Ultimate Safari Guide To Mahale Mountains National Park: Explore Mahale Mountains National Park: Mahale Mountains National Park is a stunning preserve that can be found in Tanzania’s far west, close to the Congo border and right next to the enormous Lake Tanganyika. Around 1,000 chimpanzees who live in the highlands and have made Mahale renowned are hidden beneath a thick canopy of trees.
In this post blog we’ll cover a general overview of Mahale, the best time to visit Mahale, the price of a safari to Mahale, chimpanzee trekking in Mahale, how to get to Mahale, and where to stay in and around Mahale. Mahale is close to the famous Lake Tanganyika and is situated on the western border between Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The towns of Mpanda are sandwiched between the Ugalla Game Reserve and Katavi National Park, which are its nearest neighbors.
MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK FAQS
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?
You should be well-informed about Mahale Mountain National Park. It is one of the biggest chimpanzee sanctuaries in the world and on the African continent, to start. Second, it has a distinctive topography of lush rainforests teeming with the most amazing species and ecosystems.
Mahale is quite secluded, which adds to its great beauty. Together with the neighboring Katavi National Park, the two are Tanzania’s least visited national parks. Despite how challenging it may be to get to the park, the absence of outside distractions makes for a really immersive wilderness experience in this uninhabited region.
The longest freshwater lake in the world is Lake Tanganyika. Over 250 species of cichlid fish may be found in the lake’s blue waters, which are renowned for their breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. Every fisherman’s fantasy, the lake offers the chance to unwind on peaceful days by the water. An alternative is to rent a canoe or go on a dhow cruise for a sundowner tour to enjoy the pristine waters.
For those who love the water, there are opportunities to either scuba or snorkel in the lake’s wonderful underwater realm or take a refreshing bath in interior mountain springs.
The Mahale Mountains’ heavily forested slopes rise sharply from the lake’s pristine, sandy shores. The rainforest’s luxuriant, tropical foliage hums with activity and is dotted with alpine bamboo and wooded areas. Mahale has made a name for itself as one of the top locations in the world for chimpanzee-tracking safaris. Mahale was formed with the goal of safeguarding the thousands of chimpanzees who live in the area.
The absence of typical Tanzanian safari suspects like lions and elephants makes the region particularly distinctive. Instead, it is well-known for having Tanzania’s highest concentration of primates, including blue, red-tailed, and vervet monkeys, chimpanzees, yellow baboons, and red colobus monkeys.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?
Like the majority of Tanzania’s national parks, Mahale Mountain National Park is best visited during the dry season (June–October). This is due to the fact that Mahale is easier to reach during this season (as opposed to the wet season when the roads become flooded) and that chimpanzee troops are simpler to locate and follow. In light of this, the best time to visit Mahale if you want to observe butterflies and birds is during the wet season (November to April). Mahale is home to large numbers of migratory birds from Africa and Europe. Birdwatching in Mahale is quite the visual delight because of the surrounding lush rainforests and flora.
Due to its proximity to the equator, the park is typically warm and muggy throughout the year, with lows of 17 °C (63 °F) at night and highs of 27 °C (81 °F) during the day. The rainy and dry seasons are when the park’s climate most noticeably changes. The weather and dry and wet seasons you can anticipate while visiting Mahale Mountain National Park are detailed below.
The dry season: ideal weather and the best time to spot chimps
The dry season, which lasts from June to October, is the ideal time of year to visit the Mahale Mountains. The climate isn’t as humid, and the sunshine makes swimming and snorkeling excellent. Due to fewer mosquitoes during this season, there is also the significant benefit of a lower risk of contracting malaria.
This is also the best time to go on chimp expeditions, especially toward the conclusion of the dry season (August–October). The chimps are typically found nearer to the shore and forest trails, making searching for them simpler.
May often marks the conclusion of the rainy season with sporadic rainfall. After June, rain is extremely infrequent. Even in June through August, the nighttime low drops to only a little over 14 °C (57 °F). October sees the gradual return of humidity, and sporadic rainstorms can once more be anticipated.
The wet season: lush vegetation, butterflies, and the best time for birdwatching
High humidity is characteristic of this time of year. While it doesn’t typically rain all day, thunderstorms can usually be predicted.
The forest is teeming with everything from extra fruit to dazzling blue butterflies and forest birds, making a trip during the rainy season (November to April) an unforgettable experience. At this time of year, migratory birds from Europe and Northern Africa make the Mahale Mountains their seasonal home. During this time of year, afternoon thunderstorms frequently illuminate the lake, which makes for beautiful pictures, Ultimate Safari Guide To Mahale Mountains National Park.
The slippery and more difficult-to-navigate forest foliage is a drawback of the wet season. As they climb higher, the chimps also become more elusive. Some travelers may not enjoy the humidity during this time of year, and malaria precautions should be followed with great care.
Please be aware that there is a possibility of malaria in Tanzania, so talk to your doctor about available medications before traveling. Pack a first aid kit with all the essentials, such as bandages, headache pills, and diarrhea medicine.
HOW MUCH DOES A MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK SAFARI COST?
Typically, a safari to Mahale Mountain National Park costs between $500 and $2000 per person. These costs frequently include park admission fees, lodging, meals, and specialized excursions like game drives or chimpanzee trekking.
Due to Mahale’s modest size and isolated location, most visitors choose to combine their visits with those to nearby national parks like Katavi and Ugalla river National Park. Before organizing a safari vacation to Tanzania, it would be a good idea to learn more about the typical cost of safari excursions in Tanzania.
CAN I DO A CHIMPANZEE TREKKING SAFARI AT MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?
Absolutely. You can track chimpanzees and witness them in their natural habitat on some of the best and most prestigious safari experiences available at Mahale Mountain National Park. The majority of wild chimpanzees in the world are chimpanzees, and Tanzania is home to many of them. The majority of chimpanzees reside in the rainforest regions of the equatorial belt, where they are exclusively found in Africa.
The chance to interact closely with and see a family of chimpanzees going about their regular activities is totally fascinating. As they stumble over one another, hunt for food, and swing nimbly between the trees branches, spectators will watch spellbound.
A dominant male, mature females, and younger, subordinate males and females make up every chimp social group. The Mimikere clan, which has been observed by numerous research teams since the 1960s, is the most well-known group of chimpanzees in the park. The group consists of about 56 chimpanzees.
Don’t count on seeing all 56 chimpanzees together at once because chimpanzee families have a fission-fusion social structure, which causes the groups to occasionally split into smaller subgroups and then regroup as they like. It is a true joy to spend time with the chimps up close, as the clan has grown more comfortable around humans over time.
Even though seeing beautiful chimps isn’t a given, it would be exceedingly unlucky to visit Mahale and not at least see a handful of them. Chimp safaris range from peaceful 30-minute strolls to strenuous multi-hour treks in an effort to locate the primates. Some chimps may be visible from the comfort of the lodges, if you’re lucky.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET TO MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?
Mahale Mountain National Park is easiest to reach by boat or by air. Mahale (and Katavi) are accessible by automobile, but getting there is notoriously challenging because there are no designated roads in the region. This means that traveling to Mahale will require a 44-day expedition into the center of Tanzania that will be exceedingly difficult and intimidating. Therefore, taking one of the many boats going from the lake’s coastal villages (north of Mahale) or flying are the better options.
BELOW IS MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO BOOK A FLIGHT OR BOAT TRIP TO REACH MAHALE:
Small plane flights depart from Arusha or Dar es Salaam twice a week and take four to five hours to reach the airport outside the park. The cheapest option to travel to Katavi and Mahale is by flying from Arusha in the north on Mondays and Thursdays, but the cost is still considerable. Additionally, charter flights are available Mondays and Thursdays from Dar es Salaam, Selous, and Ruaha to and from the western parks.
Due to the fact that all aircraft pass through Katavi National Park, many package deals include the neighboring reserve. The journey to lodgings doesn’t finish with the aircraft; those who have reserved rooms in advance at the lodges will be greeted by a traditional dhow and taken there by way of the lake. Otherwise, transport from the airfield can be scheduled via the park headquarters.
Taking a boat from Kigoma or one of the other northern communities is another option for getting to Mahale. With charter boats (speedboats), lake taxis, ferries, and the TANAPA boat, there are several options available.
Each time, charter boats travel for about 4-5 hours. Although quite inexpensive, lake taxis can be a little shaky and unreliable. The majority travel from Ujiji, but to learn more about where and when they go, one would need to get in touch with the park’s administration or the tourism warden.
Taking the ferry into Mahale is a beautiful and tranquil way to travel. Although it is inexpensive, it is not quick, but in this part of the world, taking your time is never a bad thing. Finally, the Gombe-Mahale Visitor Information Center and the park headquarters can arrange for the park boat.
WHERE CAN I STAY IN MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK?
You can stay in a few places in Mahale Mountain National Park. You can end up spending extra money on finding a place to stay due to its distant position and the dearth of lodging options in Tanzania (there are just three). Despite this, there are still a few choices for every type of traveler, from affordable Tanzanian safari lodging to opulent safari lodging in and around Mahale, Tanzania, Ultimate Safari Guide To Mahale Mountains National Park.
Nomad Greystoke Mahale
There is an alluring Robinson Crusoe vibe to the famous Nomad Greystoke Mahale, which is stretched over the lake’s shores. The six units at Greystoke, which are discretely tucked into the treeline, are ideal for a private, secluded getaway. Although a stay at Greystoke will cost a pretty penny, it has the advantage of having all the troublesome logistics handled for you.
The Mbali-Mbali Mahale is the other opulent choice. Mbali is a dream come true. It consists of nine permanent beach tents situated on a wooden veranda facing Lake Tanganyika. This is a real challenger to Greystoke’s top spot given the all-inclusive rates and minor price discount, Ultimate Safari Guide To Mahale Mountains National Park.
Mahale Mango Tree Bandas
Last but not least, there are five luxurious units available in the state-run Mahale Mango Tree Bandas. While not fancy, these self-catering apartments are a far more affordable option and are well-equipped and comfortable. The wonderful tours to explore everything Mahale has to offer are also provided by the amiable and extremely informed park guides. If you go to Mahale Mountain National Park, I can assure you that you will have a memorable safari experience.