Well-known for being a habitat for some of the few remaining chimpanzees on the African continent, The Mahale Mountains National Park was declared a park in 1985. The park occupies an expanse of 1,613 sq. km and is situated approximately 128 kilometers south of the town of Kigoma along Lake Tanganyika’s eastern shore. The western edge of Mahale Park is an approximately 1.6 kilometer wide strip with waters of Lake Tanganyika.
The Mahale land and the surrounding area is the customary homeland of the Waholoholo plus Watongwe tribes. Back in 196, primate researchers from Japan started exploring the shore of the impressive Lake Tanganyika, just south of the town of Kigoma. These researchers later established their very first camp in the area – ‘Kansyana’ in 1965, and it was here that they started habituating chimpanzees in Mahale.
The landscape of Mahale is majorly rough and hilly, and much conquered by the chain of the Mahale Mountains that extends from the northwest crossing the park all the way to the southeast. Mount Nkungwe which is the highest peak rises to a height of 2,462 meters above sea level.
Mahale Mountains offers various exceptional attractions to its visitors among which is tracking the habituated chimpanzees, kayaking mountain climbing, unwinding on isolated, unspoiled, white sandy beaches, fishing, and snorkeling.
Enjoy walking safaris within the gorgeous, lowland forest to have close encounters with the great diversity of birds as well as animals, and not to forget the habituated chimpanzees. A chance to track the wild habituated chimpanzees in their very natural habitat is the primary tourist attraction in Mahale.
Hiking Mount Nkungwe which is the highest peak on the Mahale Mountains is a very spectacular adventure you can enjoy while in this park. It takes two to three days to make it to the peak. the most perfect time to go climbing is in the dry months between May and October. Fortunately, you can go camping up on the mountain in the night, and this will reward you with sights the stunning ‘fishing fire’, as the local fishermen lit kerosene lamps which they carry on their fishing boats and as a result they light up the Lake.
Lake Tanganyika supports over 250 fish species some of which cannot be found in other parts of the world. These are best seen by snorkeling in the not very deep waters along the shoreline of the lake.
Lengthy walking trips can today be organized for viewing the big mammals like lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hippos and buffaloes. These long walking safaris may take close to 7 days to completion.
Sport fishing is majorly done on the fresh water Lake Tanganyika red to persons with special licenses.
Cultural tourism adventures / activities including visits to the close by villages can at any time be organized. Kigoma town as well as the historical beautiful Ujiji town are worth visiting. Kigoma serves as the capital town of Kigoma District, as well as the economic hub of that region. The historical Ujiji town dates back to the old days of German colonial-rule in Tanganyika. Dr. Livingstone journeyed to Ujiji in the 19th century, a an effort to put an end to the then thriving slave trade in the area.