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Kitulo Plateau: The Garden of God

Articles: Kitulo Plateau: The Garden of God

A field of red hot pokers (Kniphofia sp.) on Kitulo Plateau. Author’s photographs

A West Coast horticulturist travels to a distant land to see an array of captivating plants, some familiar and some not so.

High above Tanzania’s tropical lowlands lies a little-known botanical wonderland: Kitulo Plateau. Officially established as part of the Tanzania National Park (TANAPA) system in 2004, it is home to 350 species of plants and serves as an important water catchment basin for the region. The only botanical reserve in tropical Africa, the plateau showcases forty-five terrestrial orchid species during the rainy season from late November through April. The locals refer to Kitulo Plateau as Bustani ya Mungu—The Garden of God.

My husband Eldon and I decided to visit his sister in Tanzania, while she was working on a year-long assignment with a water sanitation organization. I had always wanted to explore the botanical treasures of South Africa, but that proved too distant for our short visit. Researching our options, Eldon discovered Kitulo, described as the “Serengeti of plants.” Since we planned a game safa...

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