Mahale National Park is located in southwestern Tanzania on the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika. The park is located 120 kilometers south of Kigoma town and is only accessible by boat service or charter plane.
The park’s altitude rises from 773 meters at Lake Tanganyika to around 2462 meters at the top of the mountain range at Nkungwe Peak. Mahale National Park is 623 square kilometers, 30 times the size of Gombe Stream National Park. Mahale Park’s status encompasses the Mahale Mountain ranges, 63 kilometers of beautiful soft sandy beach, and 1.6 kilometers wide Lake Tanganyika.
Though it is well-known for Chimpanzees and Baboons, Mahale Mountains National Park has also savannah-adapted species from East and South Africa, forest-adapted species from West and Central Africa, and Congo Basin animals. Among them are the giant squirrel, red-legged sun squirrel, brush-tailed porcupine, Angolan black and white-Colobus (which are regarded to be a new species in this area), Bushy-tailed mongoose, and sharp’s grysbok. Besides the chimps, leopards, lion, kudu, eland, buffalo, roan, and sable antelope, and a host of other game wander through this reserve.
Having more than 550 plant species, Mahale is rich in plants. Researchers believe that at least 1,000 flower plants are found within the national park boundary. The plant species have been a major influence on the life of chimpanzees, who utilize 328 food items from 198 plant species.
Some of these plants are used by chimpanzees as medicine and appetizers. Different birdlife like the red-collared widowbird, crested guinea fowl, Ross’s Turaco, parrots, speckled mousebirds, Crown-eagles, bee-eaters, and rollers have been recorded here. The best time for forest walks in Mahale is during the dry season (May to October). The light rains of October or November also present no real obstacle to visitors.
How to get there
The quickest way to reach Mahale is by air up to Kigoma town, then by boat to Kasoga in Mahale.
Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience
Distance from Arusha: to Kigoma it is roughly 1,020 km (633 miles).