Mahale Mountains National Park
Mahale, located in the extreme west of the country on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and home to the greatest chimp-watching in Africa, would stake its claim as one of the continent’s most outstanding and distinctive safari sites.
When you’ve been in the industry as long as we have, there are just a few spots in Africa that we would consider among the top safaris on the continent. Schoeman’s Skeleton Coast Safaris, Serra, Cafema, Chiawa and Old Mondoro in the Lower Zambezi, Mwaleshi and Kutandala in North Luangwa… and Greystoke Mahale in Tanzania are among them.
This secluded National Park also features one of the most gorgeous camps anywhere in Africa and offers a Tanzania safari experience to take your breath away. Not simply a chimpanzee destination, Mahale boasts an astonishingly wonderful beach with crystal clear seas; and the park itself has a reasonable claim to be one of the most intriguing sites in Africa.
We have never had a client not notice the chimps at Mahale. Depending on the time of year that you go through, hiking for the chimps might take between one hour to the remainder of a difficult day! The later you go in the season the easier the viewing is, as the chimpanzees migrate down the hillsides in quest of food. August through October is the finest and easiest time of year to observe them. Obviously, though, chimps have thoughts of their own; any estimations for how long the treks take are simply that.
What is clear is that you are only granted one hour with the chimps when you discover them. Chimps are a major attraction, but there are many other smaller monkey species to view, birdwatching is extremely good and the hippos and crocodiles are constantly around! Leopards regularly come and visit but you are lucky to obtain a sighting.
The major draw of Mahale is chimp trekking, but the park has so much more to offer. It’s a breathtakingly gorgeous and very secluded spot. Just being here and strolling along Tanganyika’s beach is breathtaking. You may kayak, snorkel, or fish in the lake, spend hours roaming through the jungle finding other smaller primates and birds, or climb via tiny pathways to discover secret waterfalls.
The lengthy dry season from July to late October is the best time to visit Mahale. Chimpanzees can be seen at different seasons of the year, however, it may need a little more trekking.
During the dry season, it is highly recommended to combine Greystoke Mahale with Katavi. This is another beautiful National Park in Western Tanzania, with larger herds of elephants and buffalo than those found in Ruaha.
The allure of visiting Western Tanzania is its isolation, and such an isolated African safari is difficult to find anyplace on the continent. Access to Mahale is not as regular as it is to the Selous, the Ngorongoro Crater, or the Serengeti, and flights from Arusha and Ruaha to Mahale do not leave every day.
You’ve already invested the time and money to go to Mahale, so you may as well stay at the best – Nomad’s Greystoke. Mahale is famed for its setting as well as the barefoot luxury it provides. The Nkungwe Lodge, a little farther up the shore, is another alternative that we periodically offer. Nkungwe is a cheaper choice, and while it lacks Greystoke’s wow factor, it has undoubtedly improved in recent years. If Greystoke is too far away, this is a decent backup option.