Mahale National Park
Mahale National Park sets the standard for remoteness in Tanzania, lying within a completely roadless area. Following a flight to a bush landing strip it is another hour or so by panga boat to arrive at one of the three safari camps. While Jane Goodall and the chips of Gombe Stream gained worldwide fame a similar study was taking place in Mahale by a Japanese researcher beginning in the mid-1960’s. Mahale is 30 times the size of Gombe Stream and has much greater diversity of plants and animals including many species that have disappeared from Gombe Stream. Tourists on chimp treks typically spend time with M Group, which numbers about 60 individuals.
The jungle of Mahale feels more like being in the Congo, which is far in the distance across Lake Tanganyika. This joining of jungle and beautiful lake with white sand beaches is pure magic and Mahale is one of the most spectacular and unique safari destinations throughout the continent. The waters of the lake are lovely and there is outstanding fresh water snorkeling with hundreds of colorful chiclid species to see. Add in crusing on a panga boat and kayaking and you can have a beach holiday feel combined with the active thrill of chimp trekking, it’s like nowhere else.
Mahale National Park is a 623 square mile National Park located in the far western part of Tanzania – on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. There are two flights a week so you either visit for 3 or 4 nights. The planes stop at Katavi first so many people combine the two parks for a fabulous wild west itinerary. We also have many clients that are focused on the Serengeti but add on just Mahale for a very different experience.
Obviously chimpanzees are the main attraction here. There can be no other wildlife viewing experience that can connect with ones soul more then spending time on foot with our closest wild relative. The chimps can be loud, energetic, and dynamic making viewing extremely exciting and your hour each day in the company of chimps will provide amazing observational opportunities, possibly revealing behaviors that are very familiar and shared with humans. Time with chimps may resonate in your soul forever after.
Beyond the chimps there are seven other primate species including both red colobus and black and white colobus monkeys. There are many bird species but with the thick jungle they are often heard more then seen. One nice surprise is a stunning array of butterfly species.
Below are some sample itineraries that include a visit to Mahale:
Best Times to Go
Camps operate in Mahale all year except April and May which are times of heavy rain. Any other time is great to see the chimps. Certain months like February and March are more likely to encounter rain which can make trekking more challenging but during the driest months of the year there are often less trees in fruit and the chimps may go higher up the mountains requiring longer treks, thus we recommend to pick the best time for your traditional game viewing and then combine Mahale whenever that may be. Any time Mahale magic will deliver.
Below are some of the accommodations available for Mahale National Park. Click a link below for more information.