Mahale Mountains National Park, located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, is about as far West as you can go in Tanzania. It is home to the most incredible Chimpanzee trekking experience on the continent. Thick tropical forest runs all the way down to fine sandy beaches, with no roads or vehicles in sight. Arriving by boat you step into one of Africa’s most pristine wilderness areas, and one of very few that is accessible without being a world class adventurer.
As part of a “Western Circuit” with Katavi National Park Mahale Mountains receives very few visitors each year. It is the perfect place for those that are looking to get off the beaten track or for those that have been on a number safaris already and want to try something new and very different but have been “bitten by the Africa bug”. On the flight in you will see nothing but the occasional tiny village and the odd fishing dhow, the isolation of the local communities is something that is quite hard to comprehend coming from our modern lives.
If you decide not to trek the chimps on one day this is a perfect place to simply unwind, there are waterfalls that you can walk to, quietly keeping an eye out for all the other wild inhabitants of the surrounding bush, take an afternoon dhow cruise or take a kayak out into the lake for a paddle. Alternatively just sit on the beach and read a book!
Mahale Mountains National Park is easiest accessed by light aircraft from Arusha in Northern Tanzania, taking around 3 hours to reach the nearest airstrip, followed by a boat transfer of around 2 hours in a traditional dhow. Flights depart twice a week and due to flight times require a night in Arusha.