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Mahale Mountain National Park

Welcome to Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania – Karibu

Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma area. Mahale Mountains National Park and Katavi National Park are the 2 (two) incredible protected areas that are located in the extreme west of Tanzania.

This park derived its name from the Mahale Mountains range which is situated within the park’s border area. Mahale Mountain ranges were traditionally occupied by mostly the Batongwe and Holoholo people but when the Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Center was founded around 1979, they were forced out of these mountains to pave the way to the national park that officially opened in 1985.

Mahale National Park - Only Accessible by Boat

Mahale National Park – Only Accessible by Boat

It is a second area after Gombe Stream National Park where chimpanzees are found in Tanzania. Being one of the most wilderness areas, this park is inaccessible by road but can be reached by boat on the coast of Lake Tanganyika which features as the longest, deepest, oldest Lake in Africa and the second largest freshwater Lake in the world with over 1000 distinct fish species.

Mahale Mountains National Park covers an area of about 1613 square kilometres. Behind the beach, the Mahale Mountain ranges rise to a dramatic peak at Mount Nkungwe for about 2500 meters above sea level. Above the cliffs stretch high elevation plains carpeted with wildflowers during the first season rainfalls.

Stunning waterfalls tumble from the heights, cutting deep ravines filled with remarkable flora, butterflies and bird species. Most of the forest dwellers at this park include the giant forest squirrels, scaly giant pangolin, baboons, shaggy red and black and white colobus monkeys, brush-tailed porcupines and Sharpe’s grysbok.

About 900 wild chimpanzees thrive within this park. Interestingly, Mahale Mountains National Park is the only tourist site where chimpanzees and lions live co-exist. Chimpanzees in this park are habituated by a Japanese research project that was established in the 1960s. Trekking the chimpanzees at Mahale National Park is undeniably the most thrilling primate experience that you shouldn’t miss out while on safari in Tanzania.

Chimpanzee Walking in Mahale Mountains Naional Park Tanzania

Chimpanzee Walking in Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania

Mahale National Park is best for you to engage in primate adventures (chimpanzee trekking), hiking, camping tours, sport fishing, snorkelling and birding. Besides primates, this park also refuges over 73 mammal species and the notable wildlife species include roan and sable antelopes, mongoose, warthogs, lion, leopards, hippos, crocodiles as well as bird species especially pelicans, storks, malachite kingfishers, pied kingfishers, fish eagles, blue cheeked bee-eaters, Narina trogons, crested guinea fowls, Livingston’s Turacos and many more.

How to get to Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the remotely located national parks in Tanzania whose natural treasures have not been tapped. It can be accessed by flight aircraft which takes you about 4 to 5 hours to Dar/Arusha. The relatively cheaper way for you to reach to Katavi and Mahale National Park is by using twice-weekly chartered flights that connect the two parks with Arusha in northern Tanzania. There are also flights that operate through Dar-es-salaam to Selous to Ruaha to Katavi or Mahale. From Arusha to Kigoma it is about 1020 kilometres and from Kigoma, to Mahale National Park it is 130 kilometres.

When to visit Mahale Mountain National Park

Like most protected areas in Tanzania, Mahale Mountains National Park can be visited at any time of the year but it experiences a dry season from May to October and this is a perfect time that you can pay a visit to this park especially for chimpanzee adventures. This season is characterized by low rainfall and temperatures range from 18 to 30 degrees Celsius. The wet season at this park starts from November to April and temperatures range from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius.

Accommodation in Mahale Mountain National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park features accommodation facilities like Greystoke Mahale Lodge; a luxury facility with about 6 luxurious Bandas. The other options include Kungwe Beach Lodge previously called Nkungwe Luxury Tented Camp.

Greystoke Mahale Lodge

Greystoke Mahale Lodge

In conclusion, if you are interested in wilderness areas then consider the Mahale Mountain ranges National Park a must in your bucket list. This park features among the very few most remotely located protected areas in Tanzania and they reward visitors with true African experiences given its untouched natural wonders.