Mahale Mountains National Park can be found on one of the remote locations in western Tanzania and borders LakeTanganyika, the world's longest lake and second deepest. The Mahale National Park is described quite simply as one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in Africa. The lush rainforest covering their slopes is home to the world's largest known population of chimpanzees with around 800 chimpanzees living in the park. Visitors can approach them within a few feet and watch them as they carry on with their daily lives and this was made possible by Japanese researchers who habituated them to human visitors.
The forest is home to eight species of primates and is also inhabited by other animals such as the bushbuck, warthog, bushpig, brush-tailed porcupine, duikers, civit and genet cats. There is also a great variety of bird species and butterflies. The gin-clear water of the lake is inhabited by over 200 species of exotic tropical fish (unique chichlid fish) most of which are endemic, found only in Lake Tanganyika. Some of these fish are allowed to be collected by divers and exported.
The best time to visit Mahale is in the dry season between May and February, best for forest walks although no problem in the light rains of October to November.
Mahale Mountains can be reached by charter flight from Arusha, Dar or Kigoma. It is possible to charter private or national park motorboat from Kigoma and takes 3 to 4 hours. There is a weekly steamer from Kigoma which takes 7 hours, then hire a local fishing boat or arrange with park HQ for pickup in park boat, another 1 or 2 hours.