Primate Holidays

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the most popular places for Tanzanian wildlife safaris. Famous for its chimpanzee trekking safari, it is situated in western Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, with Kigoma being the nearest sizable city. Mahale Mountains Park has a total area of 1613 square kilometres and is located 130 kilometres to the north of Mahale. Mahale Range dominates the geography of the park. A section of the rift valley escarpment known as the Mahale range climbs abruptly from the shore of Lake Tanganyika to the Nkungwe peak, which is 2,462 metres above sea level, as well as to six additional summits that are higher than 2,000 metres above sea level.

Mahale Mountains are a mountain range in western Tanzania that is bordered by Lake Tanganyika on its eastern bank. Mahale Mountains are made up of numerous enormous peaks and steep slopes that are covered with montane and intermediate altitude forests. Mount Nkungwe, which rises to a height of 2,462 metres, Mhesabantu, 2,100 metres, Sisaga, 2,335 metres, and the peaks of Humo, Sibindi, Mfitwa, and Pasagulu are among the Mahale Mountains’ peaks. In addition to desolate sandy beaches and crystal clear water, the park’s terrain also resembles a beach resort on a volcanic island due to Lake Tanganyika.

With a depth of around 1,470 metres, Lake Tanganyika, an African Great Lake, is the second-deepest lake in the world. It is also the second-largest lake by volume and the longest freshwater lake in the world.

Batongwe and Holoholo people were traditionally residents of Mahale Mountains, which bear the park’s name. In 1979, when the Muhale Mountains Wildlife Research Centre was founded, these people were evicted from the mountains, and the park officially opened in 1985.

Approximately 1,000 chimpanzees live in chimpanzee families in the Park, one of the most well-known chimpanzee habitats, including Mimikere group, which is home to approximately 60 members.

The main animal species and attraction of the park are the chimpanzees living in the montane forests of the park, which is one of the reasons why Mahale Mountains National Park is a well-known Tanzania wildlife tours location. There are around 1000 chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park, making it one of the few remaining habituated chimpanzee populations in the world. In Mahale Mountains Park, chimpanzees live in groups of 15, with the Mimikere group, which has 60 members, being the largest.

The park is a home to various primate species, including yellow baboons, red colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, red-tailed monkeys, nocturnal lesser greater galagos, and vervet monkeys, are among the various primates and creatures that may be found in Mahale Mountains Park. Elephants, roan antelopes, buffaloes, giraffes, bush backs, waterbucks, lions, wild dogs, and many other animal species are mammals.

An excellent place to go on a birding safari in Tanzania is  Mahale Mountains National Park, which is home to over 350 different bird species, including Bamboo warbler, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, crested malimbe, Giant kingfisher, Vieillot’s black weaver, Trumpeter hornbill, Ross’s turaco and many others.

Safari activities to do in Mahale Mountains national park. 

Chimpanzee trekking.

The most popular safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park is chimpanzee trekking, which enables an experience with one of the few remaining populations of chimpanzees in the world. Tanzania’s Mahale National Park is an exceptional location for chimpanzee safaris; this activity begins with a briefing at the park’s headquarters and continues through the park’s rocky landscape with a party of six people until you reach the chimpanzees. The activity takes a period of 30 minutes to 5 hours and along watching various biodiversity in the park, and once the chimpanzees are spotted you can be given a period of one to be in the presence of the chimpanzees.

If one hour is not enough, a provision of three hours is available for an additional price of US$100 while carrying out chimpanzee trekking safari at Mahale National Park. Trekkers are free to take pictures during this time. The greatest time to go on a chimpanzee safari in Tanzania is from July to October, when the park is home to the Mahale Mountains.

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mountain hiking.

Mahale National Park is a great place to go on a safari that involves climbing in the mountains. This safari takes visitors to Mount Nkungwe, the highest peak in the Mahale Mountains, which rises to a height of 2462 metres. Three days are needed to hike Mount Nkungwe: two days to get to the top, one day to get down, and two nights spent camped at the top.

The optimal time to climb this peak is from May to October. Hikers are recommended to bring their own camping supplies and meals for mountain trekking.

Sport fishing.

On Lake Tanganyika, a sport fishing activity known as “group fishing” is carried out in the Mahale Mountains National Park. The lake has numerous approved fishing places where this safari activity is carried out. Tourists are urged to purchase sport fishing permits in order to partake in the safari experience because sport fishing is only permitted from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm in Mahale Mountains National Park.

Boat safari.  

One of the most memorable activities available in Lake Tanganyika is boat safari in the Mahale Mountains National Park. Boat safaris offer a relaxing experience in the cool breeze of the waters, in the suitable safari atmosphere and a chance to see many animals, including elephants, lions, buffaloes, rhinos, crocodiles, and many others, that congregate on the lake’s shores to drink water an sighting the acquatic bird species like the pelicans and many others.

Bird watching.

 Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the best places to go on a birding safari in Tanzania because it is home to over 350 different bird species, both migratory and permanent. Birding in this park is best done in Kabezi area in the north sector of the park and this experience is an opportunity for spotting bird species such as Bamboo warbler, Blue-cheeked bee-eater, Palm nut vulture, Scaly Francolin, Crested Guinea fowl, Crested malimbe, Crowned eagle, Giant kingfisher, Livingstone’s turaco, Palm-nut vulture, Ross’s turaco, Scaly francolin, Stuhlmann’s starling, Bamboo warbler, Vieillot’s black weaver and among others. The greatest time to go bird watching safari in Mahale Mountains National Park is from November to April, when migrating birds are in the area.


In the calm waters of Lake Tanganyika, snorkeling safaris is conducted in Mahale Mountains National Park. For this safari, you will need a diving mask, a shaped tube, a wetsuit, and fins to help you swim in the lake. Snorkeling is only permitted in a few spots in Lake Tanganyika because there are crocodiles there.

Kayaking safaris. 

Mahale Mountains National Park offers kayaking safaris, which are conducted in a tiny, narrow boat pushed by a double-bladed paddle. These safaris are a wonderful way to see the tranquil waters of Lake Tanganyika. The position of the paddler while paddling distinguishes between canoeing and kayaking.

Cultural tours.

Cultural tours in Mahale Mountains National Park take visitors to the nearby villages of the Holoholo and Batongwe people, Kigoma town, and the historic town of Ujiji. These tours give visitors an understanding of the local customs and lifestyle of the Tanzanian people and give them the chance to interact with the locals while taking part in dance, drama, and other local activities. Ujiji town is a historic town with a rich history dating back to the German colonial rule in the then Tanganyika, and in the 19th century the town was visited by Dr. Livingstone in an effort to stop the slave trade. Kigoma town, which was visited on the Tanzania cultural safari, is the capital of the Kigoma district and an economic centre of the region.

Where to stay in Mahale Mountains national park.

There are many different types of accommodation options in Mahale Mountains national park, including lodges and camps that provide suitable accommodation to visitors who are staying there as part of a Tanzania safari. These accommodation options range in status from luxury to budget to midrange to basic. The Mahale Mountains National Park offers accommodation options such as Mahale Mango Bandas, Greystoke Mahale Camp, and Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge.

How to get to Mahale Mountains national park.


Road, air, or boat travel are the simplest ways to reach Mahale Mountains National Park for a Tanzania safari.

Many airlines, including Northern Air, Air Excel, and Regional Air, operate chartered flights from Tanzania’s major towns, including Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salaam, Mwanaza, and Zanzibar.

There are well-maintained roads that connect Tanzanian cities including Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-Salaam, Mwanaza, and Zanzibar to the Mahale Mountains national park via car.

By Boat, Mahale Mountains national park is accessed using boat ride on Lake Tanganyika.

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