User Reviews – Mahale Mountains NP
Email Rudiger Schultz | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
The Park is excellent as is its wildlife and nature. The standard accommodation there is not overwhelming but all in all I rate the price-quality-relation as satisfying.
Email John Q | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Although when we did a one day hike the Kilimanjaro clouded over we enjoyed the plant and animal life so much. We did get clear views before and after our hike.
Email Eleanore Avery | 65+ years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Lovely camp setting on Lake Tanganyika. I did NOT so much enjoy vicious Chimpanzees.
Trekking terrain can be very difficult for a senior :)
50-65 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
Mahale is a very good park to see the chimpanzee. Lake Tanganyika is very good for fishing and sunsets. In the lake live a lot of endemic cichlids.
35-50 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
very difficult to see the wildlife here
Mahale is a unique safari destination
There are no driving safaris in Mahale. You are on lake Tanganyika on one end and a very dense forest on the other. Viewing the chimps requires hiking to find them. Some of the hikes can be difficult, so you should be in good enough physical condition for the hiking. You cannot hike deeply within the park without a park ranger and guide. When not hiking, you can sit on the beach, kayak, snorkel, bird, and or relax.
Tanganyika is famous for its chiclids, so grab mask and snorkel and see them! The water is nice and calm.
Other than the Chimps, there are not a lot of large mammals to be seen. There are other monkeys in the forest and you may see an occasional hippo in the water, but that's about it. If you want to see the big 5, this is not the place. You can combine Mahale with another park to see the big 5 and to make a more complete Safari experience. For chimps in the wild, Mahale is amazing.
Nice if you love Chimps and Jane Goodall and I do!Greystoke Mahale look for them they also do KataviFly but it will coast you like a charter!
A little too close to Arusha to really feel like you're on safari, but decent viewing and scenery
Discover the chimps!
Mahale Mountains NP is not your average african safari destination: it is remote, wild, and does not bear the usual african wildlife. The main purpose for us to go to Mahale was to see the Lake Tanganyka, and to meet with the chimps. We were not disappointed. Landscape were totally amazing and different, with beautiful beaches along the lake and steep hills just behind.
And we got to see chimps all three days we went into the bush. When looking at a chimp, you are not merely looking at a wild animal. You feel that they are looking back, that something more than just animal instinct is happening inside their brains. Amazing experience!
We did get to see also some hippos, swimming in the lake (in clean water for a change...), and with a little luck we could have seen crocodiles swimming the lake as well. We also spotted baboons on a regular basis, and a few wild boars.
Go, you will not be disappointed!
Email Jussi Mononen | 35-50 years of age
A hidden treasure in deepest Africa
Mahale is a special place. Very special.
The bad news first: it is hard to get there and it is expensive. It is also not well suited for people who cannot or are not comfortable with a fair bit of scrambling along steep and slippery paths.
But the good news is that you have never seen a place like it. First you have Lake Tanganyika, then a small strip of white sand, and then, steeply rising mountains covered with dense and lush rain forest.
The fabulous scenery alone would make Mahale special. But we have not introduced the main attraction yet. Mahale is home to the world's largest habituated chimp population - the M Group alone is about 60 chimps strong.
And don't understand the word habituated wrong; the Mahale chimps are not tame in any sense of the word: they are wild creatures but they just don't mind people. We are part of the scenery for them. We get the privilege of observing them from up close and learning about the chimps, and, in the process, about ourselves. It is impossible not to feel a close kinship with the chimps – and one does get the feeling that there is something of a similar recognition in them, as well.
A bit about the practicalities. We flew in from Dar es Salaam with a scheduled Air Precision flight to Kigali where a four-seater Cessna met us and flew us to a tiny airstrip a little outside of the park. There we were met by Greystoke Mahale (our camp) staff with boats. The weather being rather windy, the boat ride was a 45 minute thrill ride with plenty of water sprays and liver-banging jumps and bumps.
The camp itself consisted of 7 separate bandas built from driftwood and other recycled local materials. The bandas were quite private and very comfy. There was no electricity apart from small night lights powered by a generator. Our banda was perhaps 40 yards from the lake shore and had (as did all the others, I would imagine) an unobstructed view of the lake and the beach. The banda featured a porch, a very large and comfy bed, a dressing area, and an open air toilet and shower. The banda also had a small attic with lounge chairs that one could slumber in and watch the lake from.
Meals were mainly served in a central building that was a good-sized thatch and timber affair. Food was aplenty and easily on par with any other luxury bush lodge. The dinners were mainly memorable for the eclectic mixture of people and their tales from the bush (and urban jungles) from all over the world. Mahale being remote and expensive, there appear to be few bush dilettantes there - we had a lively mix of people from South Africa, Australia, UK, France, the US, and Finland (us being of northern persuasion).
The hosts at the time, Ed and Annabel, were a delight. Annabel was a UK-born ex radio journalist who had spent a long time making radio programmes in e.g. Uganda. She kept the camp running and had a vast practical knowledge about Sub-Saharan Africa. Ed was the son of a famous local artist who was an unending source of tales and anecdotes and wit - the sort of eccentric Englishman one migh have encountered in books about the bush.
The guides Raphael and were a fabulous bunch of guys. Young Tanzanian guys mainly in their 20's. They were expert, fun, inquisitive, and relaxed. They led us through the forest after the chimps (with able assistance from the park staff), took us on snorkelling trips, fished with us, played soccer with us, and even painted with us.
We staid a full week at Mahale and felt it was not one second too long. While chimp observation is the obvious main attraction of Mahale, Greystoke is also magical in many other respects and should be high on the list of anyone wishing to see some of the best things Africa has to offer in a lovely setting and amidst plenty of bush comfort.