Western Tanzania Safari; Undiscovered Mahale
In the west of the country, fringing the eastern shores of ancient Lake Tanganyika, Mahale Mountains National Park is a remote wilderness deep in the heart of jungle clad Africa, a hidden paradise perfect for the unconventional Tanzania safari. Established as a national park in 1985, Mahale is 1,613 sq km of stunning scenery cloaked in an air of mysticism, offering African exploration at its best. Running southeasterly through the park, the Mahale Mountain range is the predominant feature, reaching its peak at Mount Nkungwe, 2,462 meters above sea level. The variant altitudes are the breeding ground for a wealth of plant habitats and, subsequently, a wonderful array of wildlife to be found in no other form of Tanzania safari. Most famously, Mahale is home to one of the last remaining chimpanzee populations in Africa.
The Mammals of Mahale
The diverse habitats found within its borders make Mahale home to an unusual array of mammals, the combination of which is found in no other Tanzania safari park. The presence of Lake Tanganyika, the worlds second deepest lake, and the Mahale Mountain range, results in a variety of climatic conditions suitable for such a range of species. Whilst sightings of such creatures are rare, lion, giraffe and elephant reside on the eastern side of the mountain range, whilst a wealth of antelope species make their home in the sweeping miombo woodlands. The parks tropical climbs play host to its high concentration of chimpanzee, making Mahale a stronghold for scientific primate study. Researchers have observed the estimated 1,000 chimps, alongside 8 other primate species, since 1965. The continued existence of such numbers makes chimpanzee tracking Mahale’s major Tanzania safari activity. Vervet monkey, yellow baboon and red Colobus are among the other primates thriving in their natural environment, as well as the Angolan black and white Colobus, a species endemic to the area.
Tanzania Safari Activities in the West
Accessible only by air or boat, Mahale houses no form of internal road system, making it one of the few parks in which exploration is done on foot, providing a Tanzania safari that harks back to the earliest days of African exploration. Copious flora and fauna await to be discovered as the parks 355 bird species provide a soundtrack to the expedition. Mount Nkungwe is available to ascend for the more adventurous, whilst Lake Tanganyika, with its some 250 species of fish, holds a snorkeling paradise in the shallows off its white sandy shores. The neighboring towns of Kigoma and Ujiji offer a cultural snapshot of the region, with Kigoma acting as its economic hub and historical Ujiji preserving remnants of the areas once German colonial rule. Remaining somewhat of a hidden gem, the western region holds promise for an awe inspiring Tanzania safari.