Famous for containing some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa, the Mahale mountains national park was gazetted in 1985,covers an area of 1613 km² and is located about 128 km south of kigoma town on the eastern shores of lake Tanganyika. The western boundary of the park protects an adjacent 1.6 km widestrip of lake tanganyika’s waters.
The land in and around Mahale is the traditional homeland of the watongwe and waholoholo tribes.
The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly, and is dominated by the Mahalemountains chain that runs from the northwest to the southeast across the park.The highest peak (mount nkungwe) rises to 2462 m above sea level.
The lake shore here is a beach of the finest powder-white sand,behind which rises a range of imposing mountains, clad in verdant tropical vegetation. Big electric-blue butterflies flit above the streams and the forest is alive with sound. It’s not only beautiful, but it also harbours Tanzania’s densest population of primates: yellow baboon, red columbus, blue, red-tailed and vervet monkeys are never far away – and then, of course, there are the chimpanzees.