Mahale Mountains National Park, covering 1613 sqkm, is situated in Western Tanzania, along Lake Tanganyika. It starts with the beautifully clear water of the lake, and the finest sandy beaches, to reach to the mountainous tropical forest, with the highest summit being Nkungwe at 2463 meters. This very remote park, far from the classic touristic circuits and difficult to reach, just has a few hundreds of visitors each year.

Mahale Mountains Park is known for its chimpanzee population, close to a thousand individuals, and most visitors stay 2 or 3 days, to have the opportunity to observe them in their natural environment. According to season, you have to walk from 20 minutes to 3 hours to reach them.

The rest of the day can be spent on the beach, or kayaking or fishing. Lake Tanganyika is the longest and second deepest lake in the world, and you find here more than a thousand different species of fish, and amongst them, most of the beautifully coloured aquarium fish. As there are also crocodiles and hippopotamus in the lake, it is not advised to swim here.

Animals:

Apart from the chimpanzees, you would have the opportunity to see many other monkeys, as yellow baboon, red colobus, blue, red-tailed and vervet monkeys, as well as the forest giant squirrel. There are also lions, leopards, wild dogs, giraffes, elephants and sable antelopes, but these are more difficult to spot.

Birds:

In a recent survey, 355 species of birds were counted in the park, so you have a good chance of seeing a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds.

How and when to visit?

The best time to visit Mahale Mountains Park is from May to October, the dry season, as the chimpanzees are the closest to the camp. From November to March, however, it is the best time for photographers, who then need to walk longer to find them, but are not bothered by the haze. The park is very remote, with no road access. One needs to fly from Arusha or Katavi on a scheduled flight twice a week, and then take a boat ride for about 1 ½ hour on Lake Tanganyika, before reaching the camp.