Mahale mountains national park is one of the remote parks located in Western Tanzania offering astounding Tanzania safari experience. Mahale mountains national park can be explored on foot making you come close to the wilderness as the only way to access the park is by a boat on the fabulous Lake Tanganyika. Mahale mountains national park offers impressive views of the Mahale Mountains and the sparkling Lake Tanganyika. The park is also known for harboring Chimpanzees and lions which is uncommon with a lot of other primates. This parks offers a very affordable Tanzania holiday experience.
Mahale national park boasts with over 200 fish species to be found in lake Tanganyika, over 300 species of birds, 29 species of amphibians and 26 reptile species, 9 species of primates and 73 mammal species. Mahale national park is also one of the only two national parks to do Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania.
Mahale national park was established in 1985 and covers an area of 1613 kilometers squared; Mahale national park is dominated by the Mahale Mountains cascading to the adorable Lake Tanganyika which is the largest and deepest lake in the world.
The Japanese primates’ researchers made their first visit to the shores of Lake Tanganyika in 1961 and established their first camp in Kansyana in 1965 when they began habituating Chimpanzees. The nearest town is Kigoma, there are no roads in the park making it one of the most remote national park in the world but with a rewarding wilderness experience.
Mahale national park offers unique safari experience to those who make it there some of the activities to do while at this park are;
Chimpanzee Trekking: Chimpanzee trekking is a famous highlight at Mahale national park, about 1700 Chimpanzees have been recorded to be living in Mahale national parkand harbors nine species of other primates like the blue monkey, red colobus monkey, olive baboon, yellow baboon and the red tailed monkey among others. Kids under the age of twelve and people who are sick with infectious diseases are not allowed to visit he Chimpanzees, a group of more than six people can’t see the chimps and if tourists arrive while another group is viewing, they are advised to wait at a spot chosen by their tour guide. Trekking is not permitted for longer than three hours and the maximum viewing time is one hour.
Bird Watching: Mahale National Park is endowed with over 300 species of birds both migratory and residential birds. The kabezi area in the north sector is the best for bird viewing some of the birds to expect are; malachite kingfisher, storks, pied kingfisher, pelicans and African fishing eagle among the rest.
Sport Fishing: Sport fishing on the splendid Lake Tanganyika which contains over 200 fish species offers a beautiful recreational experience; fishing can be done at the designated areas with the help of tour guide experienced in fishing. Tourists are also advised to get fishing permits before embarking on this activity.
Cultural Experience: The Ujiji historical colonial town in Tanganyika where slave trade used to be carried out by the German colonialists, tourists can also visit the small villages of the holoholo and batongwe people who used to live in the Mahale national park before it was gazetted as a national park in 18985. This group have very unique ways of living and different lifestyles you would love to see and also acquire hand crafts from the local shops for remembrance.
Hiking: To get more striking views of the Mahale mountains national park, tourists can hike up the mountain to its highest peak mount nkungwe offering breath taking views of the panoramic park with a lot of wildlife and plant life to encounter on the way, while on top of the mountain tourists camping at night can see fishermen with small lamps on lake Tanganyika the hiking safari always takes 2-3 days to reach the summit.
Nature guided walks: Taking a walking safari is one of the best ways to explore nature, tourists can come across Chimpanzees, butterflies, wildlife and many bird species during this nature guided walks in the cool breeze of the tropical rain forests of Mahale, Sandy beaches or to the magnificent waterfalls.
Apart from Chimpanzee trekking in the Mahale Mountains tourists can also view animals like warthogs, mongoose, antelopes and hippos occasionally seen at Lake Tanganyika.
The best time if the year to visit Mahale national park is in mid May to mid October, the sunshine will bring a summer like experience as you relax on the lake shores after swimming and the fish are also very visible. In addition to this, the vegetation is not very thick hence making the Chimpanzees are easily seen. The other months are also favorable for bird enthusiasts.
Some of the lodges to stay from while at Mahale national park are Greystoke Mahale camp, Kungwe beach resort and many others.