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.

The Best time of your safaris at Mahale Mountains National Park

The Mahale Mountains National Park can be accessed throughout the year by either, a road, water or by air. By Road from Kigoma town, the park can be accessed at a distance of 128km (5hrs drive) at a south-east direction of the Lake Tanganyika shore. Using charted flights from all major cities and towns, aircrafts will take up to four or five hours to land Kigoma from Dar or Arusha . Just after landing Kigoma town visitors will proceed to a park by roadways. Also the park can be reached by ship (9-10hrs journey) via Lake Tanganyika to Lagosa and then by using boat with 30 minutes cruise to the park. Also there is a public transport at Rukoma village or Mgambo village where visitors can hire a local boat or arrange with park for boat pick up, or public transport to Park Headquarter. The isolation of the park has helped it remained untouched.  GVTS will be available to help you organize your trip once a demand is raised.

Mahale Mountains National Park experiences higher seasonal variation in monthly rainfall. The rainy period of the year takes up to 8 months, from September to May. A lot of rain falls in the months of January, February, March, April, November and December. The park experiences the dry season in the months of June, July, August and September. On average March is the wettest month and July is the driest month. So, plan to visit the park between the month of June and September.

The uniqueness of Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park is a famous park for chimpanzees, However there are other attractions like the viewing of the Lake Tanganyika which is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world, the second largest by volume and the second deepest after lake Baikal in Siberia. Other attractions in the park include viewing beautiful varieties of waterfalls like Ntale, Kasiha and Sansa , wild animals like warthogs, mountains and sand beaches

Visiting the park is a rewarding experience as visitors will be given chances to carry game drive, chimp-trekking, hiking, snorkeling and bird watching. Seeing chimpanzees is not guaranteed in the Mahale Mountains National Park but it’s normal to see chimpanzees on most days. You’d be exceptionally unlucky to stay at the park for several days and not find chimp. More usually, visitors will be able to sit and watch foraging, grooming, tussling, bickering and taking care of their young. Sitting in the forest, watching chimpanzees getting on with their daily lives is a remarkable animal encounter – and that is what makes the chimp safaris in Mahale Mountains National Park so amazing. You are warmly welcome to experience this exceptional national park.

Tourism Activities in Mahale Mountains National Park

Viewing chimpanzees

In The Mahale Mountains National Park, chimpanzees are always seen in the dense forest jumping from one branch to another, from one tree to another and other times on the ground playing, grooming, eating and resting.

Viewing Lake Tanganyika

This Lake Tanganyika is the longest and deepest lake in the world with magnificent views of the shores that provides visitors exceptional experience especially when executing snorkeling or resting on its shores. While being along the lake, you will watch aquatic birds, the sundown and the red sky taking a thousand words.

Sand Beaches

The shorelines of Lake Tanganyika are lovely unchanged beaches, nicely presented and very clean throughout the year.

Mahale Mountain

Travellers being at The Mahale Mountains with steep slopes will take up to 5hours to reach the top during the hike while continuing spotting different wildlife which makes all trips / journeys very remarkable and unforgettable.

Ujiji Historical site

Ujiji site is the oldest town in western Tanzania located about 10 kms south of Kigoma. It is also known as Kavele. The center was for Arabic settlement during the slave trade and it was used as terminus for the old group route from the coast.

Ujiji has also historical implications for explorers as it was a place where burton and speke first reached the shore of lake Tanganyika in 1858. And the place where Dr. Livingstone met Stanley in 1871. A monument known as Dr. Livingstone memorial has been constructed to honor the meeting. Near the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika emerge an earliest and traditional fishing market and a slave route near it.  At night when the Lake is relatively cool, visitors may enjoy the dreamy site of softly lit lake.

Mahale Mountains National Park has activities that give visitors opportunities to enjoy its beauty. The Park will give opportunities to do Chimp trekking, Walking safari, Boat cruising, Sport fishing and Mountain hiking. Other tourism activities offered by the park includes camping safaris, (wilderness and fly camping along the beaches), snorkeling, diving, kayaking and bird watching.

Chimps trekking

While at Mahale Mountain National Park, the chimpanzee trekking will take visitors on a wild adventure through the cloudy forest. Sighting can vary between 30 minutes for the first sightings to up to 4 hours. The GVTS guide will lead visitors accompanied by armed park rangers.

Walking safari

Mahale Mountain National Park is not just about chimpanzee-trekking only but it offers the perfect balance of wildlife watching where animals like roan and sable antelope and mongoose are easily seen and occasionally lion and leopard as well. The park offers short and long walks in the grid of strategically positioned natural trails to provide a wide range of choice to visitors. Walking boots, long trousers and small backpack (for cameras and binoculars) are always wise for safaris to see the chimpanzees

Boat cruising

Mahale Mountain National Park provides oat cruising. This activity enables visitors to get a chance to view a spectacular beauty of the lake and lake shorelines full of beautiful beaches, water birds, crocodiles, hippos, otters and plant species along the shores. This activity brings enjoyable moments as the cool breeze from the lake breezes to visitors.

Sport fishing 

This exciting recreational activity is conducted in Lake Tanganyika, in which there is great possibility of getting big catches.

Mountain hiking

The highest point of the Mahale Mountain National park is the Kungwe peak with an elevation of 2462m. This provides visitors with a unique sense of physical challenge when climbing to the peak. Hiking takes visitors about 7–9 hours to and from the peak.

 

Accommodation Facilities

In the Mahale Mountain National Park there are various available accommodations ranging from Tanzania National Park (TANAPA) owned to private owned accommodations. TANAPA owns picnic sites, public campsites, special campsites and Bandas. There are two operating luxury tented camp namely, GREYSTOKE CAMP with a capacity of 14 beds and is the oldest camp in the Park, owned by Nomad Tanzania Limited and KUNGWE BEACH PERMANENT CAMP with a capacity of 20 beds owned by Kigoma Hilltop Lodges and Safaris.

KARIBU TANZANIA – KARIBU MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK