GUIDE ON MBALI MBALI MAHALE LODGE IN MAHALE
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Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge is situated in the forest fringe facing onto the white sands of the coast of Lake Tanganyika, below the skyline of Mahale Mountains National Park, sheltered by its 8,000 foot escarpment. Beyond the bluish crystal waters of the lake loom the aloof wild mountains of the Congo. It is a perfect place to combine a wilderness and lake beach holiday in Africa. Mahale Mountains National Park is the special habitat of 800 wild chimps roaming the steep hillsides and tropical forests.
This is the largest concentration of wild chimpanzees surviving in Africa. But one troop of around 60 individuals is tamer, having been subtly familiar to human presence by a team of 1965 Japanese researchers led by the late Dr. Toshisada, to such an extent that the curious ones will descend close to the shores for greater foraging access but also to get a phlegmatic peek of human activities at the camp in reciprocity of them tracking us – the complex homo sapiens.
This makes it an ideal primate trailing destination for a chimpanzee tour in Tanzania. For years, observers from Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge (formerly known as Nkungwe Luxury Tented Camp) and other African primate safari accommodations have visited the chimps daily, when they could find them, to observe their behavior for an hour, getting to know them as a family and a community.
Great care is taken not to disturb or infect the delightful animals, and AfricanMecca guests are briefed on all the chimp viewing etiquettes and park rules. The lodge is a challenge to access (view map of Mahale Mountains), best by light aircraft from Arusha, taking three hours or more to Mahale Airstrip and thence by boat along the lake shore for an hour and a half.
Accommodation At Mbali Mbali Mahale LodgeThere are 10 tented chalets embedded in the undergrowth along the lake shore, with breath-taking views over the idyllic beaches, ancient lake and monolithic mountains that form the end of the Great African Rift Valley. The enclosed canvas walls form hybrid suites built on permanent, solid, raised hardwood decking with thatched roofs (read more on where else to stay in Mahale National Park).
En-suite bathrooms feature a fitted cabinet with wash basin, a shower, hot and cold water and a flushing toilet. Running water is from the lake. Bottled drinking water is provided with towels, bathrobes and complimentary toiletries. The well-maintained, clean and airy rooms give the impression of a fifties film --African Queen, so that one almost expects to see Katherine Hepburn turning from the dressing table and Humphrey Bogart lounging on a safari chair on the private patio, drink beside him on a small table.
Seven of the tents have double beds, two feature twin beds, and one is a small family tent for 3 people. An extra tent is available for an accompanying escort AfricanMecca guide. Four-poster beds enclosed by mosquito nets continue the theme of coastal simplicity, but anachronistically and conveniently, power points for battery charging and 24-hour electric lighting are available as well as internet and emergency radio communications, but no mobile phone coverage.
There is a laundry service, but no child minders. Children under 12 years are not allowed on a chimpanzee tracking safari at Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge, and the lodge is also not suitable for less able guests on a chimp safari visit in Mahale.
Safari At Mbali Mbali Mahale LodgeThe main attraction on this primate tour in Africa is a trek in the Mahale Mountains to find a troupe of chimpanzees. This is not a 100% guaranteed event on every hike expedition as the chimps range widely in search of food and may be found in half an hour, or after an exhilarating five hour route march or conceivably not at all – multi-days stay is highly recommended.
We are talking wild animals, not zoo pets, and the best guides are not miracle workers although they know and love the animals under their protection, which are easier and quicker to find from May to early October in the dry, when they stay on the lower slopes and even visit the shore. Having found them, you may watch for one hour from a distance of no less than 10 meters, as unobtrusively as possible, wearing masks provided by the lodge to prevent passing on human infections to which the chimps are vulnerable.
It is charming to watch them playing, posturing and tentatively using tools, but you might witness less attractive behavior: beating up a rival; or chasing and even killing a Colobus monkey for food (read more on when is the best time to visit Mahale). These “mock men”, as the natives named them, are thought-provokingly similar to us humans. Only one chimp safari is permitted each day, so the afternoon is chill out time.
AfricanMecca guests can opt to fish for dinner, book a speedboat for a lake cruise, take on forest walks for birds and butterflies exploration search, paddle a kayak, swim or snorkel upon recommendation from the lodge, or simply relax in the sun on a blissful tropical lake beach or tamely remain indoors to play board games.
Dining At Mbali Mbali Mahale LodgeAs you might expect, the dining standards at Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge are high, but limited by the necessity to transport everything over vast distances at great expense. Special diets can be arranged by prior notice via your AfricanMecca primate planner. Morning coffee or herbal tea is brought to your verandah. Breakfast, a buffet meal of cereals, fruit, yoghurt, muffins and cooked food to order are served before you set off on your chimpanzee safari trek in this part of western Tanzania.
You may take a packed trek snack, but be careful not to eat within 250 meters of the chimps – park rules. Because of the uncertain timing of your return, lunch is also a buffet meal of newly baked bread, fresh salads, hot or cold main dish and a delicious dessert. The afternoon can be spent on the beach, returning for pre-dinner snacks and sundowner drinks in the mess, on the beach, or around a campfire, getting to know, concurring people who have taken the same chance to quest travel in Africa to this inaccessible and little known paradise.
A set dinner menu of starter, main course and a sweet ender, with South African wines served in the mess, or a romantic beach barbecue by candle light, makes you especially aware of your setting beside one of the most beautiful lakes in Africa - Tanganyika, under a star-rich sky, serenaded by crickets, night-birds and the many unidentified noises of the Tanzanian night.
|1. Mahale Chimpanzee Safari Park Guide||2. Best Time & Weather To Visit Mahale For Chimpanzee Safari|
|3. Mahale Map||4. Safari Lodges, Camps & Hotels In Mahale|
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ZANZIBAR ISLAND & BEACH GUIDE
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What are our Customers saying about us? READ MORE 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
EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR MBALI MBALI MAHALE LODGE IN MAHALE TANZANIA
When staying at Mbali Mbali Mahale Lodge 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 Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha or Katavi.
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