Kitulo national park is a protected area of montane grassland and montane forest on the Kitulo plateau in the southern highlands of Tanzania. Kitulo national park is at an elevation of 2600 meters (8,500 ft.) between the peaks of the Kipengere and Poroto mountains and covers an area of 412.9 square kilometers (159.4 sq. mi), Kitulo national park lies in Mbeya region and Njombe region, in southern highlands of Tanzania, the park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) the Kitulo is the first national park in tropical Africa to be established primarily to protect its flora.
Kitulo national park was designated as a national park in 2005 by President Benjamin Mkapa. The flora life of the region was invented by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the fact that makes the park unique from other national parks of East Africa is, and it is the first tropical forest of Africa that was initiated to protect the flora life. Bustani ya mungu (God’s Garden) is the visitors name given to this park, this is the only kind in Africa where wild flowers, birds and harmonious grass eating mammals are dominating.
Attractions in Kitulo national park.
The Ndumbi forest is at the eastern end of Kitulo National park, including the montane evergreen forest and forests of East Africa Cedar (Juniperus procera).
Kitulo national park has numerous orchids, it is a home of more than 400 plant species most of them are wild flowers and so attractive in the park you can spot Afroalpine plants, geophytes and ground orchids as well you can enjoy lilies, irises, aloes, proteas, giant lobelias, daisies and among others. The park has over 45 recorded endemic orchid species are found in the park than any other part of the world.
Kitulo national park does not showcase much of wildlife, however the park has animal species like the Reed bucks, zebras, elands and also the park is a home to 25 endangered primate species including the Kipunji monkeys and among others. The endemic species of butterfly, chameleon, lizard and frog further enhance the biological wealth of God’s Garden. Unique and the only of its king in Africa for natural orchids and birds.
Kitulo national park has various a bird species including the lesser kestrel, pallid harrier, endangered blue swallow, and mountain marsh widow, kipengere seedeater, rare Denham’s bustard, njombe cisticola, European white and many others’
Activities done in Kitulo national park.
Guided nature walks.
Kitulo national park offers fascinating nature walks this is where the visitors are allowed to explore the park features on foot with the company of armed park ranger. The nature walks are always done in the morning and the late in the evening while following the best trails such as walks across the grasslands, Livingstone Mountains which lead you to Matema beach on Lake Nyasa. Also during the guided nature walks you can get closer to the wildlife species in the park like the waterbucks, vervet monkeys, colobus monkeys, colourfu butterflies reptiles like chameleon and lizards the tourists also enjoy the fresh air, views of the sunrise, and the stunning views of brightly coloured orchids while taking the beautiful pictures with them for remembrance.
The park also provides mountain climbing especially climbing mount Rungwe and have spectacular views of various animals of the park like the reedbuck, elands then the primates like the vervet monkeys, kipunji monkeys, different species of birds, plant species all these can be seen while hiking and once you reach the summit you view the incredible park.
The park is one of the ideal birding destinations in Tanzania, with various and different bird species like the endemics, migratory species. Bird watching in the park gives you the best moments as the experienced birding guide helps you to spot different bird species such as the lesser kestrel, pallid harrier, endangered blue swallow, mountain marsh widow, kipengere seedeater, rare Denham’s bustard, njombe cisticola, European white stork and many others. Bird watchers during a birding safari are reminded to a carry a pair of binocular for clear viewing of too far or distant birds and the cameras for taking photos of different bird species in the park.
The park has a variety of wildlife which gives the most awesome game viewing to the tourists the animal species includes the giraffes, cape buffalo, zebra, warthogs, blue monkeys, flamingo, elephants, lions, black and white colobus monkeys and among all these can be viewed by the tourists during their game driving in the park.
Entrance fees on Kitulo national park.
|EA (Tshs)||Non EA Citizen (USD)||Expatriate/ Residents (USD)|
|Of above the age of 16 years||5000||30||15|
|Between the age of 5 to 15 years||2000||10||5|
|Children below the age of 5 years||Free||Free||Free|
Best time to visit Kitulo national park.
The best time to visit the park is in the dry season of May to October but the park can also be accessed in mid-December to February. The wildflower display peaks between December and April.
Where to in Kitulo national park.
Kitulo national park has various accommodation facilities for the guests during their visit in the park ranging from the Budget, Mid-range and the luxuries such as the Kitulo farm in Mbeya, Matamba, Matema beach, other accommodations include the Landmark hotel Tukuyu Mbeya, Golden city hotel, Mbeya hotel, Malasi Rest house, Blue Canoe safari camp, Matema Lake Shore Resort, and many others.
How to get to Kitulo National park.
The park can be accessed in various ways;
Road Transport. Kitulo national park can be accessed using the 4×4 vehicle by road connecting from Dar es Salaam, on a surfaced main road towards the south of Mbeya town then to the park headquarters found in Matamba approximately 78 kilometers, then you drive south on the rough yet impressive dirt road following a number of thin sharp bends down but the views are really rewarding, all the way to the provisional park headquarters, and then from here you drive one hour to the plateau.
Flight transport. The distance between Dar es Salaam and the park is 637km. The quickest flight from Dar es Salaam Airport to Mbeya Airport is the direct flight which takes 1 hr. 30 minutes.
The park is the first national park in the tropical Africa to be established primarily for its floristic importance, hosting one of the greatest floral spectacle of the world with 400 species of Vascular plants including 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid.