Kitulo National Park
Kitulo National Park is one of Tanzania safari gems, a rare botanical wonder and home to over 350 species of vascular plants, which includes forty five varieties of terrestrial orchid, it normally erupts into a riotous wildflower display of spectacular scale and diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April. The botanists call it ‘Serengeti of Flowers’ while the locals refer the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu; ‘The Garden of God’. Are you looking for a different kind of safari? Kitulo National Park is the place to visit.
The Kitulo National Park is situated on the Southern Highlands of Tanzania and consists of alpine grasslands and montane forests. It lies in Mbeya region and a small portion of it is in the Iringa region. Within this secluded Tanzania national park is the Kitulo plateau and the Livingstone Forest which is where most of the beautiful flowers are can found.
The park is the first national park in tropical Africa to be established exclusively for the protection of flora. From the different species and every color of the flora the park is breathtaking and overwhelming… a spectacular variety of orchids awaits the traveler. Travelers from all over the world come to this destination to explore the forests and at the same time capture the eye-catching pictures of some rare orchids and other flowers. The park is also known for its stunning yellow-orange red-hot poker and a variety of aloes, geraniums, proteas, lilies, giant lobelias and aster daisies, of which more than thirty species are endemic to southern Tanzania.
Kitulo National Park is the place to be if you are searching for botanical beauty while exploring and discovering Tanzania safari.
More about Kitulo Plateau National Park
- The size of the park is 412.9 sq km (159 sq miles)
- It is located on the southern part of Tanzania.
- The temporary park headquarters at Matamba is located about 100km from Mbeya town.
How to get there
From chimala, seventy eight kilometers east of Mbeya along the surfaced main road to Dar es Salaam, proceed south along the rough but magnificent dirt road which is known as Hamsini na Saba (fifty Seven) towards the temporary park headquarters at Matamba. From Matamba it takes approximately one hour’s drive to the plateau.
What to do
- Hiking – there are good hiking trails where one can hike leisurely.
- Walking – walking across the grasslands for bird watching and wildflowers.
- Hill climbing on the neighbouring ranges. A half day or one day hike from the park across the Livingstone Mountains leads to the splendid Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa.
- Forest walks
- Primate sightings
- Orchid discoveries
When to Visit
The best time to tour for botanists is between December and April. September to November which is the sunnier months of the year is comfortable for hiking but less satisfying to botanists. From June to August the conditions are cold and foggy
Where to Stay
There is no accommodation in the park, but basic accommodation and meals can be found at the adjacent Kitulo Farm. Mbeya has luxury hotels and simple guesthouses where visitors can relax while touring the park. Other guest houses also exist in Matamba.