The Mahale Mountains National Park nestles on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region – western Tanzania with a picturesque landscape. The Park was christened after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders.
The park has several unique characteristics, among them include; being one of the only two protected areas inhabiting chimpanzees in the Tanzania, the other being Gombe Stream National Park.
The chimpanzee population in Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest known and due to its size and remoteness, the chimpanzees flourish.
The other unique feature with Mahale Mountains National Park is that it is the only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist.
Accessibility of the Park
Getting to the park is an adventure as it can only be accessed by air and boat. The Park has no roads within it, only forest paths through the lush vegetation.
Attractions in the Park
The park is a hiker’s paradise, but above it all it is a promised land for chimpanzee fanatics. Mahale is a haven for primates, with chimpanzee trekking one of the highlights for visiting the Park.
The park is teeming with wildlife, rivers and waterfalls are everywhere and around the shoreline of the lake, are the most unspoilt white sandy beaches anyone could imagine.
Mahale Mountains National Park inhabits nine species of primates including; the chimpanzees, yellow baboon, red Colobus, blue monkeys and the red-tailed monkey as well as 73 other mammals.
Chimpanzee trekking, as a highlight for visiting the Park, takes tourists on a wild adventure through the misty forests.
During the trekking of chimpanzees, trekkers also have a huge opportunity of spotting other animals like the warthogs, mongooses, roan and sable antelopes, at times even lions and leopards can be sighted.
Crocodiles are also known to live in the park as hippos are sometimes sighted in Lake Tanganyika, swimming in the crystal clear waters.
The Park also boasts over 355 bird species, thus being an ideal place for bird aficionados, among the species to spot include; pelicans, malachite kingfishers, pied kingfishers, fish eagles, Livingston’s Turacos, narina trogons, crested guinea fowls and blue cheeked bee-eaters. The lake has over 250 endemic fish species and can be seen while snorkeling in the shallow waters.
Putting chimpanzee trekking aside, the Park has vey many activities for its visitors to indulge in, such as; game viewing, snorkeling, fishing, hiking, as well as relaxing at the Lake Tanganyika.
Accommodations in Mahale Mountains National Park
Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge
Nestled deep in the heart of the African interior on a stretch of secluded golden beach, Mbali Mbali Mahale is the perfect blend of comfort and luxury in a romantic setting. Mahale is a pristine, natural experience open to those willing to walk its trails.
The birds, primates, monkeys, small predators and butterflies, all offer signs of life and there is little that beats an amble through the forest.
The lodge consists of 9 beach tents and it’s open to all ages though the minimum participating age for chimpanzee trekking as determined by ‘TANAPA’ is 12 years old.
The lodge’s rate includes; daily meals, local beers, selection of spirits and house wines, soft drinks and water, laundry, Concession fees, 1 x Chimpanzee Trek per day, 1 x Boat Safari per stay (two hours – Option 1: See the Hippos and take a short river cruise and try the local methods of freshwater fishing.
Option 2: Visit a neighboring fishing village, Katumbi, for a Cultural Tour. Pay for another boat safari to do both), Return Mahale Airstrip boat transfers, Kayaking.
Greystoke Mahale Camp
The camp boasts 6 exotic and unique colorful bandas. It’s very simple. If you really want to connect with the African bush, just put yourself right out there.
Because the camp knows the bush, and it knows what’s safe and what’s comfortable, it can make this happen. It deserts the lodge and walk with you into the big beyond. The further it goes, the deeper the wilderness, the bigger it feels.
At some point, it comes upon the camp-out spot and home for one night. There’s a murmur of voices, the fire is lit. It feels secure and cozy, though it knows that only the finest line is drawn between it and wild Africa.
In Greystoke’s fly camps it strips away all but the basic necessities to get you as close to the African wilderness as you’ll ever want to be. It gives you safety and comfort, a proper, sweet sleep under the stars, and a major bucket-list experience.
Kungwe Beach Lodge
There are ten light, airy and spacious tents, scattered along the beach on raised platforms with thatched roofs. Each tent is furnished in the traditional ‘safari’ style and with a secluded patio offering lovely views over the Lake.
Tents have twin or double four-poster beds with mosquito nets, a dressing table, chair and electrical charging point as well as en-suite facilities with open-feel showers, flush toilets and hot and cold running water throughout the day.
Set deep in the heart of the African interior on a stretch of secluded golden beach, Kungwe Beach Lodge is the ideal blend of comfort and luxury in a romantic setting.
With the chain of wild, jungle-draped Mountains rising high up behind, the lodge is ideally positioned along the beach under the tropical shade of the Mahale forest with breathtaking views over the crystal clear waters of Lake Tanganyika.
The raised thatched mess, built in the shape of a Dhow boat, is where most meals are served and also offers a cozy lounge area, with a small selection of books and board games for lazy afternoons.
Guests enjoy sundowners and share their adventures of the day around a crackling fire whilst the sun slowly slips over the mountains of Congo.
Barbeque candlelit dinners are served on the beach, to the unique sounds of Africa – beetles, crickets and the night calls of chimpanzees, the only way to relax after a perfect day.