Snapshot - Mahale Mountains National Park - A Magical Experience with Chimpanzees!

Snapshot: Mahale Mountains National Park – A Magical Experience with Chimpanzees!

Overview of The Mahale Mountains National Park

As with Mahale Mountains National Park’s neighbour, Gombe National Park in the north, it is now the habitat of Africa’s last surviving wild chimpanzees. Its inhabitants of about 900 socialized to humans during a Japanese research project in the 1960s. Observing Mahale’s chimpanzees is like being in another world.

Seeing Chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

A settlement south of Kigoma is known as Mahale. Lake Tanganyika, the world’s longest, second-deepest, and cleanest freshwater lake, borders the country. It is home to more than a thousand different species of fish.

In What Season Should You Visit the Mahale Mountains National Park?

The dry season is the ideal time to visit (May-October). It’s an excellent time for spotting huge groups of chimpanzees, the sun shines on fish in the lake, and the beach is a welcoming place to relax. Nevertheless, the Mahale Mountains National Park is still open year-round. It’s also an unforgettable experience to visit during the wet conditions when the lake is illuminated at night by spectacular lightning storms and vistas of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo across the water.

Attractions for Visitors at the Mahale Mountains National Park:

Chimpanzee walking at Mahale Mountains National Park

  • The Chimps
  • Hiking Spree (The Chain of Mountains – Mahale range)
  • Fauna and jungle flora (Angola and red colobus, red and blue-tailed monkeys, forest birds, amongst others)
  • Beaches along the shores of Lake Tanganyika
  • Anglers from the neighborhood
  • The sunsets on the horizon of the lake

Is there Anything You can Do at the Mahale Mountains National Park?

  • The monitoring of chimps (permit two days for this)
  • Summit Hiking to the park’s “Nkungwe” (8,069ft), its highest point, which the Tongwe people revere.
  • Camping in the wilds of Africa
  • Water activities include scuba diving, sport fishing, and a wide range of others.

Mahale Mountains National Park is Accessible Through Air, Road, and Water

There are various aircraft, automobile, and boat alternatives available to accommodate the majority of passengers and chimp lovers: It is possible to travel by plane, car, or boat to see the chimpanzees in their natural habitat.

Booking a Direct Flight to Mahale Mountains National Park

This is the quickest way to go to Mahale Mountains National Park. Three tour operators provide flights between Arusha and the park’s camps in Mahale during peak season (June to October). Arrivals and departures are twice weekly from October through March. There are no regular flights during March, April, and the first half of May when camps are closed.

Visitors can, however, hire their planes. The country of Tanzania is home to a slew of charter airlines, including Air Excel, Northern Air, and Regional Air. Its major cities are all options for private charter flights.

Regional Air bush plane on a runaway
Regional Air bush plane on a runaway

It can only fit for light planes with a maximum of 12 passengers to land at Mahale Airport.

Travel from Kigoma to Mahale Mountains National Park Using the Kigoma Route

There are various ways to get to Kigoma:

  • Air Tanzania offers Dar es Salaam daily flights to Kigoma. The trip is around three and a half hours long.
  • It is also possible to get to Kigoma through the road: However, this can be dangerous and impassable in the wet season. Kigoma is a two or three day trip from Arusha, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required.
  • Trains are also available: Trains leave Dar es Salaam for Mombasa three times a week. The journey is around three and a half days long.

A Boat, Plane, or Automobile are all Options for Getting to Mahale Mountains National Park from Kigoma

The park or private operators in Kigoma can arrange speedboat or timber boat transportation to Mahale Mountains National Park. The park can be reached in four to five hours by speedboat, but it could take up to fifteen hours or more by timber boat.

Two times a month [on Wednesday afternoons], the MV Liemba departs Kigoma and crosses the length of the Lake to Zambia, delivering people and goods. Along the journey, it makes several stops, including one at Mahale, also known as Lagosa or Mgambo. From Kigoma to Lagosa-Mgambo (Mahale);, the MV Liemba takes around ten hours and passes through Mahale Mountains National Park on the way back [usually on a Sunday or early Monday].

Mahale Mountains National Park boats can be arranged for pick-ups from Lagosa-Mgambo.

From Kigoma town, a light plane takes 45 minutes to reach Mahale. Many expedition companies offer hired private flights from Kigoma to Mahale Mountains National Park amongst other Tanzanian parks in the west.

Getting to the Mahale Mountains National Park by Road

Head to Kigoma due south for two hours through Simbo Village (160 km), bridge the River Malagarasi to a Village called Herembe (accessible only in the dry season). Or upon agreement with Mahale Mountains National Park HQ for a boat to the park, drive 122 km to Sigunga Village and then arrange for a means of boat transport. Most boat tours last little more than an hour or two.

Malagarasi River
Malagarasi River

The Mahale Mountains National Park Regulations Applicable

Its home to one of the most studied chimpanzee populations in Africa, in the Mahale Mountains National Park. By paying park admission fees, tourists contribute to preserving and protecting this rare group of chimpanzees and the beautiful forest in which they reside.

Rules and Guidelines for the Mahale Mountains National Park

  • Make sure you stick to the marked trails.
  • Do not disturb animals in the wild.
  • Keep a low profile.
  • Make sure you don’t bother other guests or the animals they’re watching.
  • No pets or firearms are allowed in the park.
  • To avoid damaging or removing any of the Mahale Mountains National Park’s plants, do not remove, pick, cut, or harm any of them.
  • Never light a fire or throw away something that is on fire.
  • Litter should never be thrown away.
  • Be in designated accommodation facilities between the hours of 7:00 pm and 6:00 am (tented camps, tourist bandas, rest house or campsites).
  • Single entry permits are only good within 24 hours.

Tourist Viewing Regulations for Chimp’s

  • Keep a distance of ten meters or more from the chimps when viewing them; it reduces the risk of contaminating them with germs and viruses.
  • A mask supplied by your guide should be worn over your nose and mouth whenever you are within 50 meters of chimpanzees.
  • Move at least 250 meters away from the chimpanzees if you plan on eating or drinking anything.
  • Not to mention, don’t leave your valuables on the ground or in places where chimpanzees can get to them! They’re curious, and your belongings could be a source of disease for them. Your guide will gladly help you with your luggage if you need it.
  • Do not leave any waste behind you. It poses a threat to all kinds of species, including chimpanzees, and could spread illness.
  • When in close proximity to chimpanzees and the need to sneeze, it is best to cover your mouth and nose to prevent the spread of germs.
  • It’s best to avoid using the restroom in the woods. Relocate at least 250 meters away from the chimpanzees and ask your guide to dig a deep hole for you.
  • It is forbidden to visit the chimps if you are ill or have an infectious disease. If you become ill, please notify the camp staff to provide for your care. You put the chimpanzees’ health at risk by visiting them when you are sick.
  • No contact with the chimps is permitted by visitors under 12. Since children and teenagers are more prone to spread contagious diseases, these restrictions are in place to protect them.
  • No more than six people (including a guide) are allowed to approach the chimpanzees at a time.
  • If there is already another group with the chimps when you arrive, please wait at a distance of 250 meters from the animals in a spot designated by your guide.
  • One hour is the maximum amount of time that can be spent watching. Your time will be halted if the chimps move and your viewing is interrupted. However, tracking is not authorized for more than three hours following the initial chimp sighting, even if the one hour total has not been achieved. Keeping animal and forest disturbances to a minimum is the utmost goal here.

The Overall Need for Safety While at the Mahale Mountains National Park

More than four decades of research and training have resulted in close relationships between humans and Mahale Mountains National Park’s chimpanzees.

Nevertheless, they are wild animals, and you must avoid provoking them or putting them in harm’s way at all costs.

  • While near the chimpanzees, please speak softly. You’ll be able to see a variety of other fascinating creatures in the Mahale Mountains National Park forest this way as well.
  • Avoid pointing at the chimpanzees or making sudden movements.
  • Direct eye contact may be viewed as unfriendly or threatening behavior on their behalf, so keep your distance.
  • Avoid putting on perfume, smoking, or spitting.
  • While at it, maintain a small group, try sitting or squatting rather than standing near the chimpanzees, as this will minimize disruption. Make sure your group does not entirely enclose the chimps.
  • You should flee to the nearest tree if a monkey attacks you, stand up, and secure your grip on the trunk.
  • Finally, don’t panic or flee unnecessarily; instead, listen to your guide’s advice and follow it.
  • Avoid making sudden motions to widen the space if chimps approach you closer than the permitted distance (10 meters). To get away from them, go back the way you came, or the other way slowly.
  • Turn off the camera’s flash. Chimpanzees can be agitated and disturbed by flash photography.

Living Quarters and Housing at the Mahale Mountains National Park

Greystoke Mahale Mountain National Park Banda
Greystoke Mahale Mountain National Park Banda

The Mahale Mountains National Park’s amenities

Visitors can stay in one of the Mahale Mountains National Park’s five bandas. Each banda has two bedrooms with twin beds and a private bathroom.

Cooks can be hired on-site to prepare your meals, and self-catering facilities are provided—provisions to bring your food and beverages for the event are also allowed.

Tourists on a budget, as well as college students, can take a banda.

Mahale Mountains National Park can be reached by email at sokwe@tanzaniaparks.com or mahale@tanzaniaparks.com to make reservations.

Individually Owned and Operated Facilities at the Mahale Mountains National Park

Three privately run luxury tented campgrounds are currently available in the Mahale Mountains National Park:

Spectacular Nomad Safaris in a Deluxe Tented Camp

Contact information: mahale1@nomad-tanzania.com

With A total of 14 beds and seven rooms

Nkungwe Deluxe Tented Camp

Contact information: scl@raha.com, and kht96@hotmail.com

There have a total of 20 beds spread among ten rooms.

Safari at Camp Flycatcher

Contact information: flycat@habari.co.tz

They have 12 beds with six rooms.

To get in touch with someone in charge (Warden) of the Mahale Mountains National Park, write to P.O. Box 1374 Kigoma, Tanzania, or Contact information: sokwe@tanzaniaparks.com, mahale@tanzaniaparks.com.

Call:+255 689 062326 or +255 769 536127.

Tourist information Office; available in Kigoma

Lubengera Street,

Contact information: gonapachimps@yahoo.com, chimps@tanzaniaparks.com.

Call: +255767536426.

Fax: +25528204009.

Hotline: +255767516733; above the ways you can get in touch with us.

Alternatively, you can contact Mahale Mountains National Park Headquarters through satellite phone at +8821 621 277 242.

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