WPCS 2.1.3
WPCS 2.1.3

Chimpanzee Tracking in Mahale

What is this safari about?

Mahale Mountains National Park is set in the far western reaches of Tanzania, is remote, and hard to get too. And yet a trip to this secluded park is worth every bit of effort and cost, as it is the home to a population of nearly 1000 wild living Chimpanzee’s. Of these 1000 chimps, there is one famous community known as the M Group whom have been habituated by a team of Japanese researchers who have worked in the mountains for over 50 years. It is this community which guests have the opportunity to track and observe in the wild alongside expert guides in one of the most remote and scenic parks in Tanzania.

All of the resident chimp guides are experts and have had family members involved in the chimps since they were young. There is nothing they don’t know about the politics and individual characters of the entire community, which they really bring to life with their interpretations and strong passion for their survival.

Things you need to know:

Chimp trekking here is often a strenuous exercise as the chimps are free living and could be a few hours hike away from camp in the mountains. Their movements depend on the season, availability of food and group dynamics, so it is important to recognize this and be fit enough for the challenge and don’t forget to bring the necessary footwear for hiking.

Only one chimp trek takes place per day, normally in the mornings, and the time spent with the chimps is strictly limited to one hour, however the entire trek duration varies greatly. It is also important to note that group size is limited to 6 guests only. This means that it might not be possible to trek every day. However, over the period of stay (3-4 nights) guests will normally attempt at least 1 trek. Another point to consider is that; although the chances are very slim, it is possible to have an unsuccessful trek and not to see chimps, which is part of the reality when dealing with wild animals in the forest. This is however very unlikely and success rates are normally very good and guests typically see chimps once during their stay.

Aside from chimps, Mahale is also home to an abundance of other life including many other primate species! So, visit with chimps as the main priority, but don’t overlook the other hidden secrets of this remote wilderness.

Who can go?

  • Children 12 and above only
  • Participants must be fit for the hike and not displaying any signs of a cold or flu.

Why is this special?

  • Expert Chimp guides with local knowledge of the community.
  • Outstanding photographic opportunities.
  • Fascinating behaviour and interactions between chimps.
  • Beautiful scenery in a remote park.
  • Good exercise after many hours spent in a vehicle or airplane.

Where is this?

The Chimpanzee tracking in Mahale is best done from Greystoke Mahale which is a multi-award-winning lodge set right on the edge of the gorgeous Lake Tanganyika and the forest. The lodge sits right in the heart of the M Groups home range, from where they have even reported of seeing chimps on the beaches along the lake! We cannot recommend this lodge highly enough.

What should I expect to pay?

A stay at Greystoke Mahale is unfortunately not for the price sensitive, as it varies from USD$760 per person per night in the off season to USD$1435 in the high season. The remote location is only accessible via scheduled flight which also enforces a minimum of 3 or 4 nights depending on the schedule.

What Extensions do you recommend?

Greystoke Mahale pairs very well with sister camp Chada Katavi and the flight between camps is often free. Alternatively, a safari in northern Tanzania is always a great option.

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