grassland in Tanzania Kitulo Plateau isextremely floristically rich and 350 species of plants have been documented so far including 31 Tanzanian endemics. It is the abundance of flowers in the rainy season that creates 'one of the great floral spectacles of the world'. Kitulo Plateau is also home to important bird species including several endemics. There are breeding colonies of Blue Swallow and raptors like Denham's Bustard, the Lesser Kestrel, the Pallid Harrier can also be found. The Njombe Cisticola, and Kipengere Seedeater also contribute to the plateau being an Important Bird Area (IBA 73). In February 2002 the Government of Tanzania announced that it would be gazetting 13,500 hectares as a National Park. This is the first National Park in Tanzania to be gazetted primarily for its botanical importance. The trade in orchids is currently threatening species across the region especially at Kitulo and the visitor money will directly help provide alternative sources of income for the local communities. The best time to visit Kitulo Plateau is in the main rainy season between December and April. This is the time when most of the plants are flowering creating an unforgettable spectacle. As well as the 45 species of orchids you will enjoy the yellow-orange red-hot poker and a medly of aloes, proteas, geraniums, giant lobelias, lilies and aster daisies. Big game is present though not in abundence with just a few mountain reedbuck and eland still roaming the grassland. Good hiking trails exist in Kitulo and it is still possible to go walking across the grasslands to watch birds and wildflowers. There is also some superb hill climbing on the neighbouring ranges. A half-day trek from the park through the Livingstone Mountains leads to the superb Matema Beach on Lake Nyasa.