More than 350 bird species have been recorded in Mahale Mountains so far, but this is expected to only be 80% of all species present. Most of them are forest birds, which are quite difficult to spot. Some of the more conspicuous birds to look out for are giant kingfisher, crested guineafowl and Ross's turaco. Migratory birds are present from November to April. In general, birdlife is plentiful year-round, but the best time for birding is from November to April. During these months, you can see resident birds in their breeding plumage, as well as migratory birds from northern Africa and Europe. From March to April, the rains can make birding difficult because forest trails become slippery. Chimp trekking is better in the Dry season, from May to October, since they are easier to find.
Mahale Mountains National Park
The remote and magnificent Mahale Mountains National Park is situated 300km down the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika and is the home to the world's largest known population of chimpanzees; without a doubt one of the most beautiful national parks in Tanzania. Mahale Mountains National Park is only accessible via fly-in safari or private motor boat. The remoteness of this park is the very reason the chimpanzee population is still so unaffected by human familiarity. Most guests will see the chimpanzees at least once in a 3-4 day stay; however, sightings cannot always be guaranteed. Whilst chimps could be right behind the camp one day, the next they could be high in the mountains. This is a unique landscape whereby the mountainous land is covered in rainforest right up until the beach front. Accommodations are located on these secluded beaches and are a mere walking distance from the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika.
Over 60 chimps live in the Mahale Mountains and have become habituated to human presence over 2 decades of contact. There is also the opportunity to observe leopard, bushbuck, bush pig and a multitude of birds and butterflies. The forest itself is unique in that is houses 8 other species of primate, shyer forest mammals, birds, butterflies, giant vines and waterfalls. There is the opportunity to explore the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika, which is said to contain about 1000 different species of fish, including 250 species of cichlid (colourful tropical fish). This enormous lake is suitable for fishing, snorkelling and kayaking, activities which are offered at the various accommodations. Tracking the primates is the most sought after activity at Mahale, particularly the endangered chimpanzee. A trek through the rainforest takes guests to Mahale's chimpanzees. Guests can sit quietly and watch the chimps go about their daily lives; grooming, wrestling, bickering, foraging and mothering.