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Are You Planning An African Safari To Mahale In Tanzania? Scroll Down..


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Mahale Mango Bandas is a low cost hostel-like accommodation particularly suitable for students and backpackers on a primate tour to Tanzania. Mahale Mountains National Park is home to over 800 wild chimpanzees and eight other primate species from bush babies to baboons as well as to a troop of around sixty chimps who are imperceptibly adapted to human beings, having been the subject of a Japanese research team in Mahale led by the late Dr. Toshisada in the 1960’s. TANAPA, the Tanzanian National Park Authority, manages the bandas which is far more basic than private camps and lodges offered by AfricanMecca in the area, but offers slightly better facilities than many other national park bandas since its renovation in the year 2000 but much due now. In general, Mahale Mountains Park is an expensive African travel option by reason of its inaccessibility. There are no internal roads and all necessities must be brought in by light aircraft or by boat. There are weekly shared charter flights to an airstrip linking with a ferry at Mahale, and a twice monthly ferry taking 9-10 hours from Kigoma, which must be met by a smaller boat at Lagosa Point to take passengers and goods the last 30 minute journey to land. By road, a two hour trip from Kigoma links with a speed boat or wooden ferry for a further four hour cruise by arrangement with the park authorities before you can begin your chimp trek tour in Mahale. All these arrangements are difficult and time–consuming, undertaken at the traveler’s own risk.

Accommodation At Mahale Mango Bandas

Mango Bandas is actually sited at Mahale National Park headquarters, where 8 self-contained, solidly constructed bandas have concrete-floored front porches shaded by a continuation of the weather-proof sheet roofing supported on metal poles have been reserved for backpacker visitors on a chimpanzee tour. It is also known as Mango House (more like hostel!) under the official TANAPA banner. The bandas, double-fronted concrete block buildings with barred windows, consist of two rooms with twin beds, basic bed linens and an en-suite bathroom. There are closeable, wood-framed windows, individual mosquito nets and electric lights. Bathrooms contain a sink with cold running lake water, a murky flush toilet, and a bush shower, for which hot water can be supplied by arrangement with the management. Large, circular wall mirrors add a convenient touch. Set amongst tropical rain forest and connected by paved paths, in all, the eight bandas provide overnight lodgings for a maximum of twenty guests on your primate holiday in Africa, who are advised to book in advance to be sure of the availability of rooms though allocations are also known to be provided on arrival on a first come first basis subject to availability. Since renovation and AfricanMecca last visit to the bandas, a surprisingly light and airy shared dining room has been provided with wooden tables and chairs, a television and stacked plastic chairs for lounge use. The Mango Bandas option poses many problems for even the independent and seriously self-confident traveler. Because of inevitable logistical problems and the uncertainty involved, it is not recommended for a chimpanzee safari in western Tanzania, to any but the most intrepid and highly experienced voyager with no time constraints (read more on where else to stay in Mahale Park on your East African safari).

Safari At Mahale Mango Bandas

A trek to watch the chimps from Mahale Mango bandas is the focus of your Tanzania primate safari to Africa. When you set out with a guide in the morning to the slopes of the Mahale Mountains, it may take less than an hour or several hours to home in on the ‘M’ troop, a band of some 60 well- known characters, from the patriarchal elder of more than 50 years to the newest babies firmly gripped to their mother’s waists. The first warning of their proximity is a chorus of ‘pant-hoots’, excited communications of danger or interest that echo through the forest canopy. Then you may see the youngsters swinging through the tree branches, or the females grooming each other as they rest against tree boles. You may even witness a confrontation between an alpha male and a rival challenger, or a concerted hunt by up to 15 individuals in pursuit of a Colobus monkey for the carnivorous part of their diet. You are only allowed to watch for an hour after making contact, observing strict rules, and wearing preferable masks covering your nose and mouth to prevent infecting the chimps with human germs. In the afternoon, swim or snorkel in the absence of crocodiles or hippos, doze on the beach, take a boat trip on the lake to fish or visit a lake-side village, then enjoy on-board sundowners or a beach grill as the day on your dream chimpanzee viewing vacation to Tanzania with AfricanMecca draws to its spectacular close (read more on when is the best time to visit Mahale for an off-beat African safari).

Dining At Mahale Mango Bandas

There are shared kitchen facilities for guests prepared to cater for themselves on their Mahale Mango Bandas chimpanzee safari. AfricanMecca proposes that in order to avoid carrying one’s own cooking utensils and food supplies on the complex journey to Mahale, as well as to surmount the problems of food storage, it may be possible to hire a local cook from Kigoma town who will arrange this for you. However, you must be prepared to eat simply, using local produce in typically Tanzanian native dishes, such as Ugali, (a semolina-like dish of cornmeal served with a relish of boiled spinach leaves, beans, fish, goat meat, onion or tomato based salsa). Traditionally, this is usually served in one large bowl passed around a low table. A portion of the thick semi-solid porridge is taken with the right hand, dipped into the relish, and eaten as the bowl continues its circuit round and round the diners. Fruit is the usual dessert. Breakfast is typically tea and fresh baked flat bread. Various fried pastry packages filled with rice, vegetables and spices, such as samosas, are available to pack for a trip in Mahale. Fish and shellfish are available from the Tanganyika lake, and bottled beers may also be obtained. Bottled water is highly recommended. Fluffy boiled cassava, plantains, and boiled peanuts in their shells are also common as are fused soups or stews of green peppers, coconut milk with sweet potatoes, onion, tomato and curry spices.

Related Pages

1. Mahale Chimpanzee Safari Park Guide2. Best Time & Weather To Visit Mahale For Chimpanzee Safari
3. Mahale Map4. Safari Lodges, Camps & Hotels In Mahale

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What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE REVIEWSfive star africanmecca safaris reviews

  • I had a wonderful time in Tanzania and Kenya and feel that you fulfilled all that you promised me. My expectations for Chimpanzee trekking safari in Mahale Mountains of the trip were high, and I was not disappointed.
    Gary Hoffman - New South Wales, Australia
  • Congratulations, the organisation by AfricanMecca was perfect. As to Mahale we spent 4 memorable days in that beautiful scenery, with plenty of Chimp viewing, a lovable crew and good food. Thanks once again for the top service.
    Danielle and Walter Rohrer - Hoerhausen, Switzerland
  • Dear Raza, We want to thank all the AfricanMecca team and the people who had made possible such an unforgettable honeymoon. Thanks to Nkungwe Beach Lodge (a paradise on earth) for all their attentions in such a remote and beautiful spot.
    Toni & Raquel Salat - Barcelona, Spain
  • I recently returned from a trip to Tanzania with a party of eleven people (Canisius College school group) visiting remote Chimpanzee and Wildlife in Gombe, Mahale, Selous. I am pleased to report that I was entirely satisfied in every respect.
    Dr. Michael Noonan - Professor At Canisius College - New York, United States
  • We saw more than 20 chimpanzees including chimps I've read about -- Freud, Faustino, Wilkie... so amazing. We had an absolutely amazing trip in Arusha, Serengeti and Gombe - everything went smooth as silk. Thank you so much Raza
    Tiffany Heitz & Lesley Smith - California, United States
  • We had a wonderful time on our chimpanzee safari in Mahale Mountains National Park. The services were outstanding. The guides were knowledgeable and led us to several very nice viewing opportunities. Asante sana.
    Dave and Sara Howe - Washington, United States
  • I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
    Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom


When staying at Mahale Mango Bandas in Mahale Mountains National Park, we recommend combining it with your Northern Tanzania safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (wildebeest migration). End your trip with a Swahili cultural tour and beach holiday in Zanzibar.

You may optionally extend out to offbeat parks in Southern and Western Tanzania such as Selous, Ruaha or Katavi.



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