Famous for its Chimpanzees, Mahale is located in western Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
This area of Tanzania (Ujiji, Kigoma) have welcomed famous men such as Livingstone, Stanley, Speke and Burton.
Located 120 km south of Kigoma, the park is only accessible by boat service (the Liemba or private boat) or charter plane from Arusha.
773m highto and the highest peak (Nkungwe Peak) of the Mahale mountains rise at around 2462m.
The Mahale National Park is 30 times the size of Gombe Stream.
The Mahale Mountains National Park started in 1965 when Japanese researcher Dr. Toshisada stumbled upon the mountains and its chimpanzees and setup the 1st research camp.
Best time to visit
Mahale Mountains National Park dry season starts from mid May and last until mid November with some dry transition time in January and February.
How to get to Mahale
After flying from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma or taking the 2 days train journey, you have 2 options: the Liemba ferry boat which leaves on wednesday at about 4pm from Kigoma and takes about 8/10 hours to get to Mogambo. Then a boat from Tanapa will get you to the entrance of the Mahale NP, or you can take a fisherman boat.
The other more expensive option is take a speed boat from Kigoma to the Mahale Tanapa headquarters.
It is also possible to fly from northern Arusha via charter planes with Zantas Air.
The reason most visitors come to Mahale is to undertake a exceptional chimp trekking safari in the mahale forests. There are about 150 chimps and i usually takes no more than 24 hours to find a group. Visitors will be moving by food and following a guide. You will be able to approach the Chimps by as close as 3 to 5 meters.
Below is a regional map covering Mahale, Gombe, Katavi, Kigoma and Lake Tanganyika.
to Tanzania Safari Travel Guide.