Western Circuit

Mahale Mountains

Mahale Mountains, located in the far west of Tanzania, are the best place in all of Africa for chimpanzee tracking. They also happen to be in a stunning natural setting on the distant shores of Lake Tanganyika. Even better than tracking gorillas, this is unquestionably the pinnacle of primate experiences. Only a few extremely remote camps offer guest accommodations.



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mahale mountains

The best location in Africa to see chimpanzees in the wild is Mahale Mountains National Park in Western Tanzania. The interaction with the wildlife here, in our opinion, is the best anywhere in the world.

The second-deepest lake in the world is located in this stunningly remote and stunning national park, along with gorgeous forested mountains, wonderful white-sand beaches, and a truly remarkable lake.

The reserve receives incredibly few visitors as a result of its extreme isolation, which undoubtedly enhances the magic.

In addition to the amazing chimpanzee experience, the reserve is home to a few really great camps that provide other activities like sailing and kayaking.

Mahale Mountains is truly amazing, which is unusual for us to say about a place in such an uncontrollable manner. A trip here literally marks a turning point in one’s life.

“Unfortunately, adding the Mahale Mountains to a trip will unavoidably cost more money; just getting here will cost a lot of money. Additionally, chimp trekking requires a minimum age of 12 years old.

The reserve is typically visited in conjunction with either the Serengeti region’s northern reserves or Katavi, Ruaha, and Selous’ southern reserves.


Mahale Mountains is a stunning national park that is incredibly remote and large—it is roughly 1600 square kilometers.

The Mahale Mountains, which have several peaks higher than 2,000 meters, dominate the reserve, which is a pristine and utterly remote wilderness. These mountains’ forested flanks descend to breathtaking white-sand beaches lined with palm trees and a “gin clear” lake at their front.

Mahale’s beaches are spectacular, especially the ones on which the two main camps are situated. They outperform the majority of the beaches along the Indian Ocean in many ways. A freshwater lake’s sand is whiter than it typically is, and the scene’s background of tropical palm trees and deep forests is quite atmospheric.

The sense of adventure one experiences when visiting this reserve is significantly increased by its extreme isolation. It is truly extraordinary to fly in a small plane for three to four hours in a straight line from a location that already seemed quite remote, land at a remote lakeside airstrip, and then take a motorboat for another hour along this magical lake. Sitting on a beach and imagining the vast, prehistoric forests of the Congo on the opposite shore gives one the chills. It is utterly mesmerizing to be lying in bed at night and hear the legendary 800-ton steamship MV Liemba slowly making its way down the lake, as it has done for more than a century.


Even the most skeptic among us now acknowledges that this is quite literally a “life-punctuating” event. However, the chimp experience itself is difficult to describe.

An estimated 700 to 1000 chimpanzees, divided into ten or more family groups, live in the forests of the Mahale Mountains. Thanks to the long-term presence of a group of Japanese researchers from Kyoto University who have been working here since 1967, one of these groups has adapted to the presence of humans.

The camps offer guided hikes into the forest where visitors can look for these chimpanzees. On some days, this may entail a quick stroll around the perimeter of the camp to discover that you are surrounded, while on other days, it may entail arduous hiking along treacherous mountain trails while adhering to guidance radioed in by a group of trackers up ahead.

It is an amazing experience to see wild chimpanzees up close. It is frequently argued whether this or the gorilla encounters in Rwanda and Uganda are superior. Although gorillas are undoubtedly larger and more physically impressive than humans, aside from when a silverback is displaying, they are vegetarians and generally quite sedate.

In contrast, chimpanzees are omnivores who frequently move quickly through the forest while on a hunt. They also congregate at regular intervals to scream and shout in the most amazing ways with one another. Chasing them across the forest floor in an effort to catch up with them is certainly exciting, but the really interesting part is when you suddenly come around a corner and find yourself in a small clearing with chimps sitting around looking at you like you wandered into their party!

The Mahale Chimpanzee Experience is, in our opinion, the best, most engaging, and most memorable animal interaction in Africa. More so than tussling with a charging lion on foot, being cornered by a vengeful matriarch elephant, swimming with a 12-meter whale shark, or being encircled by enormous manta rays. In our opinion, Mahale consistently provides a chimp experience that surpasses all of that.

More so than gorillas and other apes, chimpanzees are our closest living relatives. We truly share common interests. However, there are only a few thousand chimpanzees thought to remain in the wild, compared to the seven billion people who currently inhabit the planet. Many of them reside in areas where their natural habitat is seriously endangered. The small populations that exist in protected areas like Mahale must be safeguarded and valued.

Our goal in all of Africa’s wild regions is to increase the money that sustainable low-impact tourism generates for safari companies and other conservation organizations. This goal is essential to Mahale. To secure this park’s future and, ideally, to see its range expanded in the future, we must continue to draw more visitors here. It really is a bonus that it also happens to be such a beautiful location. Therefore, if you ever have the opportunity, we urge you to visit Mahale. not just for the chimps, but also for yourself.

Mahale Tours

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We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on first-hand knowledge of the destination.

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