National Parks

Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania

Discover Mahale Mountains National Park, the secluded chimpanzee refuge on the shore of Lake Tanganyika.

Ker & Downey® Africa > Destinations > Tanzania > Parks > Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania


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Chimpanzee trekking

Everything you need to know about Mahale Mountains National Park

There is nothing we love more than going off the beaten track, and there are very few places that offer an untouched experience quite like Mahale Mountains National Park. The reserve is wholly inaccessible by road (if fact, they have none!), so the only way to get around is on foot and by dhow once you’ve arrived via aircraft from the north. Think lush, green forests that cling to verdant hills and give way to the sandy shores of one of the African great lakes.

Where is the reserve located?

The park encompasses 1,600km² of the Mahale Mountains on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Kigoma Region of Tanzania. Because of its remote location and the fact that it cannot be accessed by roads, this destination receives much fewer visitors than the rest of its Tanzanian nature reserve counterparts. In fact, it is so isolated that it can only be reached effectively by aircraft from Arusha in the north, which makes it more expensive, but also a lot more authentically wild and untouched.

About the reserve

What type of wildlife will we see?

It’s very seldom that we go out on a limb to say that a given destination might be the most beautiful of it’s kind in a specific region, but Mahale truly is astonishing. Wild, unruly and gorgeously remote, it is as picture-perfect it comes. The mountainous terrain is lush and magical, and home to the renowned chimpanzee communities that is the park’s biggest drawing card, as well as many other primates, such as yellow baboons, vervet monkeys, and Colobus monkeys. Birders and lepidopterology enthusiasts will also be enthralled by the vast numbers of birds and butterflies present in these climes; while keen fisherfolk can look forward to casting a line for local Pamba, sardines, killifish and more.

Top experiences to enjoy at Mahale National Park

If you want to enjoy out-of-the-ordinary safari experiences on your visit to Tanzania, this park should be at the very top of your destinations list. Hike into the mountains with a trained guide for face-to-face encounters with some of Africa’s only remaining wild chimpanzees or make your way along the waterways in a dhow to experience the exceptional scenery from an entirely novel vantage point. Alternatively, explore the forests on foot to discover its awe-inspiring fauna and flora, or gear up and scuba dive or snorkel in the epic Lake Tanganyika

When to visit

The best time to visit the park is between July and October, when the terrain is optimal for chimpanzee trekking. This is technically the high season, but because the park is remote it is very unlikely that you will encounter big crowds. The rainy season falls between November and April, with most lodges closing their doors during April and May when the going gets exceptionally tough due to flooding.

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