A safari to the Southern Highlands - late February and March 2011 Part 1 Kitulo Plateau

Please click on any image for an larger version and a slideshow

To drive a mobile camping unit to The Kitulo Plateau near the Zambian border is a long haul, so a stopover with friends in Iringa was very welcome. My guests were to meet me in Mbeya, flying from Dar es salaam and stay the first two nights just outside Mbeya  in the comfortable Utengule coffee Lodge. So before that meeting I wanted to make sure our camp made it up to the Plateau in good time. Rain can make things a little difficult here at this time of year but the whole point of the visit was to experience these high grasslands after rain, to see the orchids in profusion and try to photograph the endemic birds in breeding dress. Thankfully the rains held and my camp made it up in good time. An afternoon off at the Lodge before meeting my guests the next day was indeed a pleasure.

These Southern lodges are quite traditional and a welcome change from the modern ones in the North. I won’t say that they are sophisticated by any stretch of the imagination but homely and welcoming they most certainly are.  After enjoying our first few days there getting out ‘eyes in’ for the birds we excitedly drove up to the Kitulo plateau for 4 nights camping at 8,000 feet.

The kaleidoscope of flower colours that are on offer at this time of the year is truly breath taking. Endemic orchids abound in their hundreds of thousands. We floated in a children’s garden for 4 days! We were all entranced by the spectacle. No cars, no other people and mostly sunshine filled days wandering on foot through square kilometres of flowers and birds, it was divine.

Here I share some - only a few - of my Kitulo images.

camp site Kitulo The only one we saw Camping Kitulo

Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers

Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers

Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers

Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers Kitulo Flowers

Kitulo bug Kitulo bug Bar T A just wo

rnl smaller mmwb Just wonderful cisticola

Dark capped Mountain warbler

With interesting birds (above a dark capped yellow warbler) landing on mountain flowers we were all in a paradise of natural beauty.

 

Part two- The Udzungwa National Park and Kilombero Valley.