Kitulo National Park

This 135 km2 national is Tanzania’s newest, gazetted in 2005, and also perhaps its most obscure, being the first such entity in tropical Africa to be gazetted primarily for its floristic significance. It protects the Kitulo plateau, the country’s largest and most important montane grassland habitat, perched above 2,600 m between the Kipengere Ranger and the poroto and livingstone mountains, and incorporating two of the highest peaks in the southern Highlands: the 2,961 m Mount Mtorwi and the 2,929 m Chaluhangi Dome. Known locally as “Bustani ya Mungu” (God’s Garden) and elsewhere as the “Serengeti of flowers”, the plateau hosts one of the world’s great floral spectacle between November and April. This is when its 350 documented species of vascular plant come into bloom, among then 45 types of terrestrial orchid, the yellow-and-orange red-hot-poker (Kniphofia kirkii) and varous aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies. More than 30 species are Tanzanian endemocs, and at least three are endemic to the plateau itself. Listed as an important Bird Area, the plateau is also to breeding colonies of blue swallow and Denham’s bustard, as well as mountain marsh widow, Njombe cisticola and Kipengere seedeater.

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