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

  • Wildlife

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

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

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.

  • Sportfishing

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.

  • Hiking

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.

Mahale Mountains National Park

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