King Charles III and Queen Camilla are undertaking an official State Visit to Kenya, with their itinerary seeing the royals staying in East Africa from Tuesday, October 31 to Friday, November 3, 2023.
That is exactly 12 years since Charles III, who was then known as the Prince of Wales, visited Tanzania and among other things, toured the Arusha National Park on foot, during an afternoon walking Safari.
To commemorate that occasion, Tanzania has just unveiled a special landmark in the park to honor of the royals visit to the country in November 2011.
There is now a special walking route inside the Arusha National Park tracing the footsteps of both the King and Queen as they trekked on foot at the foot of Mount Meru, Tanzania’s second highest peak.
The ‘Royal Trail,’ which the Arusha National Park management has just unveiled, also includes a memorial sign post erected next to a fig tree, the spot where King Charles III showed particular interest during his 2011 visit to Tanzania.
The signpost features an immortalized photo of both the King and Queen standing on the same place where the notice has been erected.
There is a short distance from where the fig tree stands and the Tululusia Waterfalls in the park.
It was only five days towards King Charles’ 63rd Birthday on November 11, 2011 when the then Prince of Wales together with the Queen Consort, Camilla Parker Bowles then Duchess of Cornwall undertook a lengthy nature walk in the Arusha National Park.
As he walked from the waterfalls during his tour, the King of the United Kingdom stopped at the tree and kept staring at it for quite some time; it was the feature which seemed to impress him most in the park.
Assistant Commissioner of Conservation, Yustina Kiwango explained that the Royals’ 2011 tour in Arusha National Park was a strict private excursion with only few officials allowed to accompany the dignitaries.
One of people who were in the entourage was the Senior Conservation Ranger of the Tanzania National Parks, Michael Ngatoluwa, who still works for the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the former Arusha National Park’s Chief Warden, Domician Njau.
Ranger Ngatoluwa reveals that King Charles III asked many questions about the fig tree at which the new sign post now stands.
Students from the Mweka College of African Wildlife Management in Kilimanjaro who happened to be around later on answered the Monarch’s questions to his satisfaction.
“In England there are fig trees but most people there plant them in their gardens and they never grow to be as big as this,” Ranger Ngatoluwa recalls King Charles’ comment.
During his more than 120 minutes tour of the park, the Royals saw various plants and wildlife species, including herds of buffaloes, giraffes and elephants.
The park’s trademark species happen to be the Black and White Colobus Monkeys but even these did not impress the Royals as much as the giant fig tree did.
King Charles III’s entourage at Arusha National Park was led by Richard Beatty of the African Environment safari company.
Two years later in 2013 Richard was awarded an Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain the late Elizabeth II, for his work as Honorary Consul in Arusha, Tanzania.