Here, deep in the heart of Africa, in a place accessible only by boat, you will find some of Africa’s last remaining wild chimpanzees. Around 1,000 live here, habituated to humans allowing for some face-to-face encounters. Just over 60 of them belong to the M-Group, led by Alpha male, Alofu, who are happy to be observed at close quarters. Hikes to find them can range from a 20-minute relaxed stroll to a strenuous 3-hour hike, but the result is worth it either way. Watching these cheeky chimps go about their daily business, fighting, grooming and caring for their young is absolutely unforgettable. We recommend you spend at least two days here, giving you time for some good sightings. At the end of the dry season, they tend to stay closer to the shores of the lake, and the terrain is less slippery, so tracking can be much easier.
After spending some time in the forests with the primates, there is nothing like relaxing on the pristine sands of the beach or snorkelling the waters where you will find hundreds of vibrantly coloured species of cichlids. It is possible to climb the highest peak in the range, Nkungwe (2,462 metres) if you have more than a few days.
Mahale Mountains National Park has the highest density of primates of any park in Africa, with colobus, red and vervet monkeys, as well as yellow baboons.