Tanzania > Mahale Mountains National Park (and Gombe Stream)


  • Hi Frances, everything was absolutely amazing. Our guides in both locations were absolutely marvellous! We managed to see the Big 5 all in one day in the Serengeti. Rad was even able to see his top thing – a river crossing. Thankfully the crocs were all asleep and a baby wildebeest was able to cross twice to find its mother without coming to harm. The accommodation that you helped Rad to finalise was beyond my wildest dreams. Especially Lemala Kuria Hills. The staff couldn’t have been more welcoming or attentive. So much so that I think Rad was a little depressed when we left them as he wanted to stay forever. Thankfully the staff at Baraza were also amazing and Rad quickly adjusted to a lifestyle of relaxing on the beach. I can honestly say I have never had the opportunity to swim in such warm water. Overall– it was a dream come true, and a real once in a lifetime experience for us! Thank you for all that you did.

    Kristin and Rad from Edinburgh travelled to Tanzania
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Mahale Mountains National Park (and Gombe Stream)

The Mahale Mountains rise to some 8000 ft above sea-level on the western edge of Tanzania along the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The predominant habitat in one of sub-tropical forest, which tumbles down the mountains to meet the lake. The forests are home to around 1000 chimpanzees – the main reason to visit – and nine other species of primate, including red colobus, red-tailed and blue monkeys. A family of around 60 chimpanzees have now been habituated by Japanese scientists who have researched the area for some 30 years. Walking through the forest (sometimes this can be difficult), you should get the opportunity to view these great apes as they go about their daily routine. Mahale is arguably the best place in Africa to view chimpanzees in the wild.

The lake provides an inland sea of tropical delight with over a fifth of the 1000 or so species of cyclid fish endemic. Snorkelling and swimming (though limited for safety reasons), fishing or simply relaxing on the beach are all part of a day in Mahale.

Access to the park is by boat (1 hour) from a small airstrip just outside the northern edge of the park, with scheduled air transfers from Arusha and Ruaha flying in twice a week.

Much further north on the lakeshore, north of the town of Kigoma, Gombe Stream also offers chimpanzee viewing in a similar, if a little less dramatic, setting. Gombe is reached by boat from Kigoma, which is serviced by scheduled flights. Gombe Stream has been made famous by researcher Jane Goodall, whose research centre continues today.

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