MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Mahale Mountains National Park is set along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma area Western Tanzania. Compared to other protected areas, Mahale Mountains National Park is remotely located providing tourists on Tanzania safari with exceptional wilderness experiences. It takes its name from the Mahale Mountain range which lies at its border. Mahale Mountains National Park was gazetted in 1985 and sits in an area of 1650sq.km making it one of the largest national parks in Tanzania. It is dominated by the scenic Mahale Mountain range and offers an incredible view over the stunning Lake Tanganyika.
Attractions in Mahale Mountains National Park
What distinguishes Mahale Mountains National Park from the rest of the parks in Tanzania is the fact that it is an incredible destination for both lions and chimpanzees to co-exist. However, it also has other wildlife species including among other leopards, hippos, roan antelopes, sable antelopes, warthogs, mongoose, an estimate of reptile species, 20 amphibian species. Aside from chimpanzees, the other primates to sight in Mahale Mountains National Park include olive baboons, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, red colobus monkeys, yellow baboons.
Birds are some of the amazing attractions to explore on Tanzania safari in Mahale Mountains National Park. The estimated number of bird species in this park are 300 and they include resident and migratory bird species. While on a birding tour, the birds to expect to identify in Mahale Mountains National Park include African fish eagle, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, giant kingfishers, Ross’s Turacos, crested guineafowl, hornbills. Birding in this park is possible at any time of the year however, exceptional bird sights can be realized from November to April since most migratory bird species confine in the park to breed.
- Mahale Mountains range
Mahale Mountain range lies in the western side of Tanzania just along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It is an exceptional place with many huge peaks and steep slopes. It also comprises of forests and its magnificent peaks include Sibindi, Mount Nkungwe, Humo, Mfitwa, Pasagulu, Sisaga and Mhesabantu.
Activities to do in Mahale Mountains National Park
- Chimpanzee tracking
Chimpanzee tracking/trekking is one of the main reasons why most tourists consider visiting Mahale Mountains National Park a must on Tanzania safari. This primate adventure takes visitors between half an hour and 3 hours and it involves exploring more about the unique behaviors of chimpanzees while in their natural habitat. Mahale Mountains National Park hosts an estimate of about 1700 chimpanzees and second after Gombe National Park where chimpanzees thrive. Each chimpanzee group is trekked by 6 trekkers.
Birding in Mahale Mountains National Reserve involves you sighting diverse bird species including African fish eagle, giant kingfishers, Ross’s Turacos, crested guineafowl, pied kingfisher, malachite kingfisher, hornbills. For astonishing bird sights, please don’t forget to come along with your camera and pair of binoculars.
This is a rewarding watersport offered to visitors on Tanzania safari in Mahale Mountains National Reserve. It is best done on Lake Tanganyika where there are approximately 200 fish species. There are designated sites for visitors to be part of this recreational experience.
Hikers can embark on a hiking adventure on the Mahale Mountains which comes with a breathtaking view over the scenic peaks and the magnificent park. It may take you 2 to 3 hours to hike to the summit.
- Guided nature walks
Embarking on guided nature walks allow you to come across different species including colorful butterflies, birds, primates and many more. Nature walks in this park are best carried out in the tropical rainforest and take you to stunning waterfalls.
- Where to stay in Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale Mountains National Reserve consists of diverse accommodation choices ranging from luxury to budget. They include Greystoke Mahale Camp, Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge (Luxury), Five Self-contained tourist Bandas including Mahale Mango Bandas (Budget).
- Best time to visit Mahale Mountains, National Reserve
Mahale Mountains National Reserve is best to visit starting in Mid-May, June, July, August, September, Mid-October. This is ideal for visitors who are interested in chimpanzee tracking and in case you are interested in birding, then visit Mahale Mountains National Reserve in December, January, February, March, April.
- How to access Mahale Mountains, National Reserve
Mahale Mountains National Reserve is accessible by air. Visitors can fly from Kilimanjaro Airport or Julius Nyerere Airport to Mahale airstrip or Kigoma airport. There are domestic carriers that conduct chartered flights or scheduled flights to these airstrips and they include Precision Air, Air Tanzania, Safari Air Link.
By road, it’s about 2 hours driving from South of Kigoma through Simbo Village where you will cross Malagarasi River to Herembe Village however, this is passable in the dry months of the year. One may also start from Kigoma Town to Sigunga Village and connect by boat about 1-2 hours to park headquarters.
Related Tanzania National Parks – Where to go for a Tanzania Wildlife Safaris Tour
Serengeti National Park is remarkably one of the oldest and the most popular national parks in the world. This protected area lies between the Mara and Simiyu region of Tanzania. It was founded in 1951 and in 1979, it was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Serengeti National Park sits in an area of about 15000sq.km and it largely consists of woodland. View Details Here
Arusha National Park is rated among the smallest parks in Tanzania and it lies in the Northeastern side of the country. It is 25kms from Arusha, 58kms away from Moshi Town and 35kms from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Despite its size, this park is by far one most unusual wilderness area to consider a must-visit on Tanzania safari. It was founded in 1960. View Details Here
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a magnificent wilderness area of its own and also a designated World Heritage Site that is worth exploring on Tanzania safari. It is an extensive protected area with stunning volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and also features as a home to complete big five African game. This conservation area was founded in 1959 and occupies an area of 8292sq.kms. View Details Here
Tarangire National Park takes its name from Tarangire River and exceptionally, it features among a few safari parks which offer tourists on Tanzania safari with unique and authentic experiences. This park straddles within the Northern circuit of Tanzania, Lake Manyara region and it is famous for its large herds of elephant migration which make it an excellent Tanzania safari destination. View Details Here
Lake Manyara National Park is of no doubt one of Tanzania’s exceptional safari parks tourists on Tanzania safari should consider a must-visit. It is approximately 126kms Southwest of Arusha Town. Lake Manyara National Park was founded in 1960 and it covers an area of only 330sq.kms which makes it one of the smallest parks in Tanzania. Lake Manyara National Park is surrounded by Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park. View Details Here
Rubondo Island National Park is one of the 2 only stunning island safari parks which straddle in the islands of Lake Victoria. From western Mwanza, this protected area is 153kms away and its highest point is Masa Hills in the South which stands at altitude of about 1486m. It was gazetted as a game. View Details Here
Kilimanjaro National Park is undoubtedly one of the most magical Tanzania safari destinations. It derives its name from the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro which itself it an outstanding safari site to explore on Tanzania safari. This park is set near Moshi Town in the Northern side of Tanzania above the rolling hills and plateau of Amboseli National Park. View Details Here
Ruaha National Park is set in the heart of Tanzania, approximately 130kms away from Western Iringa Town. This park was founded in 1964 and it is named after the Great Ruaha River that flows on its Southeastern side. It sits in an area of about 20226sq.kms making it the most extensive national park in Tanzania and East Africa at large. It covers a section. View Details Here
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of the best parks to visit on Tanzania safari. In 2015, this park was ranked the third best place to visit by the New York Times. It is situated south of Mikumi National Park and it is popular as the Galapagos of Africa. It takes its name from the word Wadsungwa which denotes Kihehe language as people. View Details Here