The park is located on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika, in the remote grounds of Tanzania. The park was founded in 1979 when the Mahale Mountains Wildlife Research Centre was set up, and then gazetted in 1985. It takes its name from Mahale Mountains it possess along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. It covers 1613skms. The park is composed of miombo forest, montane rainforest and Kasoge forest, over 20 amphibians and 26 reptiles, 355 bird species, the park has a home for primates especially chimpanzee and other wildlife. There a lot of water activities you will enjoy on the amazing Lake Tanganyika. A safari in this park will reward you with an adventure that hasn’t been tampered with.
How to access the park
The park can only be accessed using water or air transport. You can use road transport from Arusha to Kigoma- where you will have to board a boat or plane. It takes about two or three days by car. It should be mentioned that the roads are impenetrable especially in the wet season. So the better option is air to road transport.
Air transport– regular scheduled flights are arranged especially during the dry season form Arusha or Dar es Salaam to Mahale Airstrip. This will take you three to five hours to the park. Off the season times, flights are irregular but chartered flights can be arranged.
Water Transport– You will board from Arusha to Kigoma, than board a speedboat, (which will take you four to six hours), timber boats are also available, (it takes almost 15 hours ) to Mahale. There’s also MV Liemba, a large steamship which travels from Kigoma, twice a week (it takes 10 hours).
All in all, the easiest and quickest way to access the park is by air transport. From Kigoma it will take you 45minutes to the park. Contact us to connect you to the charter flights for a quick access.
What to carry
What you have to carry depends on when you plan to take on your safari, the most ideal will be the dry season, however you need to plan for the cold nights. Plan to enjoy water activities, but in case you fail to bring all, no need to worry for some items can be hired at a supplementary fee. Items include: a hat, hiking boots or shoes, sunglasses, drinking water, sun glasses, a light rain jacket for the accessional rain, insect repellent (to keep away persistent insects), a backpack (waterproof), gloves to protect you from the thorny vegetation, light long sleeved shirts and pants (its sunny most of the time), a notebook, a camera with charged spare batteries, a guide book, and a pair of binoculars.
Things to do
You will view wildlife in this park also not so many compared to other park in the country, but you will be satisfied with views of primates like mangoose, red tailed monkeys, giraffes, leopards, antelopes among others.
The highlight of the park is this activity. There a few countries that have these unique creatures. In this park you will enjoy trekking them in their favorite corners and you will get an opportunity of spending some time with them.
The park is a home to birds on the Africa continent and also birds from the European continent. You will enjoy the sights and sounds of them on your safari especially in January and December, when migratory birds visit.
You will have an opportunity of climbing the highest peak of the Mahale Mountains. The activity might take you 4 days but you will have a memorable moment with clear views of the park and its surroundings. However the activity needs individuals who are physically fit.
Guided nature safaris,
One of the parks that can be explored on food is this. No game drives. Guides will lead you to some of the must-see places and you will have an adventure to remember.
The park lies close to Lake Tanganyika that is has a lot of fish underneath. Visitors can hire equipment ad participate in the activity. The lake has clear waters that fish can be seen from above.
When to visit the park
The park can be visited all the time in the year but best time to visit the park is during the dry season. During this period, chimpanzees are always on the lower slopes of the mountain.
Dry Season (July to October)
The weather during this season is sunny almost throughout, the grasslands in the park are short and trees aren’t so thick. The season favors chimpanzee trekking and other wild animals in the park can be see easily.
The trails in the park are passable during this season, also water activities are enjoyed too since the sun is out.
Mountain climbing in the dry season is easier than in the wet season especially for first time climbers. The mountain is dry enough and during the night it’s not so cold.
The period is the busiest in the park and thus tourists are advised to book tickets and accommodation places in time to avoid disappointments.
It should be noted however that, weather can change any time. So visitors are advised to be equipped with rain coats.
Wet Season (November to June)
The season is composed of short, long and sometimes heavy rains.
Chimpanzee can be tracked though for a longer time compared to the dry season and other wildlife can still be enjoyed in the park when it’s not raining and during January and February is when migratory birds visit the park.
Mountain climbing can also be enjoyed, though with more care since sometimes it gets slippery.
This is the low season of the park, prices for tickets and accommodation are discounted, though some places of accommodation close down hence visitors are limited to few, during heavy rains climbing is challenging.
The park is a home too these unique creatures. The rare to find animals have utilize the grounds of this park. The park is believed to have hundreds of them. The humble creatures have been habituated by and you can enjoy their presence once you visit the park. Trekking these animals is one of the highlights of the park. Visitors on their safari embark on this activity in the montane forest in the park. The sight of them playing, having fun or feeding will amaze you. The park has one family that has been habituated and could be visited. You will take photos and videos of them enjoying their day to day life.
You will not only see chimpanzee but also other primates like: Agolan black and white colobus monkey, red tailed monkey, red colobus monkey, bushy tailed mangoose, among others will be found along your trek.
You will be able to more wildlife in the park, although not on a game drive. They will be seen during a walk safari, on a hike or during a chimpanzee trek. The likes of red legged sun squirrel, brush tailed porcupine, giant squirrel, Sharpe’s grysbok, chimpanzee, sable antelope, lions, leopards, warthogs, crocodiles, hippos, zebra, and giraffe, among others.
The park is a paradise for birds. You will be amazed at the sight of most of the unique water birds on African continent. During the early wet season migratory birds visit the park and they can be seen all the time with support of binoculars. The likes of red collared widowbird, Ross’s turaco, violet-backed starling, red winged starling, blue cheeked-bee-eater, roller, crowned eagle, white browed robin chat, violet-backed-starling, speckled mouse bird, parrots, crested-guineafowl, storks, pelicans, fish eagle, malachite-kingfishers, pied-kingfishers, narina-trogons, among others will be seen in the forest, along the foots of the mountain and along the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
You will enjoy the sights of Mount Kungwe along the borders of the park. You will not only see it but you will have an opportunity of climbing it to the top. Climbing this mountain will reward you with the best views in the area. You will have a clear views of the river and its surroundings.
A safari to this park is a password to the beautiful Lake Tanganyika since it lies on the boarder of the park. The country boosts in this lake that offers a ground to most of the entertaining tourist activities. Activities that can be enjoyed on this lake include: snorkeling, fishing, swimming, among others.
Accommodation in Mahale National park is available most in luxurious category, and a few midrange and budget categories. Luxurious tented cams are situated along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, and on the beach. Visitors are well taken care of and they enjoy clear views of the crystal clear lake and the forests behind them. These Include:
Kungwe Beach Lodge
Located along the white sands of Lake Tanganyika, has permanent luxurious tents for accommodation.
- Mahale Classic Lodge
- Mwaka Hill Hotel
- Zanzibar Hill Lodge
- Livingstone Executive Lodge