Mahale Mountains National Park is a remote paradise of white beaches on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, close to a lush rainforest that climbs the mountains that divide the park in two. It’s such a remote park that it’s only a few miles from the mythical place where Stanley said the historic phrase «Doctor Livingstone, I suppose». The ideal place to hide, difficult to reach and with no trails to go by jeep, is the park where the most populous colony of chimpanzees of the continent survives. The few tourists move on foot in search of the primates closest to man. As usual in parks, sightings are not guaranteed, but the beauty of the place never disappoints travelers who venture up to here. The biodiversity of the lake, one of the oldest and deepest in the world, makes it unique for snorkeling and diving thanks to the incredible variety of endemic fish, including cichlids, colorful fish among the most used for aquariums. The visit to the Mahale Mountains National Park is an excellent alternative to the sea.
Mahale Mountains National Park
The park is home to about 900 wild chimpanzees that gather in about fifteen communities, many of which have no contact with humans. Among these, however, there is a community of about sixty chimpanzees, called Mimikere, accustomed for decades to the proximity of man. The meeting with the chimpanzees, who are absolutely at ease in the presence of tourists, is not guaranteed, because they move in a fairly large area, but usually, especially in the dry season, just an hour walk to reach them.
Seeing chimpanzees in the wild is one of the most exciting experiences, because they are the primates closest to man, both from the genetic point of view, and from the social and intellectual point of view.
Genetically, humans and chimpanzees are very close together, with 98.3% identical DNA. They are 60-80 cm tall, weigh around the 50 kg but have a strength from 5 to 7 times higher than that of the man. As they get older, they lose their hair on their head and the skin color of their face darkens.
Usually the female gives birth to only one cub, which remains tied to the mother for several years; the cohabitation of siblings of different ages generates family ties that last in adulthood.
Chimpanzees are the only animals capable of using branches or stones as tools, for example to extract food or to break shells.
The penetrating gaze and the ability to interact must not make tourists forget that it is a wild species, that deserves respect and that can always be dangerous in the face of inadequate behavior.
Behavior rules for tracking chimpanzees
- Wear a surgical mask covering nose and mouth (tracking is strictly forbidden to those with symptoms of viral infection).
- Do not leave the chimpanzees objects of any kind because they can transmit diseases.
- Maintain a distance of at least 10 meters from the chimpanzees and do not approach in groups of more than 6 people.
- Do not drink or eat within 250 meters of chimpanzees.
In Tanzania only heres • Kungwe Apalis⚑ • Bamboo Warbler⚑ • Stuhlmann’s Starling⚑ • Crested Malimbe⚑
Other species • Helmeted Guineafowl⚑ • Scaly Francolin⚑ • Ross’s Turaco⚑ • African Fish-eagle⚑ (in photo) • Crowned Eagle⚑⚑ • Palm-nut Vulture • Trumpeter Hornbill • Blue-cheeked Bee-eater⚑ • Giant Kingfisher⚑ • Yellow-bellied Wattle-eye⚑ • Eastern Mountain Greenbul⚑ • Yellow-streaked Greenbul⚑ • Brown-chested Alethe⚑ • Regal Sunbird⚑ • Vieillot’s Black Weaver⚑ • Crested Malimbe⚑… and several other
⚑ Tanzania endemic
⚑ Near endemic
⚑ Africa endemic
The exceptional biodiversity of Lake Tanganyika makes it an extremely valuable aquatic ecosystem, both for the local economy and for fans of snorkeling and diving. It is inhabited by at least 1.500 species of fish, of which about 600 endemic species, including 245 species of cichlids with bright colors and various shapes, so beautiful to be among the most sought after aquarium fish. Although the lake reaches a depth of 1.436 meters, most of the cichlids live in shallow and transparent waters lapping the bright beaches of the coast.
Guided mountain hikes of one or more days.
For information on transit fees and park accommodation, already included in the price of our safaris, visit the Park Fees page. The system of taxation of tourism in the parks of Tanzania is the necessary contribution to the conservation of an uncontaminated and wild natural heritage, of inestimable environmental value.
For general information about all parks in Tanzania and about this park – when to go, where is it, nearby destinations – go to Parks of Tanzania page
Are you interested in Mahale Mountains National Park? Contact us!