Top things to do in Mahale Mountain National Park Tanzania: Mahale Mountains National Park lies in kigoma region along the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in the remote western Tanzania. The park is touched with beautiful tourist attraction which is the backdrop of the Mahale Mountain ranges, lush and tropical flora. The main attraction and common done activity is guided walking safaris where you can have a stunning view for chimpanzees who are inhabits here . Chimpanzee species share their forest hoven with a range of other primates, mammals and beautiful birds. Mammals species to see include; Colobus monkeys, Squirrel, Porcupine and Mongoose and other species to see here include lions, giraffes and zebras roam amongst the large number of antelopes.
More about, Lake Tanganyika is a home to over 100 fish species which can be explored under clear waters thus making a remarkable snorkeling.
Mahale Mountains National Park was gazette as a national park in 1985 covering a total land of about 1,500 square kilometers of its land on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika. However, the lake ranks the world’s longest and second deepest freshwater lake.
The park also a great location that overlooks the stunning lush, green and hilly. The big part of park is filled with miombo woodland with Kasoge forest, riverine forest, montane forest and montane grassland in some areas. They provide shelter to impalas which call themselves species of Mahale.
Below are the highlights of things to do in Mahale Mountains National Park as include; chimpanzee walking safaris, birdwatcher’s paradise, beach-living on the white and remote, snorkeling in Lake Tanganyika, Hike up Mount Nkugwe –Mahale’s highest peak and Cultural visits to local villages.
Game viewing; While at the park, you can involve in game viewing which is best done along the eastern slopes of Mahale species to see include ; elephants ,lions ,wild dogs ,giraffes ,buffalos ,bush backs ,roan antelopes and waterbucks. You can also observe primates such as yellow baboons, blue monkeys, red colobus, vervet monkeys and red tailed monkeys among others.
Chimpanzee tracking in Mahale; Mahale Mountains National Park truly is an impressive destination with great opportunities to see our closest relatives whom we share 98% of our DNA, can be seen in their natural habitat during a safari in Tanzania.
Birding in Mahale National Park
The park is a paradise of bird species with more than 350 species of birds which are recorded in the park and most of them are forest birds and some of birds to see in Mahale National park include African Fish eagles, giant kingfisher, Crested guide fowl and Russ’s turaco mentioned but few.
The best time of watching bird species on Tanzania birding tour starts from November to April. During the period of the year, can be the easiest way to see resident birds in their breeding plumage and migratory birds travel from northern Africa and Europe. Migratory birds are present from March to April. Although, rain can make birdwatching difficult due to slippery forest trails.
Experiencing activities to do on Lake Tanganyika in Mahale National Park
Since the park lies on the shores of Lake Tanganyika African Great Lake and known as the second largest freshwater lake. The lake inhabits more than 100 fish species where traveler can enjoy life on beach into a clear water. Other activities include Kayaking, scuba diving, boat safaris, sport fishing and snorkeling.
While at the park you can try to get out of the lodge and have great rewardable view at the Lake especially during the night since it is the only way to view the light on the lakes which is made by the local fishermen as most fishing can be done at night as virtually all fishing methods.
Hiking in Mahale National park; Hiking can be arranged two days hiking up and one down while camping midway and again near the peak. You can also hike Mt. Mahale one of the rewardable activities available and can be done in the company of an armed ranger guide. Hiking trails are decent shape. If you’re trek, you must carry your own camping food or gear.
Best time for climbing is during the dry season that occurs from May to October.
Sport Fishing Experience;
You’re advised to purchase your fishing permits in advance before the time of arrival, fishing can be done between 7am and 5 pm.
Boat cruise; This is the best way to enjoy staying in a water vessel and moving from one place to another fore pleasure, it can be conducted within Lake Tanganyika.
Snorkeling in Mahale
This is one of the most done activity experiencing swimming on waters of Lake Tanganyika while equipped with a diving mask and a shaped tube signified as snorkel and usual fins. Can be done on cooler waters ‘’3hours’’given.
Kayaking in Mahale
Kayaking can be done in a small narrow boat that can be done with double blanded paddle. During this activity, you can enjoy riding the boat across water. This activity is can done when the lake weather is calm.
Cultural tour around Mahale
On visit you can engage in cultural tours, you will visit the nearby villages of Holohola and Batongwe people, you can combine also a visit to Kigoma town and historical town Ujija.
Best time to visit –Mahale Mountains National park nm,
The park can be visited throughout the year though the most enjoyable in dry seasons which starts from July to October when the chimpanzees are easily seen in bigger groups and closer to shore. Wet season is also favorable to encounter chimpanzees and can be encountered on walking Tanzania safari.
Note, tracking chimpanzees in wet seasons you can move budget at a low price of accommodations and the park can be uncrowded.
Mahale Mountains National park can be accessed either by air or by road or by boat as explained;
Travelers to access the park can choose to fly through booking a domestic scheduled or charter flights from Arusha and Dar es Salaam that takes 5 to 6hours to land to Mahale Airstrip. Flights are more active in peak seasons from June to October and out of season are less regular.
The roads are rough and can be tricky during rain seasons. You can drive from Arusha to Kigoma. Then from Kigoma you will need to take a boat or plane which is 2 to 3 days by car. Just known the place is far to travel by car.
Travel by boat;
From Kigoma you can opt to access the park by the speedboat which is four to six hours and timber boats can run up to more than 15 hours to Mahale. You can travel twice a week by a large steamship from Kigoma 10 hours.
Where to stay at Mahale Mountains National Park; There are comfortable accommodation units you can book with overlooking of white sands of Lake Tanganyika and a starting point to explore the beautiful emerald forests of the park such lodges includes; Mbali Mbali Gombe Lodge is a luxury lodge, Mahale Mango Banda –budget and Greystork Mahale Camp among others.