MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The pristine and remote park, The Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shorelines of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region in Tanzania. The Park is a quite simply and most beautiful parks compared to other national parks found in anywhere in Africa. With about a size of 1,600km², the Mahale Mountains is regarded as the home to around 1,000 chimpanzees, the jungle and the mountains. Named after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders, the park has several unusual characteristics, the first being one of the only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country and the other being adjacent to the Gombe Stream National Park which was made famous by the researcher Dr. Jane Goodall. The chimpanzee habitation in Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest known and due to its size and coolness, the chimpanzees flourish. Mahale Mountains National Park is also the only place where chimpanzees and lions live in the same place. Another unique feature of the park is that the place is one of the very few in Africa that must be experienced by foot. There are no roads or other infrastructure setups within the park boundaries. The only way in and out of the park is via boat from Lake Tanganyika.
Mahale Mountains National Park has steep slopes, lush forests, lakeside beaches and Africa’s best chimpanzee safaris. The Mahale Mountains were traditionally inhabited by the Batongwe and Holoholo people. When the Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Center was established in 1979 these people were ejected from the mountains to make way for the park as a game reserve, which opened in 1985.
The lakeshore of Lake Tanganyika adjacent to Mahale Mountains National Park is a beach of the finest powder-white sand, behind which emerged a range of imposing mountains with green tropical vegetation. Big electric-blue butterflies winging above the streams and the forest are alive with sound interactions. Mahale Mountains National Park is very beautiful and it is also a harbor to Tanzania’s densest population of primates; the yellow baboon, red colobus, blue, red-tailed and vervet monkeys are never far away – and then, of course, there are the chimpanzees.
The hike motion to reach the Mahale’s chimpanzees can vary from a leisurely wander work of about 20 minutes to a more energetic hike and take up to three hours. Approaching the end of the dry season (August to October) Mahale’s chimp safaris are at their calmest, as the forest trails are at their driest and least slippery. During such conditions, chimpanzees are usually at their closest to the shore.