East Africa, Tanzania

Mahale Mountains National Park

Mahale Mountains National Park

Very few outsiders experience the emerald Mahale Mountains that rise from the shores of Lake Tanganyika in far eastern Tanzania. Those visitors who do venture to the Mahales have the chance to make guided walks into the foothills for enthralling encounters with the world’s largest population of Pan troglodytes, otherwise known as chimpanzees, who, along with bonobos, fellow members of the genus Pan, are humanity’s closest relatives, so myth-shatteringly studied in nearby Gombe Stream National Park by the great Jane Goodall.

Seeing chimpanzees in the wild is a life-sparking experience—one that Micato is eager to arrange for intrepid safariers—but Mahale offers other, perhaps more subtle, lures: its wildness for one, and immense Lake Tanganyika, for another. The second deepest lake on the planet (Siberia’s Lake Baikal tops the list), Tanganyika represents a 4,823-foot gash in the earth’s surface, dramatic testimony to Africa’s Great Rift, which is slowly and surely tearing the continent in two.

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