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Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains national park is located in western Tanzania. It is south of the city of Kigoma, and got its name from the Mahale Mountains. These mountains are one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in Tanzania and the chimpanzee population is the largest known. It is the only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist. Mahale Mountains national park sits among the spectacular, forested mountain slopes. The protection of the thousands of chimpanzees that inhabit the region was originally and main reason to create the park.

Chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains

The park (like its northerly neighbor Gombe) is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900, they are habituated to human visitors. As the chimpanzees are susceptible to many human diseases, strict rules apply to the safe conduct of primate safaris in Tanzania. Don’t miss out on this adventure! And spend time during your hike through the Mahale mountains national park searching for the chimpanzees. The hikes are led by knowledgeable and experienced guides. You will meet the resident chimpanzee group and have time to observe them. Meeting the chimpanzees is a once in a lifetime, magical experience!

Other highlights of the National park

Mahale Mountains national park is also famous for its fantastic sunsets over Lake Tanganyika, which makes it an essential stop for keen photographers and safari enthusiasts. Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the few in Africa where you will be walking, as there are no roads within the park boundaries. The only way in and out of the park is by boat across the lake.

Wildlife in the Mahale national park

The park’s breathtaking array of habitats include rainforest, grasslands, alpine bamboo and woodlands. You can find over 50 species of animals here. Predominant among these being representatives from various monkey and ape families. And over 100 unique species of fish swim in the clear waters of the lake.

Most common animals in Mahale Mountains National Park

  • Chimpanzees
  • Angola colobus
  • Red colobus
  • Red-tailed and blue monkeys
  • Forest birds

Less common and rarely seen:

  • Elephant
  • Lion
  • Wild dog
  • Roan antelope
  • Buffalo
  • Giraffe
Mahale National Park baby chipmanzee

Mahale Mountains National Park Highlights

  • borders Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harbouring many different fish species
  • great to see chimpanzees
  • Forest fauna and flora

Facts about Mahale Mountains National park

  • located in the Western Tanzania (South of Kigoma)
  • area of 1,650 km²
  • opened in 1985

Excursions in Mahale Mountains National park

Spend an adventurous morning searching for the chimpanzees on the wooded slopes of Mahale National Park. During the hike, which is led by knowledgeable and experienced guides, you will soon meet the resident chimpanzee group and have one hour to observe them before returning to the lodge. As the chimpanzees are susceptible to many human diseases, strict rules apply to the safe conduct of primate safaris in Tanzania.

Travel time to Mahale Mountains National park

By flight (to Kigoma) is the easiest way to reach Mahale. From Kigoma it takes a 2 hours drive. There is also an airstrip at Mahale, but it is not easy to get a connection to Mahale Airstrip. We will of course give you an advice of how to reach Mahale on the most comfortable way and on the cheapest way. You can compare and decide yourself what feels best to you.

Travel Tips from our experts about Mahale Mountains National Park

My name is Nixon and I am a guide at Mahale Mountains National Park for 13 years. Our guests are so excited when we spot chimpazee families in the forest and they are allowed to watched them from close. Most of the chimpazees are used to humans and show no fear which makes this experience unique!

My advice:

How long to stay? At least 2 days

Which hotel? 

  • Mahale Mango Bandas (Silver)
  • Kungwe Beach Lodge (Golden)
  • Greystoke Mahale (Platinum)

Best time to visit Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park can be visited throughout the year. The best time to visit is in the long dry season from July to October. During this period, chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big groups, the sunshine illuminates the fish in the Lake and the beach is an inviting place to relax.

Once-in-a-lifetime trips to this park:

Some trips to this park: