Tanzania : Mahale Mountains NP

In the extreme west of Tanzania on the shores of Lake Tanganyika is the Mahale Mountains National Park, one of the most remote, rewarding and peaceful parks in Tanzania. It is not easy to get to (most of the best places arenít!), but is very different to anywhere else in the country, completely magical and probably one of the best places in Africa to see chimpanzees. Created in 1985, the Mahale Mountains National Park is predominantly a chimp sanctuary to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa, but you can also see a variety of other primates, as well as birds, butterflies, warthog, bushbuck, porcupine and even the elusive pangolin. Set on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the Rift Valley's deepest lake which boasts crystal clear waters abundant with fresh water fish and a lakeshore of the finest powder-white sand where you can go fishing, off shore swimming and kayaking. There is one large family group of chimpanzees who are completely habituated to humans and pay no attention to us at all. Daily treks are made to visit this family and you will spend one hour per day in small groups of 6 observing the chimps feeding, grooming, fighting, playing and going around their daily life. The family have been studied since the mid 60s so much has been learnt about chimp behaviour and each and every chimp is known by the guides and researchers who have an in depth knowledge which they share with you as you come across each of the chimps. Itís a privilege to be introduced to their lives in this wild and magical place which I guarantee will stay with you for ever.

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chimp
chimp
Mahale Mountains
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Greystoke Mahale Camp

Greystoke Mahale is a fantastic 6 roomed camp set in the forest and on a white sandy beach on Lake Tanganyika with the Mahle Mountians rising up behind. The original tented camp was set up here 30 years ago by Roland and Zoe Purcell, their children grew up here and they introduced the world to the chimps of Mahale. Now part of Nomad Safaris the camp is still as remote and secluded but with a few more creature comforts. Each of the six thatched rooms is set on the edge of the forest, peeking through to the lake, and offering total privacy. The rooms and furniture are all made from old wooden dhows which once sailed the lake. Raised on decks, the large beds are draped in mosquito nets and there is a chill- out deck above which is reached by a staircase made from an old canoe. There is a private bathroom to the rear reached by a short boardwalk, with hot and cold running water, strong showers and flush loo. The main mess area is set on the beach and looks out over the lake to the mountains of the DRC in the haze beyond. Sundowners are had in the bar on a promontory overlooking the lake and meals are had on a long table in the mess or in the moonlight on the beach.

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at night
banda
view from banda
dining table bedroom shower
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Mbali Mbali Mahale

Mbali Mbali Mahale has reinvented itself and a fantastic new lodge has been built on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The main bar area is thatched but inside has a Caribbean feeling to it, made of wood with a long open verandah overlooking the lake. There is a central bar and plenty of comfy chair for relaxing in. The 9 beach tents are large and airy set up on wooden decks with a large deck at the front for relaxing. The camp is run on solar with LED lighting in the rooms and the whole camp has a clean new and modern feel to it.

Chimp viewing is the main reason to come to Mahale but in both lodges you can also go out kayaking and fishing and swimming offshore from the dhow. Walks in the forest to look for primates and the butterflies are glorious. If you are lucky the chimps have been known to come and visit the lodges.


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