Mahale Mountains, like its northerly neighbour Gombe Stream, is home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees: a population of roughly 800, habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide’s eyes pick out last night’s nests – shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Then suddenly you are in their midst: preening each other’s glossy coats in concentrated huddles, squabbling noisily, or bounding into the trees to swing effortlessly between the vines.

The area is also known as Nkungwe, after the park’s largest mountain, held sacred by the local Tongwe people, and at 2,460 metres (8,069 ft) the highest of the six prominent points that make up the Mahale Range.

And while chimpanzees are the star attraction, the slopes support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds.

You can trace the Tongwe people’s ancient pilgrimage to the mountain spirits, hiking through the montane rainforest belt – home to an endemic race of Angola colobus monkey – to high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo. Then bathe in the impossibly clear waters of the world’s longest, second-deepest and least-polluted freshwater lake – harbouring an estimated 1,000 fish species – before returning as you came, by boat.

About Mahale Mountains National Park
Size: 1,613 sq km (623 sq miles).
Location: Western Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika.

Getting there
Charter flight from Arusha, Dar or Kigoma.
Charter private or national park motorboat from Kigoma, three to four hours.
Weekly steamer from Kigoma, seven hours, then hire a local fishing boat or arrange with park HQ for pickup in park boat, another one or two hours.

What to do
Chimp tracking (allow two days); hiking; camping safaris; snorkelling; fish for your dinner.

When to go
Dry season (May-October) best for forest walks although no problem in the light rains of October/November.

Accommodation
Two seasonal luxury tented camps.
Two small resthouses, large campsite

 

Beach Holidays

7 Days Zanzibar Beach Holiday

Northern Circuit

Bilila Lodge Kempinski

Northern Circuit

Ngorongoro Crater

Car Rentals

Car Hire

Gombe Stream

Gombe Stream is Tanzania’s smallest park (52 sq…

Mount Meru

Apart from organizing treks on Mount Kilimanjaro…

Oldonyo Lengai

Oldonyo Lengai means “The Mountain of God”,…

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286m above the sea level,…

Mahale Mountains

Mahale Mountains, like its northerly neighbour Gombe…

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286m above the sea level,…

Selous Game Reserve

Selous Game Reserve covers over 50,000 square kilometers,…

Mount Meru

Apart from organizing treks on Mount Kilimanjaro…

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is 335km from Arusha town,…

Spicy Island of Zanzibar

Although Zanzibar and its neighbouring tropical…

Udzungwa National Park

Centered on 30o – 41oE and 7o – 48oS, the park…

Lake Manyara

Lake Manyara National Park is 126km away from Arusha…

Mikumi National Park

Mikumi National Park is located on the northern…

Gombe Stream

Gombe Stream is Tanzania’s smallest park (52 sq…

Mount Hanang

Hanang District is situated in Manyara region, about…

Tarangire National Park

This National Park, gazetted in 1970, is 118km away…

Oldonyo Lengai

Oldonyo Lengai means “The Mountain of God”,…

Usambara Mountain

The Usambara Mountain are situated in the northeastern…

Katavi National Park

Covering an area of 2253 km2 Katavi National Park…

Arusha National Park

This National Park is 32km away from Arusha town,…

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro National Park is 128km from Arusha…

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park covers an area of 10,300 square…

Mahale Mountains

Mahale Mountains, like its northerly neighbour Gombe…

Advertise With Us

BPTS Travel Agency Advert 3