Mahale Mountains National Park is a very special safari destination, set apart from all other Tanzanian alternatives in character, location and style. This isolated safari destination on the Western boundaries provides unparalleled opportunities to witness wild groups of habituated and unhabituated chimpanzees in an exceptional natural environment.
This vast stretch of tropical forested National Park meets the lapping fresh waters of Lake Tanganyika along a pale sandy shore. Here visitors can combine an unusual and intense safari experience with an exceptional beach holiday on the banks of the world’s longest freshwater lake, snorkeling and fishing and then setting off into the forest to follow the trail of our primeval ancestors.
Exploring Mahale Mountains
The sun rises over the lake and sets behind the steep rise of mountains, extending up to 2,462 m at Nkungwe Peak and as there are no roads in the park, all the trails that lead through its glades and distances are only open to those who will walk on them.
Numerous pathways and tracks allow visitors to enjoy truly beautiful forest walks and chance an encounter with some of the many different inhabitants of the lowland forests and higher brachystesia woodlands and savannahs. Hundreds of colorful butterflies (over 30 species) and forest bird’s dart across the sunlit paths, and the odd Otter may be met near the lake.
The paths are also foraged by warthogs and bush pigs, while elephants, buffaloes, yellow baboons and monkeys favor the cover of the northern regions, and the lower, southern reaches are the terrains of rare roan and sable antelopes, kudu and eland in the shadow of leopard and lion.
The trees are the merry domain of giant squirrels and red-legged squirrels, and excitable troops of velvet, red colobus and white-spot-nose monkeys, as well as potentially a new subspecies of Angolan black and white colobus monkey found on Mt Nkungwe.
Trekking Mahale Chimps
But most who travel to be here come to experience the unusual company of a larger primate, the chimpanzees. Their trails can be tracked through the forest, in the company of guides or occasionally a friendly local primatologist, who will teach intrepid chimp followers how to spot signs of recent activity and hopefully, eventually, discover a troop of feisty chimpanzees at play.