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Karibu Kitulo National Park

Karibu Kitulo National Park – Safaris in Tanzania

Kitulo National Park is locally famous as Bustani ya Mungu denoting the Garden of God and botanist describe it like the Serengeti of flowers. Kitulo National Park is truly a unique botanical marvel with over 350 vascular plant species including over 45 distinct terrestrial orchids that thrive into riotous wildflower display of remarkable scale and diversity during the wet season that starts from November to April.

It straddles at an altitude of 2600 meters and between the rugged peaks of Kipengere, Livingstone and Poroto Mountains. Its well-watered volcanic soils support the vast and most significant montane grassland community in Tanzania. It features rare species of flowers, birds and several mammal species making it one of the most beautiful parks that you should pay a visit while on safari in Tanzania.

Kitulo National Park is located in montane grassland on the Kitulo Plateau in the southern highlands of Tanzania. It is also one of the parks that are located in Mweya region and Njombe area. It is run by Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and it features among the first national parks in tropical Africa to be founded mainly to offer refuge to its rare floral species.

It was first proposed by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCA) in response to the increasing international trade in orchid tubers, hunting and illegal logging practices in and around the forests. It was gazetted in 2005 making it one of the 14th and newly established parks in Tanzania. At the same period, the WCS discovered the new primate species around Mount Rungwe and in the Livingstone Forest Area of Kitulo National Park.

It covers an area of about 412 square kilometres and refuges about 45 varied orchid species most of which include lilies, aster daisies, giant lobelia, yellow-orange-red hot poker, protea, aloe, geraniums and other rare species which are listed as endemic species to southern Tanzania.

It also features among the best birding areas in Tanzania offering refuge to bird species such as blue swallow, lesser kestrel, Njembe Cisticola, Kipengere seed-eaters, Denham bustard, pallid harrier and others. The other wildlife includes mountain reedbuck, frogs, lizards, chameleon, butterflies, elands, spiders.

From September to November, the park is ideal for you to view some wildlife and for you to go for hiking adventures in the mountain and plateau peaks. The notable tour activities for you to engage in include hiking through designated trails, open walking across the grassland, climbing the hills, half-day hike from Kitulo National Park across the Livingstone Mountains that takes you to the beautiful Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa and many others.

How to get to Kitulo National Park?

The temporary park headquarters is at Matamba about 60 kilometres away from Mbeya town. The main route from Dar-es-salaam takes you via Chimala in the south on the dusty road known Hamsini Na Saba about 78 kilometres to the park gate at Matamba. At the plateau from Matamba park gate, you will spend at least an hour while driving and a 4 wheel drive safari car is recommended.

When to visit Kitulo National Park?

The wildflowers at this park are remarkable for you to explore from December to April and from September to November are drier months best for hiking adventures at the park. From June to August, the park is cold and misty.

Where to stay in Kitulo National Park?

There are limited accommodation facilities within Kitulo National Park, however; there are many options for you to choose in Mbeya town-hotels (Mtenda Sunset Hotel, Mbeya Hotel and Manyanya Inn Hotel0), guesthouses and camps especially around Kitulo Matamba gate.

There are also 2 church hostels around Matema beach for budget travellers. Other nearby accommodation options for your overnight stay at this park include Cape Town hotel-the budget facility in Makambako town about 40 miles north of Njombe city in southern highlands in Tanzania, Cape Town Annex Guesthouse, Midtown Hotel, Mexons cliff hotel, Dosmeza Hotel-at Njombe town along the highlands of Tanzania, FM Hotel and many others.

Lastly, Kitulo National Park is Tanzania’s newly established national park which equally rewards travellers with remarkable experiences. While on safari in Tanzania, don’t miss to pay a visit to this park for you to explore unique attractions.