For those who envy remoteness, beautiful landscape, and wildlife, Mahale Mountains national park is surely one of the most spectacular places to visit in all of Africa, some would argue this is one of the most spectacular travel destinations in the whole world, distance and cost notwithstanding.
Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest lake (673Km) and is about one and a half kilometers deep and contains 16% of the world’s freshwater. It is the purest fresh water on the planet. The Lake is home to hundreds of species of fish, hippo, and crocodiles are common across its full extent.
Chimpanzees may be the main draw, but they are by no means the whole picture. Pristine forested mountains tower up behind intimate sandy beaches and bays and rocky promontories of the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika.
The forest of Mahale has a wealth of wildlife besides the 1,000 or so chimpanzees. There are 6 species of monkeys (yellow baboons, vervet, blue, red-tailed, Angolan colobus, and red colobus), duikers, bush pig, leopard, bushbuck, and lots of bird’s species.
- Chimps Trekking
To get to the only habituated group of chimps, the M group, one climbs up through the mountain forest on a network of simple cleared paths to get in touch with the chimps, and when one does the experience is extraordinary to the point of being bizarre.
The chimpanzees go on with their lives-walking, sleeping, fighting, politicking, eating, and grooming. As if you are not there, this is perfect because you never feel like you are intruding.
After spending one hour with the chimps you will return to your lodge for lunch and spend the rest of the day on leisure.
Kayaking on these legendary is one of the best ways to spend the day.
What about fly fishing on the shores of the lake with a beer.
There are two permanent lodges and tented camp in the park and are both on the beaches overlooking the Lake and are beautiful, comfortable, and unique on their way.
The easiest way to and from Mahale is via scheduled flights, the flights from Arusha takes 3 hours.
Mahale can be accessible by boat from Kigoma
Mahale is often combined with the nearby Katavi national park, Most of the scheduled flights have the option of routing via Katavi. This makes it easy to combine chimp viewing with watching the big game heartland of Katavi plus the many wildlife options of northern Tanzania.
While in Kigoma you may visit the Dr. Livingstone monument in Ujiji the place where Richard Burton and John Speke first reached the shore of Lake Tanganyika in 1858.