Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania

Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania

Mahale mountains national park borders Gombe in the north which is the home of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees, a population of roughly 900, they are habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s.this has made the park popular for primate and chimpanzee tracking.

Mahale is located in Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest, and least polluted freshwater lake harboring an estimated 1000 fish species.

Size of Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania

Mahale Mountains National Park Size: 1613 sq km (623 sq miles) Established: 1965 the first research camp was set up, officially gazetted in 1985 as a national park.

Location of Mahale Mountains National Park Tanzania

Mahale Mountains National Park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma Region, Tanzania. Named after the Mahale Mountains range that is within its borders, the park has several unusual characteristics. First, it is one of only two protected areas for chimpanzees in the country.

How to get to Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale is accessible by air, road, and boat. There are several flights, car, and boat options to suit most travelers and chimps lovers:

Mahale can be reached by boat, by light aircraft, or by car.

Transport to Mahale by speedboats or timber boats from Kigoma can be arranged with the Park or private operators in Kigoma. The speedboats take between 4 and 5 hours to reach the park while timber boats can take up to 15 hours or more.

By air

This is the easiest way to reach Mahale. During the peak tourist season (June to October) the three tour operators with camps in Mahale schedule regular flights between the park and Arusha town. Between October and March flights arrive and leave twice each week. Between March, April, and the first half of May Camps close therefore there are no scheduled flights.

However, it is also possible for visitors to arrange their own charter flights. Tanzania has a large number of charter flight companies such as Air Excel, Northern Air, and Regional Air to mention a few. Private charters can be arranged from major cities of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, or Zanzibar.

The airstrip at Mahale is suitable for light aircraft only with the capacity of up to 12 passengers.

By Air: Air Tanzania schedules daily flights from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma. The flight takes about 3 hours.

By Road

The road provides access to Kigoma, but it can be rough and impassable, especially in the rainy season. From Arusha it takes 2 or 3 days to reach Kigoma by car, a 4-wheel drive vehicle is required.

Either drives 2 hrs. South of Kigoma via Simbo Village (160km ) crossing Malagarasi river to Herembe village (passable during dry season) or drive 122km to Sigunga Village upon arrangement with Park HQ for boat transfer to the Park maximum 1 or 2 hrs boat cruise respectively.

By Rail

Trains from Dar es Salaam leave 2-3 times a week. The journey takes about three days and two nights.

Things to do in Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains national park is an extraordinary destination for trekking the endangered chimpanzees in Tanzania and some of the activities include:

Chimpanzees tracking experience

Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide’s eyes pick out last night’s nests – shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight.

Hiking Chain of Mountains (Mahale range)

The Mahale Mountains are a mountain range in western Tanzania, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika. They rise to 2,462 meters (8,077 ft) atop Mount Nkungwe. The range and its habitats are protected by the Mahale Mountains National Park, is known for wildlife including chimpanzees.

Forest walks

Angola colobus, red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, forest birds, alpine bamboo, montane rain forest, etc.).

Relaxing on the beaches of Lake Tanganyika

Lake Tanganyika is a true marvel of the world. The world’s longest, second largest, and second deepest freshwater lake. This mammoth body of water spans four countries – Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, and Zambia with Tanzania possessing 46% along its North-Western border.

Visiting Local fishermen

Bring fishermen at the center”: the value of local knowledge for understanding fisheries resources and climate-related changes in Lake Tanganyika

Sunset on the Lake horizon

There are beautiful sunset views on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and you can have spectacular views of the lake.

Sports fishing

You can book fishing safaris and other water sport while visiting Mahale national park and Lake Tanganyika.

When to visit Mahale Mountains National park

The dry season (May -October) is the best period. During this period, chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big groups, the sunshine illuminates the fish in the Lake and the beach is an inviting place to relax. However, Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience, made remarkable by views of the neighboring country DR Congo across the water and by incredible lightning storms that light up the lake at night.

Where to stay in Mahale Mountains National Park

The park has five self-contained tourists Bandas. Each Banda has two rooms with twin beds and a private bathroom. Kitchen facilities are available for self-catering and cooks can be hired locally to prepare your meals.

Luxury safari camps

  • Nomad Safaris Luxury Tented Camp
  • Nkungwe Luxury Tented Camp
  • Flycatcher Safari Camp.


Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale mountains NP
Hiking Mahale mountain range
primate walks in Mahale mountains NP
Beach holidays on Lake Tanganyika
Boat cruise on Lake Tanganyika
Sport fishing on Lake Tanganyika


How to get to Mahale Mountains national park


3 Days Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains national park
4 Days Mahale and Lake Tanganyika beach holiday
5 Days Luxury Mahale and fishing on Lake Tanganyika
5 Days fly in Mahale chimpanzee safari


Best time to visit Mahale Mountains national park


Nomad safari Luxury tented Camp
Nkungwe luxury tented Camp
Flycatcher safari camp


Great Wildebeest Migration

Great Wildebeest Migration

Gorilla Tracking

Gorilla Tracking in Rwanda

Victoria Falls

Thunderous Victoria Falls

Uganda gorilla fly-in

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda