KITULO NATIONAL PARKS.
Kitulo National Park is protected area of montane grassland and forest on montane forest on the Kitulo plateau in the southern highlands of Tanzania. The park is at an elevation of 2600meters above the sea level between the park and the Pengere and Poroto mountains lying in Mbeya Region and Njombe region. This national park is administered by (RANAP) Tanzania National Park Authority and it’s the first national park in Africa to be established to protect its flora primarily. The local people near this national park refer to it as the Bustani ya Mungu that is translated as the Garden of God while the botanists have referred to it as the Serengeti of Flowers
The protection and establishment of this unique flora park was first proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society in the response to the growing international trade in orchid tubers and increased hunting and logging activities in the surrounding forests. In 2002, president Benjamin Mkapa announced the establishment of the for a park and it was later gazetted in in 2005 and being the 14th national par in Tanzania there is a proposal to include the neighboring forest of Mount Rungwa forest in a way of expanding the national park.
The Kitulo plateau lies between the ridges. Its montane grasslands and home for over 350 plant species of which include numerous orchids, geophytes, and other Afroalphine plants. During the November to April wet season, the montane grasslands are carpeted with displays of flowers. Many species are limited to the Kipengere range and nearby highlands.
This forest, is at the eastern end of the Kitulo National Park includes, montane evergreen forest and forest of East African Cedar. The former Ndumbi Valley Forest Reserve 27saqaure kilometers and was establishes in 1956 and was so important into the national park when it was created in2005 and this is famous for the 100-meter waterfall.
ATTRACTIONS IN KITULO NATIONAL PARK.
Plant species and flowers.
Kitulo national park is a home for various flowers including 40 ground orchids. The park becomes a floral print for every tourist who wishes to explore the extra ordinary landscapes covered with stunning trees and flowers. There have been over 350 different plant species making it a place of botanic explorations. A bout 40 species are orchids found, 16 of which are endemic to Kitulo and Poroto Mountains, the three of them are found in Kitulo national park only not anywhere. The best time to make a safari is the month of November to April and I promise you will not regret. Some of the orchids which are rare in other places include, aloes, giant lobelias, lilies, proteas, yellow-orange, red hot poker, aster daisies, and many others. These species are only endemic to Southern Tanzania thus meet Kitulo national park.
This national park is a home to various bird species of which many reside at Kitulo plateau. For the people interested in birding, this is your destination. Birds are usually encountered in Alpine grasslands and Montare forests, some of the frequently encountered birds in Kitulo National Park include, rare Denham’s bustard, Njombe cisticola, Kipengere seed eater, mountain marsh widow, whistling ducks, open- billed storks, red knobbed coot, lesser kestrel, endangered blue swallow, pallid harrier and European white stork, bidders usually start their safari early in the morning. This can be a guided nature walk or a game drive to show visitors and explain to them all the needed information.
This national park is also a home to Flora species, Kitulo National park host some wild animals which are very incredible to watch. Most wild animals are found in the Kitulo Plateau and in the magnificent Kipengere and Poroto mountains. These are animals well suited to survive in mountains regions. Some animal includes, primates like vervet monkeys, Kipunji monkeys the newly discovered monkey specie in Africa, Columbus monkeys. They are spotted hanging on trees and on the hilly places within the Kitulo plateau, Kipengere and Poroto mountains other wildlife include roebucks, waterbucks, zebras, elands and the reptiles include, chameleon and insects like butterflies are also frequent
There other attractions like, the spectacular mountain Livingstone, waterfalls, matema beach, and the Mhumbe valley.
Some of the activities in this national park include, walking safaris, canoeing, hiking, game viewing bird watching and many others ss
Base on choice, various accommodation facilities are available of which include, Mwakipembo public Campsite and Mau special campsite
There are many accommodation facilities outside the park though they are near, Mbeya garden city hotel, Mikuyu royal hotel, landmark hotel, royal Tughimbe hotel and Mbeya hotel, others include, Diliki mini motel Hunge lodge and camp blue canoe safari camp matema lake shore resort church run hotels, zebras guest house, and many others.