Accommodation In Mahale Mountains National Park

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Flora & Fauna In Mahale Mountains National Park

 

The main attraction in Mahale Mountains National Park is its population of chimps. There are roughly 800 to 1, 000 chimps in the park, and about 60 of them are very habituated to people. Your guide will take you, on foot, along the forest trails to find them. Chimps aside, eight other primate species have been recorded and at least five are likely to be encountered on a visit. These are yellow baboon, red colobus, blue monkey, red-tailed monkey and vervet monkey.

However, the Eastern slopes of Mahale support savannah and woodland species such as elephant, lion, wild dog, roan antelope, buffalo and giraffe, but they are rarely seen by visitors. Warthogs also often walk around the camp area.

While no real study of Mahale Mountains National Park’s birdlife has been completed, around 230 species have been recorded. Most of them are forest birds, which are quite difficult to spot. This is especially true since walking in the forest unguided is not allowed and the guided walks are focused on chimpanzees, but migratory birds are present from November to April and native species can be seen along the way.

DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTS YOU WILL EXPERIENCE

RAINFOREST

LAKE

 

Location Of Mahale Mountains National Park

e Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Kigoma Region of Tanzania. Named after the Mahale Mountain range within its borders, the park has several unusual characteristics.

Getting to Mahale Mountains National Park can be complex but it is well worth the travel. During the peak tourist season between June and October the three tour operators with camps in Mahale schedule regular flights between the park and Arusha town, where there is a very well service airport. Between October and March flights arrive and leave twice each week. Between March, April and the first half of May these camps close, meaning there are no scheduled flights.

However it is also possible for visitors to arrange their own charter flights. Tanzania has a large number of charter flight companies such as Air Excel, Northern Air and Regional Air. Private charters can be arranged from the major cities of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, or Zanzibar to Kigoma and on toward Mahale’s airstrip.

From Arusha it takes 2 or 3 days to reach Kigoma by car, a 4X4 drive vehicle is required. Trains from Dar es salaam leave 2-3 times a week for a three day and two nights journey. From Kigoma, transport to Mahale by speedboats or timber boats from can be arranged with the Park or private operators in Kigoma. The speedboats take between 4 and 5 hours to reach the park while timber boats can take up to 15 hours or more. A large steamship – MV Liemba – leaves Kigoma twice a month [on Wednesday afternoon], carrying passengers and cargo the length of the Lake to Zambia. It makes numerous stops along the way, including one for Mahale, which is referred to as Lagosa (the old name) or famously known as Mgambo. MV Liemba takes around 10 hours to reach Lagosa-Mgambo from Kigoma, and it passes Mahale again on its return journey [either Sunday or Monday morning.

The dry season from May to October is the best time for tracking chimpanzees at Mahale Mountains National Park. At this time, the chimps tend to stay close to the lakeshore and are easier to find. The park stays open throughout the year but, in heavy rain, the trails might be difficult to walk

Fun Facts About Mahale Mountains National Park

 Total Land Area

Elevation above sea level

Nearest Major City & Airport

When To Visit

1613 sq km
About the same size as Faroe Islands

 
750 -2460m
About 401 stacked giraffes
KIGOMA About 100 km East By Boat Jan Feb March Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

 

Fun Facts About Mahale Mountains National Park

 Total Land Area

1613 sq km
About the same size as Faroe Islands

Elevation above sea level

750 -2460m
About 401 stacked giraffes

Nearest Major City & Airport

KIGOMA
About 100 km East By Boat

When To Visit

Jan Feb March Apr May Jun
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec

 

Safaris In Mahale Mountains National Park

This is usually in a large vehicle with space for up to 8 guests.

  • Can decrease prices a lot especially for groups less than 3.
  • Great opportunity to meet other people from around the world.
  • You have separate rooms but the benefit of good company during transfers and meals.

View Shared Safaris

This is a private vehicle allowing you complete freedom.

  • You can decide on when you want to start & end your safari day.
  • Complete freedom – stop when & for how long you want.
  • Recommended for specialist photographers, honeymooners and families

View Private Safaris

Safaris In Mahale Mountains National Park

This is usually in a large vehicle with space for up to 8 guests.

  • Can decrease prices a lot especially for groups less than 3.
  • Great opportunity to meet other people from around the world.
  • You have separate rooms but the benefit of good company during transfers and meals.

View Shared Safaris

This is a private vehicle allowing you complete freedom.

  • You can decide on when you want to start & end your safari day.
  • Complete freedom – stop when & for how long you want.
  • Recommended for specialist photographers, honeymooners and families

View Private Safaris

DOWNLOAD OUR TANZANIA SAFARI GUIDE

Full of useful information about planning your Tanzania Safari

Be Inspired To Visit Mahale Mountains National Park
What To Do In Mahale Mountains National Park

CHIMPANZEE TREKKING

HIKING

WATERSPORTS

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Chimps Of Mahale and Gombe

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  These are some rules if visiting the chimps of Tanzania: When near the chimps, please remember to keep your voices low. This will also help...

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