Altezza Travel Planted 400 Trees in Kilimajaro
May 2022: This is the rainy season in Tanzania, when there are typically fewer tourists and less climbing or safaris for tour operators. However, Altezza Travel took advantage of this ‘low-season’ period to give back with meaningful projects. Among other projects, Altezza Travel sent two “green forces” with a task to restore the forest reserves in the Kilimanjaro region.
This article is about the protection of forests along the river near the Kilimanjaro airport and Altezza’s work to help restore the forest near Kilimanjaro 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. Earlier in the year, the management of the school had asked for help with planting seedlings. The school is located near Kilimanjaro National Park, just like the Altezza Travel office.
Agricultural practices and expanding local villages have had a negative impact on the forests at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro. If you look at satellite images of the area, just beyond the dense green ring of forests surrounding the mountain and the protected area of the national park, you can see "bald spots" where nature has been destroyed. This is exactly what happened near Lyasikika Secondary School on the bend of the Sere River.
The proximity of the field and the road right next to the river put pressure on the soil, and contributed to silt incorporating into the river. Likewise, the water of the rushing mountain river, in turn, erodes the riverbank. It may lead to changes in the shoreline, as well as waterlogging and road collapse in the future.
Therefore, it was necessary to restore the balance of nature and make it safer for humans, as well.
We worked together with the local authorities to achieve a healthier natural environment around the school.
How We Planted the Trees
We joined forces with the Kilimanjaro National Park authorities, as well as the representatives of the Lyamungo Village authority and the local school where the problem occurred to plant several hundred saplings along the river bed in the bare area.
Planting the trees along the riverbank would help prevent soil erosion while also, long-term, tackling the issue of ‘bald spots’ in the forests at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The whole process unfolded in several stages.
First, we purchased seedlings of various trees. It’ is important that strong plants with a branched root system togrow near the water, but trees that provide shade for short-growing plants should be planted in the middle section. Finally, near the road, it’s a good idea to plant low trees, including fruit-bearing ones that the students of the school can enjoy as a natural snack.
Next, using spiral drills, we made deep holes at an equal distance in a staggered pattern.
Finally, we planted the seedlings and strengthening their root systems with soil, and watered them.
Ongoing, the seedlings will need some care and attention 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, worked together to plant these seedlings.
We planted over 400 trees of eight species in total. Now, the task is to help these new trees get established by the river by tying up any unstable trees to stronger posts, and watering and fertilizing them regularly.
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.