Altezza Travel Planted 400 Trees in Kilimajaro
May of 2022 was rich with valuable projects that the Altezza Travel team was able to complete having taken advantage of the rainy season when the number of tourists in Tanzania is the lowest during the year. Among other things, the company sent two “green forces” with a task to restore the forest reserves in the Kilimanjaro region. This article tells about the protection of forests along the river near the Kilimanjaro airport, and the material you are reading now is about the restoration of a forest in the vicinity of the namesake national park.
Why do we need a forest at the foot of Kilimanjaro?
On May 23, the experienced gardeners from our Aishi Machame and Altezza Lodge hotels, along with other employees and friends of the company, went to Lyasikika Secondary School, the management of which had asked for help with planting the seedlings. The school is located in a neighboring village which means it is in the so-called buffer zone of the Kilimanjaro National Park, just like the Altezza Travel office.
A large number of villages and active agriculture at the foot of Africa's Roof have had a strong impact on the ecosystem of the park and the entire region. If you look at satellite images, just beyond the dense green ring of forests surrounding the mountain and included in the protected area of the national park, you can see "bald spots" indicating that people are operating there. This is exactly what happened near Lyasikika Secondary School on the bend of the Sere River.
The proximity of the cornfield and the road right next to the river put pressure on the soil, and it slowly subsides. The water of the rushing mountain river, in turn, erodes the bank. It may lead to changes in the shoreline, as well as waterlogging and road collapse. In this "thin" place, it was necessary to restore the balance between nature and humans, which we did with the help of local authorities.
How We Planted the Trees
By joining forces with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities, as well as the representatives of the Lyamungo Village authority and the school where the problem occurred, we planted several hundred saplings along the river bed in the bare area.
The whole process unfolded in several stages. First, we purchased seedlings of various trees because strong plants with a branched root system should grow near the water; in, in the middle, there should be trees that create favorable conditions for more short-growing plants, and by the road - the low trees, including fruit-bearing ones. Then, using spiral drills, we made deep holes at an equal distance from one another in a staggered pattern. The main stage was planting the seedlings, strengthening their rhizomes with earth, and watering. Then the seedlings will need some more care and attention for a while until they become stronger.
KINAPA leaders, including Kilimanjaro National Park's chief caretaker Angela Nyaki and her assistant Charles Mgendo, Lyasikika Secondary School students, local community elders, and, of course, the Altezza Travel team were amicably involved in the most extensive and laborious phase.
We planted over 400 trees of eight species in total. Now we have to watch them grow and, for the first time, help them get established in their new place by tying up unstable thin trunks, watering, and fertilizing.
We will continue to follow the life of the planted trees and share photos and satellite images of the new forest area in Machame at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. Stay tuned for updates.