Mahale Mountain National Park Tanzania, Attractions & Activities
Mahale Mountain National Park is located on the Eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika (2nd deepest lake in the whole world) in the Kigoma region Tanzania. Mahale Mountain National Park was established in 1979 and named after the Mahale mountains. The park covers an area of 1600 square kilometres.
The Mountains were originally inhabited by the Batongwe and Holoholo people who were later evacuated in 1979 when Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Centre was established to make way for the park which opened in 1985.
Mahale Mountain National Park is home to the largest habituated chimpanzee population. The park is one of the two chimpanzee protected areas and it protects about 1000 chimpanzees that coexist with lions.
The Mahale mountains rise up to 2460 metres. It has 6 points with Nkungwe being the highest.
Mahale Mountain National Park can be visited all year round but the best time to see chimps is during the dry season in the months of May to October. In this period, chimps are easier to spot, especially along the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
Attractions in Mahale Mountain National Park
The main attraction in Mahale is the chimpanzees but also other wildlife species can be seen and these include; Red-colobus monkey, Red-tailed monkey, hippos. Mahale Mountain National Park Tanzania boasts of more than 350 bird species some of which include; African fish eagle, Giant Kingfisher, Palm-nut Vultures and many more.
Mahale Mountain National Park has dense and green vegetation ranging from miombo woodland, montane grassland, bamboo bushland, fig trees, mahogany.
Activities in Mahale Mountain National Park
The chances of seeing chimpanzees are very high as you take a walk through the park in the designated paths with an experienced guide. An hour is spent watching the chimpanzees play, groom and interact with each other.
Guided forest walk
Take a walk through the forest as you appreciate the flora and fauna from bird species, primates, butterflies and many more others. Get a close encounter and observation of the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.
This is a leisure activity that can be enjoyed on any of the designated sites on Lake Tanganyika and it requires one to have a fishing permit.
Hiking Nkungwe the highest point on the Mahale mountains
This provides spectacular views of Lake Tanganyika as you hike to the summit. The best time to hike is during the dry season when the trails are not slippery. Enjoy a camping experience mid-way the hike.
Mahale National Park is occupied by several bird species that can be spotted as you talk a short walk through the grasslands. Species like Giant Kingfisher and many more.
Some ideal water activities to enjoy during your stay include; Snorkelling and scuba diving. You can also opt to explore the freshwater lake by taking up a boat cruise
How to get to Mahale Mountain National Park?
Entry point being Kilimanjaro International Airport or Julius Nyerere International Airport depending on your itinerary.
By air: Use a scheduled flight from Arusha or Dar es salaam to Mahale Airstrip.
By road: From Arusha to Kigoma then takes a boat or plane to Mahale. It may take about 2-3 days using a car and the roads may be inaccessible especially during the rainy season.
By boat: Take a boat from Kigoma to Mahale using either a speed boat (about 6 hours), a timber boat (about 15 hours).
Accommodation facilities in Mahale Mountain National Park
- Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge
- Greystoke Mahale Nomad Tanzania