MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK TANZANIA
Mahale National Park is a Tanzanian National Park that lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in the Kigoma Region. The park has several unusual characteristics and it was named after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders. Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country and the other is nearby Gombe Stream National park which was made famous by the researcher Jane Goodall. The population of the chimpanzees in Mahale Mountains National Park is the largest known and due to its size and remoteness with the chimpanzees flourish. The park also has only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist and it is also one of the few in Africa that must be experienced by foot because there are no roads or other infrastructure within the park.
History of Mahale Mountains National Park
History of Mahale Mountains National Park
In the year of 1987, the Mahale Mountains traditionally were inhabited by the Batongwe and Holoholo people with the population of 22,000 and 12,500 respectively. In the year 1979 the Mahale Mountains wildlife Research center was established and all these people were expelled from the mountains to make the way for the park. The Mahale Mountains was later upgraded into a National park in the year of 1985 and the people had been highly attuned to the natural environment living with virtually no impact on the ecology. With an area of coverage 1,600km² of the Mahale Mountains National park, this park is a home to around 1,000 chimpanzees and most significantly one group of the Mahale Chimps, the Mimikire clan was habituated by researchers since 1965 and currently led by an impressive alpha male, Alofu, the M-group as they are commonly known which around 56 chimps and these chimps go when they want but are relaxed near people and its possible to track and observe them from a close distance. The area has a lakeshore which is a beach of the finest powder white sand and behind which rises a range of imposing mountains, clad in verdant tropical vegetation and the big electric blue butterflies’ flit above the streams and the forest is alive with sound.
Tanzania Safari Attractions in Mahale Mountains National park
Mahale Mountains National park main attraction is its large population of chimpanzees which are roughly over 800 chimps within the park and bout 60 of them are very habituated to people. The slopes of Mahale in the eastern supports savannah and woodland species such as the elephants, wild dog, lion, roan antelope, buffalo and giraffes which are rarely seen by visitors. There are also other primate species which have been recorded and at least five are likely to be encountered on a visit and they include the Yellow baboon, blue monkey, red colobus, red – tailed monkey and vervet monkey, also the nocturnal lesser and greater galago are likely to be heard than being seen.
The Chimpanzees as a Tanzania Safari attraction in Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale mountains National park boasts of over 800 chimpanzees the largest known population of chimps and the National park is the only location where chimpanzees and lions are known to coexist and the best season to track these incredible primates is in dry season that is May to October.
This is the second largest, longest and one of the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Part of Lake Tanganyika which is 46% is located on the western edge of Tanzania and at least 1500 aquatic species are believed to inhabit the Lake ecosystem and here the snorkeling, Boating and swimming are the regular activities for the lake goers.
Mahale Mountains as a Tanzania Safari attraction in Mahale Mountains National Park
The mountains create a picturesque tablet on the park’s landscape, Mount Nkungwe which is the highest peak in the range and stands a majestic 2462m which is 8077 ft high.
Tanzania Safari Activities in Mahale Mountains National park
Chimpanzee tracking as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
This activity is done within the lowland forest of the Mahale National park which gives you a close access to chimpanzees including a habituated group of chimps and also knowing their daily way of living. This activity takes from 20 minutes to 3hours and here the trackers are required to wear surgical masks because of the chimp’s health.
Mountain Climbing as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
This activity involves Climbing of the highest peak in the Mahale Mountains ridge, Mt. Nkungwe and it takes about 2-3 days to reach the summit and the best time to carry out this activity is during the dry season that is from May to October.
Cultural Encounter as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
Cultural encounter involves visits to the nearby villages such as the Kigoma town which is the capital of Kigoma district and the historical town Ujiji which is also a historical town dating back to the days of German colonial rule in Tanganyika and in the 19th Century Dr Livingstone travelled to this town called Ujiji hence worthy a detour.
Sport Fishing as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
This activity is carried out on the fresh waters of Lake Tanganyika under special licenses.
Snorkeling as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
This activity involves viewing of many species of fish within Lake Tanganyika which contains more than 250 species of fish found nowhere else on earth by snorkeling in the shallows along Mahale’s shoreline.
Long walking trips as a Tanzania Safari activity in Mahale Mountains National Park
This activity can be arranged for viewing big game such as elephants, buffalo, lion, hippos and leopards and also gives you access to the close encounters with a vast array of birds within the beautiful lowland forest.
HOW TO GET TO MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
The park is accessed by air from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma and the flight takes about 3 hours. It can also be reached by road which provides accessibility to Kigoma though it can be rough and impassable during the rainy season and it takes 2-3 days from Arusha to reach Kigoma by car and a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required.
You can either drive 2 hours South of Kigoma via Simbo Village which is 160kilometer crossing Malagarasi river to Herembe village or drive 122kilometer to Sigunga village upon arrangement with the park HQ for boat transfer to the park and a maximum of 1 or 2 hours boat cruise respectively.