The Mahale Mountains National Park is found in western Tanzania and it is among the unique tourist destinations in Tanzania. It covers an area of 623 sq miles (1613 square kilometers), beginning with a peaceful coastal strip with beautiful sand that can be approached using boats. Right after the beach, rise the Mahale Mountains ranges to a spectacular peak on Mount Nkungwe, approximately 2500 meters above-sea-level. Then come the high-altitude plains over the cliffs, and these are carpeted with different types of wild flowers which normally blossom with the first seasonal rains.
Wildlife in Mahale Mountains National Park
The Mahale Mountains National Park is best known as home to chimpanzees and there are more than 800 wild-chimpanzees living here; however, thanks to the wide variety of habitats in the park such as the tropical rain forests, this park is home to a variety of wildlife including the huge scaly pangolin, Sharpe’s greysbok, Crocodiles, huge forest squirrels, brush-tailed porcupines, leopard, yellow baboon, sable antelopes, black & white Colobus monkeys, blue monkeys, mongoose, red-tailed monkey, lions, red colobus, warthog, in addition to over sixty (60) different types of other mammals.
You will also be able to see some hippos swimming in the shallows of the Lake Tanganyika. Although the specifics of the diversity of the reptile and amphibian species within the Mahale are not well detailed, it’s believed that there are more than twenty (20) amphibian species as well as twenty six (26) species of reptiles found in this park.
In addition there are about 350 different bird species found inside this park so irrespective of whether you are an amateur or professional birder, you won’t fail to see a number of birds while on your visit in the park. Among the species you will see here are various storks, crested guinea fowls, Livingston’s turacos, pelicans, narina trogons, malachite kingfishers, blue cheeked bee-eaters, fish eagles and the pied king fishers.
The lake is also habitat to several types of fish which can best be seen during snorkeling in the shallow waters.
Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains National Park
This is the primary tourist activity in the park. This adventure in the wilderness includes a hike in the forest during which you will search the chimps and takes between thirty (30) minutes and three (3) hours. During the search in the forest, you are likely to encounter a number of different wild animals such as warthogs, roan antelopes, mongoose as well as the sable antelopes. Eventually you will meet the habituated chimpanzee group that you will be trekking and then spend about one hour in its presence as you observe them take of each other, cater for their young, feed and play. You are actually allowed to take photographs as well as record videos of the chimps.
What to do in Mahel Mountains National Park
Besides chimpanzee trekking, this park offers a variety of other tourist activities you can enjoy while on safari here, and these include wildlife viewing, bird watching, kayaking, fishing, primate watching, hiking as well as snorkeling.
Best Time to Visit Mahale Mountains National Park
The best time to enjoy a trip in this park is during the dry season, which begins in June up to September. In the months of June, July as well as August, the park hardly receives any rainfall. The early rain sprinkles begin in early October. During this time the average minimum temperature is 64°F / 18°C) and a maximum of 86°F (30°C), and the chimpanzees can be seen on the lower slopes of the mountain in sizeable groups normally eating leaves especially near the shores of Grey-stroke and kungwe beach-lodge.
The Wet Season
This begins in November up to April, and normally its more humid and hotter so holidaymakers must be very careful especially because tsetse flies and many during these months. So if possible carry an insect repellent with you, and also avoid dark colored clothes as they attract mosquitoes. In these months, the chimpanzees do not move long distances but rather remain in the upper parts of the forest where they obtain their food as well as hunt down other primates such as the red colobus monkeys.