Mabi Mabli Mahale is a small camp in a picturesque location on the shores of Lake Tangayika flanked by lush forest. The name means 'Far Far Away' and is appropriate for this remote, pristine location. It makes a wonderful contrast to a busy safari yet offers plenty to do with chimpanzee trekking, forest trails and boat trips among the most popular activities.
There are nine beach tents, all screened by foliage for seclusion. They are set on wooden decks and each has a small veranda facing the lake. The interior has a cosy feel with a polished wooden floor, canvas walls, thatched roof and rustic furniture. You have lighting, charging points and an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water. One of the tents is slightly larger and can be used by families.
You mix with other guests in the main area where you dine and relax. There's plenty of seating, and a deck where you can enjoy views of Lake Tanganyika. This leads directly on to the beach where, before sunset, the campfire is lit and you can enjoy sundowner drinks by its glow.
There are daily chimpanzee treks in Mahale Mountains National Park. One of the family groups has been monitored for research and though still wild is habituated to humans. Trackers locate this group each morning and relay its location to the lodge's guides, who lead guests to them for a maximum stay of an hour. As well as chimp trekking you can take boat rides on the lake to view hippos, try your hand at freshwater fishing, explore by kayak, take nature walks and visit the local fishing village of Katumbi.
Mbali Mbali Mahale was formerly known as Kungwe Beach Lodge.
Open: Mbali Mbali Mahale is open from the beginning of June to the end of February.
Location: The lodge is beside Lake Tanganyika bordering Mahale Mountains National Park. It is reached by flying to Mahale airstrip followed by a 90 minute dhow ride to the lodge.
Rooms: There are nine gest tents, a mix of twins and doubles and one family tent with a double and single bed. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom to the back with a shower, twin hand basins and running water, and a small deck to the front overlooking the lake. They have round-the-clock power, lighting and charging points.
Activities: You can go chimpanzee trekking, take a boat safari to see hippos and go fishing, visit a the nearby fishing village of Katumbi and follow walking trails. Your stay includes one chimpanzee trek per day, one boat safari per stay, kayaking, concession fees, return transfers from and to Mahale airstrip. It is not currently possible to swim from the beach, but you can take boat trips to out to deeper sections of the lake where swimming is safe.
Facilities: The main area houses the lounge, bar and dining and sitting areas and leads out to a deck, the beach and camp fire. The lodge offers a free laundry service.
Dining: Meals can be eaten together as a group or at individual tables. There are indoor and outdoor dining areas. Your stay includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, water, soft drinks, local beers, selected spirits and house wines.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. The minimum age for chimpanzee trekking is 12 years old.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is Wi-Fi internet access, but no reliable mobile phone coverage.
"Another beautiful location on Lake Tanganyika. Unfortunately we had some clothing stolen from our baggage which we did not notice until we arrived at our next destination. A shame because we were well looked after."