Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountain national park is located in western Tanzania, in the southern part Kigoma city, its name is got from the Mahale Mountain. These mountains are one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in Tanzania and the chimpanzee population is the largest known. It is the only place where chimpanzees and lions co-exist. Mahale Mountain national park sits among the spectacular, forested mountain slopes. The protection of the thousands of chimpanzees that inhabit the region was originally and main reason to create the park. The park (like its northerly neighbor Gombe) is home to some of the Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900, they are habituated to human visitors. As the chimpanzees are susceptible to many human diseases, strict rules apply to the safe conduct of primate safaris in Tanzania.

The park’s breathtaking array of habitats includes rainforest, grasslands, alpine bamboo and woodlands. You can find over 50 species of animals here, pre-dominant among these being representatives from various monkey and ape families. And over 100 unique species of fish swim in the clear waters of the lake. Mahale Mountain national park is also famous for its fantastic sunsets over Lake Tanganyika, which makes it an essential stop for keen photographers and safari enthusiasts. Another unusual feature of the park is that it is one of the few in Africa where you will be walking, as there are no roads within the park boundaries. The only way in and out of the park is by boat across the lake.

Getting to Mahale Mount National park

Mahale is remote which makes it uncrowned. The easiest and quickest way to get there is by air.

By air – During peak season from June to October, regular scheduled flights from Arusha and Dar es Salaam (three to five hours) to the Mahale Airstrip are available. Out of season, flights are less regular. Charter flights can also be arranged.

By road – The roads are rough and can be inaccessible, especially during rains. From Arusha to Kigoma (from where you’ll need to take a boat or plane), it takes about two to three days by car.

By boat – From Kigoma, there are speedboats (four to six hours) and timber boats (up to 15 hours) to Mahale. Twice a week, the MV Liemba, a large steamship, travels from Kigoma (10 hours).

 Activities to do in Mahale Mountain National Park

  • Tracking chimpanzee
  • Snorkelling
  • Camping safaris
  • Forest walks
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Hiking up Mount Nkungwe
  • Birdwatching


Accommodation at Mahale Mount National Park

Mahale Mango Bandas (Silver)

Kungwe Beach Lodge (Golden)

Greystoke Mahale (Platinum)