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Mahale Mountains National Park is part of Tanzania’s Southwest Circuit (along with Selous, Ruaha, and Katavi) and we love it. On the shores of Lake Tanganyika in Western Tanzania, Mahale is over 1,000 square miles of roadless, rugged, and mountainous land. The park is home to 82 species of mammals, 355 species of birds, and 9 species of primates that most famously include the largest remaining chimp population in the world. Most visitors to Mahale make sure to pay visits to the habituated chimps where they can sit and really observe them in their natural habitat. Other activities available in the park include hiking through the forest, swimming in waterfalls and natural mountain pools, fishing on dhows in Lake Tanganyika, and sailing across the crystal clear lake to view the hippos bounding along the lake’s floor below the boat. The only property that we use in Mahale is Greystoke Mahale, located at the foot of the mountains and on the shore of the lake.

Mahale Mountains National Park offers some really amazing experiences. But like Katavi, Mahale is incredible remote and difficult to access. This makes it expensive and probably less appealing to a first-time safari-goer who is looking for a classic Tanzanian safari experience with game drives in the Serengeti.

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Jamie Mehrotra