What Did King Charles III Do at the Foot of Mount Meru that summer afternoon?

One bright summer afternoon, the New King of the United Kingdom took a long Nature Stroll inside the Arusha National Park at the base of Tanzania’s second highest Mountain, Meru.

It was during the Monarch’s visit to Tanzania on November 9, 2011, just four days before the then Prince of Wales celebrated his Birthday to mark 63 years in life.

Unlike other tourists, who prefer to watch wildlife from the safety of their Safari vehicles, His Highness King Charles III then the Prince of Wales chose to walk on foot.

Together with Queen Consort Camilla Parker, he strolled around the Arusha National Park which features mostly forest cover, a volcanic crater and lakes.

This is despite the fact that the Monarch was wearing a white suit.

Senior Conservation Ranger of the Tanzania National Park, Michael Ngatoluwa recalls that King Charles III and Queen Consort, Camilla Parker braved the thick bushes as they threaded their way into the remote parts of the park.

The Queen Consort Camilla (Right) walking on makeshift bridge with Consular Richard Beatty (Left). Photo by Ranger Michael Ngatoluwa

“It was during the end of the dry season, there weren’t many animals on sight as most had taken refuge in the shades,” explains Ranger Ngatoluwa.

All the same, the Monarchs managed to trek past a herd of buffaloes, elephants and giraffes.

While Tarangire National Park is known for highest concentration of elephants, the Arusha boasts more than a Lion Share of Giraffes.

Arusha National Park’s resident species however happen to be the rare Black and White Colobus Monkey.

These kept jumping from one tree branch to another staring at the Royals below.

There is a big waterfall at the further end of the Arusha National Park. And as James Bond would have said, “I suspect it is the highlight of the tour!”

The water at the falls hit the base with thunder as it flows down from the Tululusia Hill.

The remote highlands used to be a battlefield during the pre-colonial tribal wars between the Meru and Maasai communities under the foot of Mount Meru.

King Charles III’s entourage at Arusha National Park was led by Richard Beatty of the African Environment safari company.

Beatty had previously concealed a gun shrouded in a canvass which was tied on the front fenders of a Toyota Landcruiser Safari truck.

It was until they started their bush walk from the waterfalls that Richard took out the firearm and flung it over his shoulders.

King Charles III wore a pair of black binoculars around his neck.

Later, as the delegation walked away from the waterfall, the Monarchs suddenly spotted a big fig tree, then their delegation came to a standstill.

King Charles III had stopped and started staring at the tree.

There are a variety of fig trees inside the Arusha National Park, including the iconic one which features a tunned large enough for vehicle to drive through.

But it was the one adjacent to Tululusia Waterfall which really seemed to attract the new King of England.

“In England there are fig trees but most people in the UK plant the fig trees in their home gardens and they usually never grow to be as big as this,” Ranger Ngatoluwa recalls King Charles’ commenting.

The Head of the Park, Assistant Conservation Commissioner, Yustina Kiwango says there are plans to erect special signboard at all spots that the Royals visited that bright summer afternoon in Arusha.

Located less than 40 kilometres from Arusha City and 30 Kilometres from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the Arusha National Park is the most accessible of all the 22 National Parks in Tanzania.

And the park has everything, a high-mountain, thick forests, Lakes, a Crater, rivers and the Serengeti-like plains.

Plus, this is where John Wayne shot his classic 1962 Film, ‘Hatari!’

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