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Overview

“The air is scented with jasmine, the forest rich, the water of the lake gin-clear and lightly chilled.” The Irish adventurer Roland Purcell put it lightly while describing this natural paradise at the heart of Africa.

Mahale Mountains National Park is a relatively unknown national park that lies in the far west of Tanzania. A true paradise that would definitely claim stake as one o the most exceptional and unique safari destinations on the continent, Mahale offers genuine tranquil experiences that very few destinations in Africa can match. From the clear waters of Lake Tanganyika that provide life for a wide variety of aquatic flora and fauna to the lush misty Mahale mountains that harbor around 600 chimps. One clan, the Mimikire clan, has been habituated by researchers since 1965. The chimps are free to move wherever and whenever they like but are relaxed around people, giving you the chance to observe these magnificent creatures up close. The park also harbors a large population of other primates like yellow baboon, red colobus monkey, blue, red tailed and vervet monkeys. This is probably the only national park in Tanzania where you get to swim, snorkel or dive after a long day of game tracking. Mahale will most certainly leave an imprint so genuinely unique that you will proudly hold dear for years to come. 

The Greater Mahale Ecosystem comprises the Mahale Mountains National Park and its surrounding natural habitat. The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly, and is dominated by the Mahale Mountains chain that runs 60km from the northwest to the southeast. The highest peak, Mount Nkungwe, rises to 2,462 meters above sea level. To the west of the Mahale Mountain ranges spreads out the Lake Tanganyika. Lake Tanganyika is the longest lake in the world at 673km, the second deepest with a depth of 570 meters, and second largest by volume at 18,900km3.


The park is dominated by mountains and forest with a high variety of plant species, an estimate of around 1,200 with the actual number estimated to be around 2,000. Varied in community types, the ecosystem is a balanced blend that comprises alpine bamboo forest, montane forest, gallery forest, brachystegia woodland, diplorhynchus-Pterocarpus woodland, uapaca woodland, acacia savanna, solid-stemmed bamboo savanna, terminalia savanna, protea-ricinodendron montane savanna, dombeya-erythrina montane savanna, montane bushland and grassland. Researches conducted on the chimpanzees of Mahale have confirmed that these primates utilize about 328 food items from over 198 of these plant species.


Mahale is a biogeographically interesting region; its fauna includes both savanna adapted species of east or south Africa and forest adapted species of western/central Africa or the Congo Basin. Of particular interest among mammals are the giant squirrel, red-legged sun squirrel, brush-tailed porcupine, blue deiker, bushy-tailed mongoose and Sharpe’s grysbok. Other mammals include the bush hyrax, Savannah Hares, warthogs, giant pangolins, bats, zebras, African civets, Roan antelopes, sables, klipspringers, waterbucks, buffalos, African Savannah elephants and hippopotamus.

If you listen carefully, there is almost always a sweet melodic chirping of birds. Mahale is sanctuary to more than 300 species of birds. Of keen interest are the beautiful kingfisher, storks, bamboo warbler, blue-cheeked bee-eater, crested guineafowl, crested malimbe, crowned eagle, the African fishing eagle, giant kingfisher, Livingstone’s turaco, palm nut vulture, Scaly spurfowl, trumpeter hornbill, Vieillot’s black weaver,  kungwe apalis and Ross’s turaco dot the canopy of Mahale breaking the monotony on the green spread.

Mahale is home to more than 8 species of primates. Some of these primates include; vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, red colobus, yellow baboon and red-tailed monkeys, but the chimpanzees are undoubtedly the main reason why most people visit Mahale. Japanese researchers from Kyoto University have been studying chimps at Mahale since 1965. By observing them in their natural habitat researchers have come to learn a great deal about their ecology, social structure and behavior. The chimps’ ability to use tools and medicinal plants has been the most outstanding discovery from the study since these are traits only attributed to humans. One particular clan that comprises 60 members has been literally habituated so one is able to get up close and observe these wonderful creatures.  


The climate in Mahale ranges from hot to humid mainly due to its proximity to the equator. The temperature at Mahale averagely ranges from15° C to 25°C. The park experiences dry and wet seasons throughout the year. The dry season runs from May to October while the wet season runs from November to April. Guests are encouraged to travel during the dry season mainly because it improves the chances of easier spotting of the primates in the park.


The experiences and adventures at Mahale are geared towards exclusivity and so the available lodges provide a high sense of luxury experiences to compliment the raw nature encompassing Mahale.


  • Chimpanzee tracking
  • Hiking at the Mahale mountains
  • Birding
  • Kayaking
  • Boating
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Deep water swimming


By Air: 

  • Flight time from / to Arusha Airport to / from Mahale airstrip: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Flight time from / to Dar es salaam Airport to / from Mahale airstrip: 4 hours



COVID – 19: Nisimulie Africa SOP’s

In light of the world opening up slowly amidst the current pandemic, we have been preparing to welcome tourists back to Tanzania by making changes to the way we provide our services. New SOPs are in place for every touch point and guest experience that characterizes your stay with us as your esteemed hosts. Our SOPs will be updated in line with the Government of Tanzania’s instructions to the tourism and hospitality industry. Our priority is to ensure that we provide the safest possible environment for our guests while providing top-notch safari experiences.

 

Standard Operating Procedures

1.     To keep social distancing, safari vehicles with 6-window seats will be redesigned to take only 4 people in the passenger cabin. Safari vehicles with 6-window seats will still be available for families wishing to travel together in one vehicle

2.   The driver-guide will be at hand to oversee guests observe the recommended physical distancing at park entry gates, museums, picnic sites, and while checking in at accommodation facilities.

3.   City transfer and safari vehicles will be regularly disinfected before picking up clients, especially the high-touch surfaces and seats

4.   Sanitizers (anti-microbial agents) will be provided in the vehicle for guests' use

5.   The driver-guide will take necessary personal protection precautions at all times. Guests are encouraged to come with their own masks; packaged masks will be available at an extra cost.

6.   Health condition of driver-guides will be monitored for not less than a week before being assigned to take clients on safari, including measuring body oxygen level (recommended 95% and above) and body temperature not exceeding 37.5 degrees centigrade.

7.   There will be three health centers dedicated to COVID-19 rapid response and support network; one center will be in Arusha town (Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre), one in Karatu near Ngorongoro, and the third in central Serengeti at Seronera. Ambulances will be on standby.

8.   For clients needing more medical attention, Nisimulie Africa Tours and Travel will arrange evacuation by Flying Doctors. The Flying Doctors package covers evacuation to a hospital in Nairobi. We can also arrange evacuation to Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a fine facility with high rate of recovery for COVID-19 patients. The evacuation to Dar es Salaam will involve some extra charges to be met by the patient. Clients are required to have medical insurance to cover hospitalization expenses. 

9.   The welcome briefing to guests will include details of our safety and hygiene measures in place and what is required of guests during their stay (including the use of masks and gloves and keeping safe distances from other guests).

10. Not limiting these procedures to ourselves, we work with other third-party suppliers who ensure and adhere to the set international standards of travel as defined by the Ministry of Tourism and WHO.

 

Game drives 

·      A maximum of four people will be permitted per vehicle with the exception of groups that   are travelling together.

·      Guides will wear face masks and gloves on arrival at the airstrip, when in the main area of the airstrip and when handling guests’ luggage.

·      Guests must also wear facemasks at the airstrip; however, this is optional while on the game drive.

·      Once the group has left the airstrip, the guide will remove the face mask and gloves to speak with guests, as the safety risk is greatly reduced outside of the airstrip.

·      Game drives will take place in safari vehicles, as usual, which will be disinfected after each game drive.

·      Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and guides and is to be used on arrival at the airstrip, on boarding the vehicle and throughout the game drive.

·      Guests are asked to sensibly practice social distancing throughout the game drive and if meals are served.

 

Communal Areas:

·      Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the camps and soap and individual hand towels will always be available in public bathrooms.

·      At the Bar: The barmen will wear facemask and gloves to handle drinks and snacks and serve on a tray. 

·      A staff member is assigned to regular sanitization duties of surfaces (including door handles, metallic surfaces, counters, etc).

·      Social distancing rules apply, and seating will be arranged to ensure at least one-meter distance between guests.

·      Dining:  All surfaces will be disinfected after each meal.

·      Pool water (where available) will be monitored to maintain a chlorine level between 1 to 3 parts per million and a pH level between 6.8 and 7.4 in order to provide a virus free experience.

·      In sitting areas and on sofas:

·      Guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Around campfire: guests will be encouraged to practice social distancing.

·      Disposable towels and bins will be placed in strategic areas.

·      In harmony with our vision, our team has had a lot of fun working hard together to put our SOPs in place to ensure the safety of our guests. We are now ready to warmly welcome our guests back to Tanzania.

 

“Nature took a rest from the usual and is now more exquisite”

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