Mahale Mountains National Park is home to one of Africa’s most studied chimpanzee populations.
As well as being famous for containing some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa, the Mahale Mountains National Park was ‘born’ 1985, and covers an area of 1 613 km² . Beautiful and remote the park is often overlooked by visitors, but is unique as it offer visitors the chance to walk and explore the rugged terrain on foot. The park is also a must for visitors interested in birds, reptiles and fish.
Best time to go:
The dry season (mid-May to mid-October) is the best period in which to visit the park. During this period, chimpanzees are likely to be seen in big groups, the sunshine illuminates the fish in the Lake and the beach is an inviting place to relax. However, Mahale Mountains National Park is accessible all year round. A visit in the rainy season can also be a memorable experience, made remarkable by views of Congo across the water, and by incredible lightning storms that light up the lake at night.
Chimp Code of Conduct:
Please bare in mind these simple rules if considering trekking to see the Chimps.
- Maintain a distance of at least 10 metres from the chimpanzees at all times. This minimizes the risk of you transmitting bacteria and viruses to them.
- Do not eat or drink while you are near the chimpanzees - move at least 250m away first.
- Do not leave personal belongings on the ground as chimps are curious animals and your belongings can transmit disease. If you need help in carrying bags, your guide will be happy to assist you.
- Do not leave any rubbish behind. It can be harmful to all kinds of wildlife and it can transmit diseases to the chimps.
- If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze when you are near the chimps, please cover your nose and mouth to reduce the spread of germs.
- Try not to go to the toilet in the forest. If it is unavoidable, move at least 250m from the chimps and ask your guide to dig a deep hole.
- You are not allowed to visit the chimps if you are sick or have an infectious disease. Please seek advice from your camp managers.
- No person under the age of 12 is permitted to visit the chimps. This is for their own safety and because young people are more likely to transmit infectious diseases.
- No more than 6 visitors (plus one guide) are permitted close to the chimps at any one time. If another group is with the chimps when you arrive, please wait at a spot chosen by your guide, at least 250m away from the animals.
- Maximum viewing time is one hour. If the chimps are moving and viewing is interrupted, your time will be paused until they have been relocated, but tracking is not permitted for longer than 3 hours after the initial chimp sighting, even if the one-hour total has not been reached. This is to minimize disturbance to the animals and to the forest.