Locals refer to the Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu – The Garden of God. While botanists have dubbed it the Serengeti of Flowers. Host to ‘one of the great floral spectacles of the world’. Kitulo is indeed a rare botanical marvel, home to over 350 species of vascular plants. 45 varieties of terrestrial orchid, which erupt into a beautiful wildflower display. There is much diversity during the main rainy season of late November to April.
Kitulo sits perched at around 2,600 metres (8,500 ft) between the rugged peaks of the Kipengere, Poroto and Livingstone Mountains. The well-watered volcanic soils of Kitulo support the largest and most important montane grassland community in Tanzania. One of the most important watersheds for the Great Ruaha River. Kitulo is well known for its floral significance. There is a multitude of orchids. Stunning variety of aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies, of which more than 30 species are endemic to southern Tanzania.
Big game is sparsely represented, though a few hardy mountain reedbuck and eland still roam the open grassland. Kitulo is a botanist and hiker’s paradise. It is also an attraction for birdwatching. Tanzania’s only population of the rare Denham’s bustard is resident, alongside a breeding colony of the endangered blue swallow. Range-restricted species like the mountain marsh widow, Njombe cisticola and Kipengere seedeater. Endemic species of butterfly, chameleon, lizard and frog further enhance the biological wealth of God’s Garden.
Size: 412.9 sq km (159 sq miles)
Location: Southern Tanzania.
The temporary park headquarters at Matamba are situated approximately 100km (60 miles) from Mbeya town.
Good hiking trails exist and will soon be developed into a formal trail system. Open walking across the grasslands to watch birds and wildflowers.
Hill climbing on the neighbouring ranges. A half-day hike from the park across the Livingstone Mountains leads to the sumptuous Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa.
Wildflower displays peak between December and April. The sunnier months of September to November are more comfortable for hiking but less rewarding to botanists. Conditions are cold and foggy from June to August.