Made officially a National Park in 1985 with a coverage of 1613km.sq, Mahale National Park is located 128km south of Kigoma Town on the shores of the deepest lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika and a part of the lake forms this park.
Mahale is the traditional home for Watongwe and Waholoholo tribes and in 1965 researchers from Japan established a research camp named Kansyana for habituating chimpanzees. The park is chiefly dominated by Mahale mountains chain that runs from Northwest to southeast across the park with the highest point being Mt. Nkungwe with 2462m above the sea level.
- Walking safaris in the beautiful, lowland forest allow close encounters with a vast array of birds and animals, including a group of habituated chimpanzees. The opportunity to track chimps in their natural habitat is Mahale’s foremost tourist attraction.
- An ascent of the highest peak in the Mahale Mountains ridge, Mt. Nkungwe, is one of the most spectacular activities available to tourists. It takes 2-3 days to reach the summit, and the best time for climbing is during the dry season (May – October). Whilst camping on the mountain at night, it is often possible to see the spectacle of ‘fishing fire’, as the kerosene lamps carried by small fishing boats light up across the Lake.
- Lake Tanganyika contains more than 250 species of fish found nowhere else on Earth, many of which can be viewed by snorkeling in the shallows along Mahale’s shoreline.
- Long walking trips can be arranged for viewing big game such as lion, elephant, hippo, buffalo, giraffe and leopard. These safaris may require up to 7 days.
- Sport fishing on the fresh waters of Lake Tanganyika is possible under special licenses available to visitors.