Kitulo National Park in Tanzania.

© Daniel Msirikale/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Kitulo National Park

Southern Highlands

This national park protects the flower-clad Kitulo Plateau, together with sections of the former Livingstone Forest Reserve, which runs south from the plateau paralleling the Lake Nyasa shoreline. The area, much of which lies between 2600m and 3000m in the highlands northeast of Tukuyu, is beautiful and a paradise for hikers, although tourism infrastructure is almost nonexistent. Zebra have been reintroduced here, and look out too for rare long-coated kipunji monkeys.

The park reaches its prime during the rainy season from about December until April, when it explodes in a profusion of colour, with orchids (over 40 species have been identified so far), irises, aloes, geraniums and many more flowers carpeting its grassy expanses. Rising up from the plateau is Mt Mtorwi (2961m), which is 1m higher than Mt Rungwe and southern Tanzania’s highest peak. The best months for seeing the flowers are December through March, which is also when hiking is at its muddiest. Orchids are at their peak in February.

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