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Mahale Mountains National Park
Located in the west of Tanzania on the edge of Lake Tanganyika the Mahale Mountains are truly magical. Mahale is home to Tanzania’s densest population of primates and offers a host of other wildlife to be explored. The famous location in which scientist Jane Goodall conducted her world renowned research on the indigenous chimpanzees, this area of Tanzania is still rarely visited. This is not due to lack of remarkable flora, fauna and landscapes but due to the attendant logistical challenges and increased costs associated with this particular destination. However, despite it's remoteness, we feel the dense Mahale Mountain jungles in combination with the white sand shores of the crystal clear Lake Tanganyika, makes this location a once in a life time journey.
The main incitement for guests visiting this isolated region is the opportunity to go ‘chimp trekking’ and witness these incredible creatures playing, foraging, and grooming one another in their natural habitat. The mountains are densely populated by other primates such as yellow baboons, red colobus and many more. Along the shores of Lake Tanganyika there are a wide variety of birds to be seen as well as hippos and crocodiles in the lake itself.
Taking advantage of the incredibly rare and humbling opportunity to trek with chimps is generally the prime focus of visitors to the Mahale Mountains. Treks can vary significantly in terms of length and difficulty depending upon the location of the chimps. Flights to the region are available only a few times a week meaning guests have to stay for a few days when visiting, and although it can’t be guaranteed, the vast majority successfully encounter chimps. Exploring the wonderfully diverse jungle can be a tiring endeavour so more relaxing activities such as fishing and kayaking are offered on Lake Tanganyika.
We generally recommend combining a trip to Mahale with a safari to Katavi National Park, a remote safari location in the west of Tanzania.
We highly recommend the dry season between June and October, particularly for those who would prefer dry paths and less strenuous distances to reach the tribes of chimps. A visit during the green season (November to March) is possible and can be very rewarding in terms of chimp sightings, but considering the distance involved in reaching this destination we feel it’s safer planning a dry season stay.
Lodges & Camps
The only camp in the region that we feel is certainly worth the long journey is Greystoke Mahale. Greystoke Mahale is owned and excellently run by Nomad and is a remarkable place from which to explore the Mahale Mountains. Situated on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, at the foot of the mountains, this unique property has a rustic beach vibe but offers guests the incredible opportunity to explore the jungle and the wildlife on the shores of the lake.