Mahale National Park

MAHALE NATIONAL PARK
mahale-national-park

Set deep in the heart of the African interior, inaccessible by road and only 100km (60 miles) south of where Stanley uttered that immortal greeting “Doctor Livingstone, I presume”, is a scene reminiscent of an Indian Ocean island beach idyll. Silky white coves hem in the azure waters of Lake Tanganyika, overshadowed by a chain of wild, jungle-draped peaks towering almost 2km above the shore: the remote and mysterious Mahale Mountains.
Mahale Mountains is home to some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees: a population of roughly 800 (only 60 individuals forming what is known as “M group”), habituated to human visitors by a Japanese research project founded in the 1960s. Tracking the chimps of Mahale is a magical experience. The guide’s eyes pick out last night’s nests – shadowy clumps high in a gallery of trees crowding the sky. Scraps of half-eaten fruit and fresh dung become valuable clues, leading deeper into the forest. Butterflies flit in the dappled sunlight.
Then suddenly you are in their midst: preening each other’s glossy coats in concentrated huddles, squabbling noisily, or bounding into the trees to swing effortlessly between the vines. The area is also known as Nkungwe, after the park’s largest mountain, held sacred by the local Tongwe people, and at 2,460 metres (8,069 ft) the highest of the six prominent points that make up the Mahale Range.
And while chimpanzees are the star attraction, the slopes support a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys, and a kaleidoscopic array of colourful forest birds. You can trace the Tongwe people’s ancient pilgrimage to the mountain spirits, hiking through the montane rainforest belt – home to an endemic race of Angola colobus monkey – to high grassy ridges chequered with alpine bamboo. Then bathe in the impossibly clear waters of the world’s longest, second-deepest and least-polluted freshwater lake – harbouring an estimated 1,000 fish species – before returning as you came, by boat.
About Mahale Mountains National Park
Size: 1,613 sq km (623 sq miles). Location: Western Tanzania, bordering Lake Tanganyika.
Getting there
Charter flight from Arusha, Dar or Kigoma. Charter private or national park motorboat from Kigoma, three to four hours. Weekly steamer from Kigoma, seven hours, then hire a local fishing boat or arrange with park HQ for pickup in park boat, another one or two hours.
What to do
Chimp tracking (allow two days); hiking; camping safaris; snorkelling; fish for your dinner.
When to go
Dry season (May-October) best for forest walks although no problem in the light rains of October/November.
Accommodation
Three seasonal luxury tented camps. Two small rest houses, large campsite.
More info on accommodation
NOTE: The same rules for chimpanzee viewing at Gombe Stream apply at Mahale.

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COVID-19 SAFETY AND SANITARY MEASURES NOTICE

Due to the recent Covid 19 worldwide pandemic, to keep our guests and indeed our staff safe, we have made serious steps to cub the impact of the pandemic that we would like to make you aware.  We believe that with careful planning and consideration by our staff and guests we can continue to provide the best hospitality services on safari.  For now, this may be our new norm and routines.

The measures taken include the following:
  1. All our staff have received full vaccination approved by WHO
  2. All our staff have received full training in health and safety-related to the COVID-19 virus and are required to be extra vigilant with their personal hygiene and daily routines.
  3. Health condition of driver-guides will be monitored for not less than a week before being assigned to take clients on safari.
  4. City transfer and safari vehicles will be regularly disinfected before picking up clients, especially the high-touch surfaces and seats.
  5. While our vehicles are already cleaned between transfers, they will now also be disinfected between each use.
  6. To keep social distancing, safari vehicles with 4-window seats will be redesigned to take only 2 people in the passenger cabin.
  7. Safari vehicles with 6-window seats will still be available for families/group of friends wishing to travel together in one vehicle.
  8. The driver-guide will be at hand to oversee guests observe the recommended physical distancing at park entry gates, picnic sites, and while checking in at accommodation facilities.
  9. Each guest will receive their own adventure kit, which includes a Wildlife Guides' Journal, mini fan, mask and hand sanitizers, as well as a pair of binoculars – all in cleaned before each new set of guests.
  10. Guests are encouraged to come with their own masks;
  11. The driver-guide will take necessary personal protection precautions at all times which include wearing of masks and using sanitizer regularly after each physical contacts.
  12. Please be assured that all our selection of partner properties we work with have their strict COVID-19 hygiene policy in place.
  13. Tanzania wasn't Really affected by Covid 19 to the same extent as most other countries, especially those in Europe and South America. However, we will keep the above measures in place for your peace of mind.

Our meet and greet teams at airports will still be there to accompany guests into transfer vehicles.

Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to welcoming you to Tanzania for your African safari holiday of a lifetime.

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