Mahale Mountains National Park is located in a remote area in Tanzania, on the western border with the Congo, against the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The park covers an area of 1,613 sq kms (615 sq miles) and can only be reached by boat or small aircraft and is home to a large chimpanzee population that is well acclimatized to human contact.
The best experience is watching the chimpanzee in their natural habitat. Hiking through the forest is fantastic and one must be prepares for a tough hike. Allow at least two days for tracking the chimpanzees – though habituated, they are wild animals which means sightings are not guaranteed and finding them can take a gentle twenty. There are no roads in the park, only tracks and trails. In addition to the chimpanzees there are several species of monkey including red colobus and a notable array of colorful forest birds.
The mountains rise from the shores of the lake to over 2,460 meters (8,000 feet) above sea level and encompass seven vegetation zones ranging from grass steppe, acacia savanna and baobabs to montane forest and bamboo bush land. Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest, second-deepest and least polluted fresh water lake – with an estimated 1,000 fish species. There are Swim, snorkel and fish in the lake.
Accommodation is in small lakeside camps and lodges and the best time to visit is May to October although forest walks are no problem in the light rain of October/November. The park was originally habited by the local Tongwe people who hold the highest peak, Nkungwe, sacred.