Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahala Mountains National Park

The Park, like its northern neighbor Gombe, is home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900; they are habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s.

Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience.

Mahale is located in Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town; it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second-most profound, and least polluted freshwater lake-harboring an estimated 1000 fish species.

Best time to visit the Park

The dry season (May -October) is the best period. 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. However, Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience, made remarkable by views of the neighboring country DR Congo across the water and incredible lightning storms that light up the Lake at night.

Tourist Attractions

– The Chimpanzees

– Chain of Mountains (Mahale range)

– Forest fauna and flora (Angola colobus, red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, forest birds, alpine bamboo, montane rain forest, etc.).

– Beach along Lake Tanganyika

– Local fishermen

– Sunset on the Lake horizon

What to do

– Chimp tracking (allow two days)

– Hiking to the Park’s highest point, “Nkungwe” (8,069ft), held sacred by the local Tongwe people.

– Camping safaris

– Snorkeling

– Sports fishing and many more water sports activities

Park Accessibility

Mahale is accessible by air, road, and boat. There are several flights, car, and boat options to suit most travelers and chimps lovers:

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Gombe National Park

Gombe Stream National Park

Gombe Stream National Park, located on the western border of Tanzania and the Congo, is most famous for Jane Goodall, the resident primatologist who spent many years in its forests studying the behavior of the endangered chimpanzees.

Situated on the wild shores of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream is an untamed place of lush forests and clear lake views. Hiking and swimming are also popular activities here, once the day’s expedition to see the chimpanzees is over.

Gombe Stream’s main attraction is the chimpanzee families that live protected in the park’s boundaries. Guided walks are available that take visitors deep into the forest to observe and sit with the extraordinary primates for an entire morning — an incredible experience and one that is the highlight of many visitors’ trips to Africa. Besides chimpanzee viewing, many other species of primates live in Gombe Stream’s tropical forests. Vervet and colobus monkeys, baboons, forest pigs, and small antelopes inhabit the dense forest, in addition to a wide variety of tropical birdlife.

An excited whoop erupts from deep in the forest, boosted immediately by a dozen other voices, rising in volume and tempo and pitch to a frenzied shrieking crescendo. The famous ‘pant-hoot’ call is a bonding ritual that allows the participants to identify each other through their vocal stylizations. To the human listener, walking through the ancient forests of Gombe Stream becomes a spine-chilling outburst which is also an indicator of close visual contact with man’s closest genetic relative: the chimpanzee.