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  Home > Entering Africa > Experiencing Africa
Africa: Kinapa to Maximally Exploit the Tallest Tree
2017/03/14

Moshi — The government is exploring strategies to maximally exploit tourist potentials of the tallest tree in Africa, found in Kilimanjaro Region. According to Mount Kilimanjaro National Park (KINAPA) Chief Park Warden Bertita Loibooki, the unique tree has the potentials of attracting more tourists to Africa's tallest mountain and elsewhere.

Ms Loibooki said here that having around the tree that measures 81.5 metres is a tourism millage, noting that KINAPA will conserve it by any means possible to enable people from different corners of the world to see it.

"It's a big boast to have this tree in our park and we are going to use it as one of our tools to promote Mount Kilimanjaro, get more tourists and revenues," she said during the regional leaders' tour of the tree at Mrusunga, Kidia area.

The giant indigenous tree - Entandrophragma excelsum - belongs to the mahogany family and replaces the previous reigning height champion on the continent, an 81.5-metre tall Sydney blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna) from Limpopo, South Africa that died in 2006. The tree is also ancient, its age estimated at between 500 and 600 years.

It was discovered last year by Dr Andreas Hemp and Dr Claudia Hemp from the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Ms Loibooki said KINAPA was initiating a research to find out the best means to improve the infrastructure at the area. She argued that improved infrastructure will shorten the tourists' safari to the area, because as of now the environment is not friendly to reach the place.

It takes about 2:30 hour walk from Tema village to Mrusunga area. Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner (RC), Said Meck Sadiki, Moshi District Commissioner (DC), Kippi Warioba and other officials had to use both feet and hands to make it to the area due to the steep hills, valleys and rivers they had to cross.

Mr Sadiki who hoisted the national flag upon arrival at the tree, urged KINAPA to protect the tree and ensure nobody tampers with it, warning citizens against any attempt to harm it, saying some people could start going for the tree's barks due to their religious beliefs. He issued a stern warning against environmental degradation, especially the wanton felling of trees.

He said the tree is likely to increase local and international tourists, enhancing the state coffers. The researchers, under Kili Project, first spotted the bunches of the tall Entandrophragma excelsum trees while exploring Mount Kilimanjaro's vegetation 20 years ago.

But, it was only recently that the tools were availed to measure its accurate height. Following the discovery, the tree has become a new heritage of natural wonders in Africa. Dr Andreas revealed that the tree is the sixth longest in the world and that it keeps growing amid prospects of remaining alive for the next 200 years.

In 2013, Mount Kilimanjaro was declared one of the seven wonders of Africa, with its Kibo Peak at 5,895 metres from sea level, being the big attraction to visitors from foreign countries.

The tallest tree in the world measures 115.7 metres and is found in California, in the United States of America (USA), with the second measuring 99.8 metres found in Tasmania, Australia.

 

 

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