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Kitulo National Park

Kitulo National Park, which is nicknamed the ‘Serengeti of Flowers’, is located in Njombe Region of Tanzania. It is the first national park in tropical Africa to be set up mainly for the protection of its botanical significance. This park was established in 2005 and is about 69 km from Mbeya. Kitulo National Park is situated on the Kitulo Plateau in the southern highlands of Tanzania.

Managed by Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa), Kitulo National Park is a protected area of montane grassland and montane forest on the Kitulo Plateau. The volcanic soils of the area provide a conducive environment for montane grassland and forests to flourish.

This park is perched at an elevation of 2,600 m (8,500 ft) above sea level between the peaks of the Kipengere and Poroto mountains. Nestled between Njombe and Mbeya Regions, this botanical paradise spans an area of 412.9 sq. km (159.4 sq. mi).


Njombe, Tanzania


By road or by connecting flight from Dar es Salaam to the airport in Mbeya

Nearest city/ town



There are no accommodation facilities within the park. This mainly due to the terrain, but there is a variety of lodging places in Mbeya.

The park HQ at Matamba provides camping facilities.

Best period to Visit

Although this park boasts of beauty and activities throughout the year, November to April is the perfect period to visit when the floral beauty of Kitulo National Park is at its peak. The landscapes of this park are carpeted by a myriad of captivating colours of wildflowers. This is during the rainy season when the floral realm erupts in unmatched splendour.

Botanists have nicknamed it as the “Serengeti of Flowers”, while the local people refer to it as “Bustani ya Mungu”, which is translated as “Garden of God”.

On the other hand, the dry season, which is from May to October presents a perfect hiking weather and is also a great time to visit the park.

Establishment of Kitulo National Park

The proposal to preserve and protect the unique flora of the Kitulo Plateau was initially done by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). This was due to the rising international trade in orchid tubers and increased activities of hunting and logging around the forests nearby.

President Benjamin Mkapa, in 2002 announced the establishment of the park and consequently, in 2005, Kitulo National Park was formally gazetted. It therefore became the fourteenth national park in the country. TANAPA has indicated that there are future plans to extend the park so that it encompasses the neighbouring Mount Rungwe forest.

Kitulo Plateau

The Kitulo Plateau is nestled in between two parallel elevations. During the peak season, this plateau is carpeted by a multicoloured cloud of flowers.

The montane grasslands of the plateau hosts 350 plant species, which include a variety of ground orchids, other Afroalpine plants, as well as geophytes. Geophytes are perennial plants with underground food storage organs.

The Kitulo Plateau is most spectacular during the rainy season, from November to April, when these grasslands are adorned with an array of flamboyant wildflowers.

Most of the floral species are limited to the Kipengere Range and nearby highlands, while three types are limited the Kitulo Plateau.

Livingstone Forest

The Livingstone Forest is of particular importance in the Kitulo National Park ecosystem; it is the centre of this pristine botanical paradise. This is a montane evergreen forest that descends the southwest slope facing the park. The Livingstone Forest is the largest block of forest in both the Kitulo National Park, and the Kipengere Mountain Range.

Clouds of wildflowers which include orchids, daisies, among others present an awesome sight of the landscape, especially between November and April.

The Livingstone Forest lies within the former Livingstone Forest Reserve. It covers 240.34 sq. km (92.80 sq. mi), which were incorporated into the Kitulo National Park upon establishment in 2005.

A narrow corridor of farms and tree plantations, called the Bujingijila Gap divides the Livingstone Forest and the Mount Rungwe Forest.

Ndumbi Forest

Situated on the eastern boundary of this ‘Serengeti of flowers’, is the Ndumbi Forest which boasts of montane evergreen forests as well as East African Cedar trees. The earlier Ndumbi Valley Forest Reserve, established in 1956 and spanning an area of 27.71 sq. km (10.70 sq. mi) was consequently incorporated into the Kitulo National Park upon establishment in 2005.

The Ndumbi Forest is also home to the 100 m high waterfalls.

Wildflowers Of Kitulo National Park

With more than 350 documented plant species, in addition to 45 types of terrestrial orchids, the Kitulo National Park is indeed the ‘Garden of God’ or the ‘Serengeti of Flowers’. The unmatched floral splendour of this park is at its peak during the rainy season. The diversity of flamboyant wildflowers, some endemic to this place, blends in a tapestry so marvellous to behold.

Wildlife in Kitulo National Park

Although it is best known for being endowed with botanical beauty, the Kitulo National Park also host some wildlife. Antelopes, elands, reedbucks, zebras and other common species of animals are found in this park.

The Livingstone Forest and the nearby Mount Rungwe are habitats to three limited-range species of mammals. These are the endangered Kipunji, Rungwe dwarf galago, and Abbott’s duiker.

Wildlife Conservation Society field scientists in 2005 discovered a new species of primate in the vicinity of the Livingstone Forest and on and around Mount Rungwe. This primate was known as the Highland Mangabey, but was later given a Tanzanian name, Kipunji.  The Kipunji is among the 25 most endangered primates globally.

Birdlife in Kitulo National Park

This ‘Serengeti of Flowers’ is unquestionably a perfect habitant for some bird species. It boasts of quite a good number of both resident and migratory bird species.

Notable amongst the migratory birds are the great white storks. They are seen for a while before they continue their migration across the continent to Europe. The park is also hosts small as well as large resident birds.

Rare species such as Denham’s bustard, Kipengere seedeater, mountain marsh widow and Njombe cisticola can be spotted in the area.

Activities In Kitulo National Park

Kitulo National Park has an array of adventurous activities. Below are some of the popular activities that tourists can undertake.

Walking Safaris

The botanical beauty of the ‘Bustani ya Mungu’ is best explored and appreciated during a walking safari.

Basking within the botanical beauty, inhaling the therapeutic fragrance of the flowers whilst exploring the enchanting landscapes of Kitulo National Park on foot presents an awesome experience.

Walking safaris are also a definite way of observing wildlife in its natural habitats.


Kitulo National Park is a famed hiking destination with excellent hiking trails. Some trails are up the hills while others are across the adjacent mountain ranges.

A notable hike is a half-day-hike, whose trail threads its way from the Livingstone Range and all the way to Lake Nyasa’s beach. This, without doubts presents the perfect bush plus beach combo.

There are also some relaxed walking trails that snake their way across lovely landscapes of open savannah and grasslands.


Since this botanical beauty is a haven of many bird species, birdwatching automatically becomes a major activity.

Walks certainly are an ideal way to explore the avian kingdom of Kitulo National Park.

Mount Rungwe Climbing

Climbing Mount Rungwe is also another activity that can be undertaken during a visit to this park. The summit offers breathtaking views of the surrounding and it certainly adds to the adventure of the tour.


Kitulo National Park is a paradise where wildflowers, bird and game, exist in scenic and serene accord.
As Tanzania Offroad Trips, we have great safari packages to this botanical paradise that you can afford.

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