Kitulo National Park
Kitulo Plateau – a botanist’s delight
Situated between the Livingstone and Uporoto ranges, the high Kitulo Plateau is a unique experience of endemic plant life for lovers of nature and botany. This combined with the breathtaking scenery of the Livingstone Mountains backdrops has earned it the local name of ‘Bustani ya Mungu,’ which literally means God’s Garden. Soon to be named a National Park, Kitulo is one of the greatest floral spectacles in the world, and a must in any Southern Highlands itinerary.
How to get there:
Here 4×4 is your only option. 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) after the number of hairpin bends along its length – to the temporary park headquarters at Matamba, from where it’s another hour’s drive to the plateau.
What to do:
Good hiking trails exist and will soon be developed into a formal trail system. Open walking across the grasslands to watch birds and wildflowers. You can do hill climbing on the neighbouring mountain ranges. A nice day hike from the park across the Livingstone Mountains leads to the sumptuous Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa.
When to go:
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.
No available in the park, but nearby Mbeya is serviced by everything from luxury hotels to simple guesthouses, while two simple guesthouses also exist in Matamba.