Mahale Mountains National Park
Discover Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale is most famous for its chimpanzees, which number close to a thousand. One group, in particular, is highly habituated to humans after being studied since the 1960s by Japanese researchers.
Walking safaris to see these fascinating animals and observe them in their natural habitat is a magical experience. These interactions are strictly regulated, to protect both the environment and the chimpanzees but it is almost unheard of for people to visit Mahale and not see them.
There are many other animals that live in the forests of Mahale. These include Colobus monkey, squirrel, porcupine and mongoose. On the more open savannahs, African favourites such as lion, giraffe and zebra roam amongst a wide range of antelope. In the lake an array of fish swim, including a number of species that are unique to Tanganyika, making for fabulous snorkelling.
Mahale is located in the Western Tanzania to the South of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika-the World’s longest, second deepest and least polluted freshwater lake-harbouring an estimated 1000 fish species.
Remote, magical Mahale has steep, lush forests, lakeside beaches and Africa's best chimpanzee safaris. The park’s breathtaking array of habitats include rainforest, grasslands, alpine bamboo and woodlands; where some 50 species of animals have been recorded, predominant among these being representatives from various monkey and ape families, and over 90 unique species of fish swim in the clear waters of the lake.
Accessed by boat or plane, Mahale is just over 600 sq km, and rises from a lakeside altitude of 770m to, at its highest point, 2,463m. Much of it is forested (miombo woodland, the locally named Kasoge lowland forest, bamboo and montane forest), giving way, above 2,300m, to mountain grasses. Areas covered by lowland forest are more humid, and receive greater levels rain per year than the rest of the park.
Given Mahale Mountains National Park’s various eco-zones (rainforest, savannah and miombo), its animals are specialists, and species tend to range within their areas. The tropical lowlands are dominated by chimpanzee, two species of squirrel, colobus monkey, duiker and grysbok. The savannah is home to lion, zebra and giraffe. The miombo woodlands support two species of antelope and Lichenstein hartebeest. The park is not, as of yet, fully studied, and of the 80 odd mammals so for recorded, it is supposed that another 35 exist.