Kitulo National Park

The history of the park goes back to 1870, when Fredrick Elton, an Explorer visited the area. In 1960’s a large area was taken by United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization for Wheat and Sheep Schemes. Since neither wheat nor sheep thrived in the area, in 1972 the area was turned to a diary farm, which remains active to date.

 

As a result of concerns from conservation bodies and various stakeholders, part of the farm, Livingstone and Nhumbe Forest Reserves were declared as Kitulo National Park on 16th of September 2005.

 

Climate

The climate is influenced by altitude, Lake Nyasa and is largely temperate. The maximum daily temperature varies from 14.5°c to 18°c and minimum ambient temperature ranges from 7°c to 8°c between December and April, and can go as low as 0.5˚c during June to August ,during this period frost occurs. The average annual rainfall is 1600mm ranging from 1500 – 1700mm. The rain season begins from October to May.

Park purpose

The exceptional Resource values are the biological features of the national park that are assessed as being especially important to maintaining the unique ecological character and functions of the park. These include Unique Montane grasslands; dense bamboo; rare, endemic and threatened flora and fauna; important bird area; scenic landscape; water catchment area and carbon sink and Natural and cultural attractions outside the park.

How to get there

The park can be accessed from Mbeya town, which is about 110 Km away via Chimala road and 70 Km via Isyonje road. It is about 90 Km from Songwe Airport. The park can only be reached by road.

 

By Air: Through Songwe Airport; 90 kms via Isyonje and 125 via Chimala small town to Kitulo.

 

By Road: Mbeya city-Isyonje- Kitulo is 70 kms: Mbeya city-Chimala-Kitulo is 103 kms: Njombe town-Ikonda-makete-Kitulo 165 kms.

 

By Railway: Through railway transport Tanzania-Zambia (TAZARA), Iyunga and Makambako stations

 

Songwe Airport

Songwe airport is an airport in the southern highlands region of Tanzania serving the city of Mbeya and the nearby regions. It is able to accommodate commercial jet traffic. The services of domestic flights are provided by Air Tanzania, Precision air, Fast jet and Tropical air.

Best Time to Visit

The dry season (May-October) is the best time to visit the park. Roads within the park are often flooded during the rainy season but may be passable from mid-December to February.

 

November – April, for flowers and Bird watchers.

January- December, for nature lovers

What to see

One of the most important watersheds for the Great Ruaha River, Kitulo is also the first national park in tropical Africa to be gazetted largely for its floral significance-not only a multitude of orchids, but also the stunning yellow-orange red-hot poker and a variety of aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies, of which more than 30 species are endemic to southern Tanzania. But Kitulo is also attractive for bird watching, home to rare bird species. Big game is sparsely represented, though a few hardy mountain reedbuck and eland still roam the open grassland. Located about 100 kilometres from Mbeya town in Southern Tanzania, Kitulo National Park (413 sq km) is a botanist and hiker’s paradise. Wild flowers displays peak during the rainy season between December and April excellent time for botanists, while 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. Accommodation is available in Mbeya town.

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