Mahale mountains national park

Mahale mountains national park

Mahale mountains national park


The Hidden


Mahale mountains national park – Overview

In Mahale, chimpanzees are the star attraction. There are roughly 800 chimps in the park, of which about 60 individuals of the Mimikere group are very habituated to people. The research and habituation in Mahale is a Japanese project that goes back as long as Jane Goodall's research in neighboring Gombe NP.

Best Time
July to October (Chimp trekking is easy)
High Season
July to October (Crowds in Mahale are rare)
Low Season
April and May (Most lodges are closed)
Best Weather
May to October (Almost no rainfall)
Worst Weather
November to April (Wet season)
***Pros & Cons ***
A chance to come face-to-face with chimps
The park is much bigger than Gombe NP
Pristine forest at the shore of Lake Tanganyika
Watching wildlife on a hike is a nice change from vehicle safaris
Very exclusive and doesn't get crowded
Difficult to get to and accommodation options are limited
Only very expensive packages available
Mahale National Park

Mahale's chimps are the main attraction, but the park supports a diverse forest fauna, including readily observed troops of red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkey, and many colorful forest birds and butterflies. Warthog can sometimes be seen around the camp.


The park is a chain of wild, jungle-draped peaks towering almost 2km above the shore of the azure water of Lake Tanganyika. The geography of this classic Rift Valley lake with its steep escarpment and white sandy beaches, is best appreciated on a dhow trip. A hike to a beautiful waterfall in the rainforest is another activity on offer.

Weather & Climate

Not surprisingly, the altitude in the Mahale Mountains varies a lot. This affects the average temperatures, which get progressively cooler the higher you go. The other main influences on conditions are the two clear-cut seasons: the Dry (May to October) and the Wet (November to April). The former brings plenty of warmth and blue skies, while in the latter, the humidity skyrockets along with the rainfall.

Best Time to Visit

Tracking chimpanzees is considerably easier at the tail end of the Dry season (from July to October). This is when the animals favor the lower slopes of the mountains, and the forest tracks are firm underfoot. In the wetter months, the chimps are harder to find. That said, brimming waterfalls and an explosion of butterflies make an exploration at this time worthwhile.

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