Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, about half way between the Burundi and Zambian borders. The lake itself lies at 730m, but the park’s highest point is 2,462m, which accounts for the presence of 4 ecological zones, beginning, in the foothills, with mixed open canopied woodland and followed by a small band of rainforest, Afro-montane forest and, towards the top, moorland. There are two seasons: rainy and dry, the rainy season lasting from October to April, the dry season from May to September. Rainfall levels fluctuate according to altitude and position. The west is much wetter than the east, with the lake and shore receiving 1,500mm per year, the higher parts between 2000mm and 2,500mm per year. On average, the area receives 1,800mm per year. Temperatures range from 18°C to 32°C. It is generally hot and humid, even at lake level, especially during the rainy season.
The best time to view Mahale’s primates is between July and October, when cartloads range through the lower slopes, and when it is dry, the going easy.