Kitulo Plateau National Park Flora & Fauna
Kitulo Plateau National Park is uniquely known for its flora rather than fauna. It is one of the first protected areas in tropical Africa to be preserved primarily on its floral significance, which boats a spectacular range of wildflowers that create an amazing carpet of colour between October and April consisting of over 350 vascular plants, especially ground orchids.
The Kitulo Plateau National Park does host important animal species also including important bird species such as the Blue Swallow colonies and Denham’s Bustard, as well as the lesser kestrel, pallid harrier, njombe cisticola, and Kipengere seedeater. The Park also contains the only remaining viable population of Ardeotis denhami in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
In 2005, field scientists from the WCS discovered a new species of primate on and around Mount Rungwe and in the Livingstone Forest area of the park. Initially known as the Highland Mangabey, later changed to its Tanzanian name of Kipunji, it is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world
Kitulo Plateau National Park Location
Kitulo Plateau National Park is a protected area of montane grassland on the Kitulo Plateau in the southern highlands of Tanzania. The park lies at an elevation of 2,600 meters between the Kipengere and Poroto mountain peaks, covering an area of 412.9 square km.
The park headquarters at Matamba are situated approximately 100km from Mbeya town, which is easily accessible via the Mbeya Airport that is served by regular flights from Dar es Salaam’s Julius Nyerere International Airport, other Tanzanian regional airports, and by charter flight. Mbeya town is not far from the airport and can be reached via taxi or Dala Dala (bus) from the airport.
However, the road to Kitulo Plateau National Park from Mbeya is traversed by 4X4 vehicle only and can get complicated. From Chimala,78km East of Mbeya along the surfaced main road to Dar es Salaam, head south along the rough but spectacular dirt road – called Hamsini na Saba (57 bends) to the temporary park headquarters at Matamba. From there, another hour of dricing will get you to the Plateau.
Some Trip Advisor reports suggest you drive yourself, and the Head Warden will guide you by phone and meet you at Chimala before pointing you toward the Park. However, it is advised you pay for an operator who can meet you at the airport or elsewhere and take you from there.
Kitulo Plateau National Park is known for its extraordinary wild flowers and botany. The best flower deisplays are to be seen between December and April. However, the between September and November hiking is made easier with sunnier climate, but botany is less visible. Conditions are cold and foggy from June to August.
Total Land Area
412 sq km About the same size as Barbados
Elevation above sea level
About 300 stacked giraffes
Nearest Major City & Airport
About 76 km West
When To Visit Kitulo Plateau National Park
Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec