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DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)

Area: 2,345,364 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

  • 1. ALBERT NATIONAL PARK: DRC;

(created  1925, enlarged 1929,1934, and 1935).

Originally created as a reserve to form a sanctuary for the mountain gorilla, Albert National Park extends from the volcanic shores of lake Kivu in the South to the rainforests around the middle semliki River in the north; that is, it lies on both sides of the equator . Its territory covers an extraordinary diversity of habitats, ranging from the equatorial lowland rainforest at 800m up to the permanent snow and glaciers on the Ruwenzori at 5,119m, an altitudinal range that gives a representative series of different types of climate and a variety of vegetation Zones. In  this remarkably rich complex of habitats there are many plant and animal species with endemic or restricted distribution, the best known being the mountain gorilla, which lives in the Virunga volcanoes. The great value of the Albert National Park is that it can be regarded as an ecosystem where man does not interfere.

  • Geographical location;

Kivu province, eastern DRC.

  • Accessibility: By plane to Goma, South of the park then by road (about 160km from Goma to Rwindi camp).
  • Accommodation: Rwindi camp between Rutshuru and lake Edward.

GEOLOGY: The Albert National park is part of the western Rift valley.  Of the eight large volcanoes of the virunga chain, two are still active with frequent eruptions; Nyamuragira (3,058m) and Nyiragongo (3,471m).

Old and recent lava fields cover the high plains between the two active volcanoes and the extinct volcanoes in the eastern sector,  mikeno (4,427m), Karisimbi (4,507m), Visoke (3,711m), Sabinio (3,634m), Gahinga (3,474m), and Muhavura (4,127m).

The giant snow- capped Ruwenzori (5,119m),  third highest mountain in Africa,  is a horst and much older than the virungas, which probably originated during the Quaternary.

TOPOGRAPHY:

Straddling the equator, the park embraces large and small lakes at various levels, marshes, bogs, rivers, different types of savannas and forests, all montane vegetation belts, extinct and living volcanoes, hot springs,  lava plains, and  non-volcanic mountains (Ruwenzori).

The two largest lakes of the park belong to different water systems; lake Kivu to the Congo basin and lake Edward to the Nile system.

CLIMATE:

Altitudinal differences have a strong influence on temperature, rainfall,  humidity,  and evaporation at various levels of the reserve. There are no pronounced dry or rainy seasons.

FLORA: The park covers all of the main habitats of tropical Africa (except deserts, semi deserts, and marine biotopes).

The plains surrounding lake Edward and the Rwindi, Rutshuru, and Semliki rivers are savannas of different types; some covered by grasses (species belonging to genera like Themeda, Heteropogon, Imperata, Cymbopogon, Hyparrhenia, Sporobolus) with patches of bush – acacias, combretums or bush –willows,  and maeruas; other savannas have euphorbias scattered over vast areas; the plains north of  lake Edward are dominated by acacia forests.

Mountain rainforests with a wealth of plants and animals cover the lower slopes of the vitunga volcanoes and the Ruwenzori. Above the montane rainforests,  extending up to 2,300- 2500m, there are belts of bamboos, hagenia or Kusso forests, heaths or ericaceous species (Erica and Philippia), dense growths of st. Johns worts , afro- alpine species of Lobelias and groundsels, and finally grasses, mosses,  and lichens.  On Ruwenzori, glaciers fill the upper most zone.

MAMMALS: These open grasslands and tree savannas offer views of most of the larger ungulates of the park. Elephants and buffaloes are very numerous; among the antelopes, species like the Kob, the Topi, and the defassa waterbuck are the most common, but reedbucks and bushbucks occur. Warthogs are common while their relatives, the giant forest hog and the African bush pig, chiefly nocturnal, are common though seldom seen. The spotted hyena is the most often encountered of the larger carnivores. Lions and leopards are common but not so easily seen  since they rest during the  day. Among other carnivores of the savannas; the side- striped jackal, Banded mongoose, African civet, African wildcat, and serval. Olive baboons and vervet monkeys are characteristic animals on bush and tree- savannas. Rivers are lined with wild date palms and inhabited by hippopotamuses (Albert National Park) has Africa's densest population), which are also common along the shores of Lake Edward. Though they may also graze in the daytime, they leave their water refuges chiefly at night to graze on the plains, mostly on the panicum grass. The transition zone between the enormous equatorial lowland rainforest and the mountain rainforest has a remarkably high number of plant and animal species,  the most interesting being the Okapi, the bongo, and the Chimpanzee. Above the Montane rain forest belt the most famous and interesting animal in this park is the mountain gorilla that lives in the hagenia forests of the virunga volcanoes at an elevation between 3,000 and 3,500 meters.

BIRDS: Passerines, pigeons, vultures, Eagles, Kites, waders, Francolins, and Many others are seen almost everywhere. Marshy river deltas and many bays of Lake Edward, which has abundant fish, are extremely rich in birds,particularly during September- April with a multitude of migratory waders and herons and also large numbers of purely African birds such as pelicans, storks, ducks, gallirules, and birds of prey.

 

2) GARAMBA NATIONAL PARK (Created 1938) DRC;

The park National de la Garamba has boundaries contiguous with the Sudan in the north- east and with a game reserve in the South west. Originally it was established to protect the populations of the square- lipped rhinoceros, one of the rarest mammals in Africa.

  • Geographical location: Uele district, NE DRC.
  • Area: 492,000 ha.
  • Climate: Tropical; semi moist in rainy season,  arid in the long dry period (Nov-March) tsetse flies absent.

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

An ancient peneplain, the region of this park is a vast undulating platean with a few isolated hills (inselbergs); elevation;  710- 1061 meters.

FLORA: Woodlands, wooded savannas, and enormous Treeless grasslands (annually swept by fires) form a forest- savanna mosaic, with important gallery forests fringing the Garamba River. Grasses are chiefly loudetia arundinacea and  Hyparrhenia that reach in June a height of more than two meters. Tallest grass; Urelytrum thyrsoides over 5m. In the woodlands are bauhinias dombeyas, erythrinas or coral trees; in the gallery forests; Irvingia smith,  date palms,  khayas, fig or rubber trees, water- berry trees, and flambeau trees.

MAMMALS: Originally the park contained about a third of the world population of the square- lipped rhinoceros and more than half of the north eastern race of this species. Giraffes, Hartbeests, Kobs, Waterbucks,  and Hippopotamuses are found. Others are chimpanzees, olive  baboons, colobi, vervets, and 5 other species of monkeys, as well as wild dogs,  otters (2 species),  mongooses (5 species),  Golden cats, Leopards, Lions, Warthogs, Bush pigs, Giant forest hogs and other 7 species of Antelopes.

 

3) UPEMBA NATIONAL PARK (created 1939) DRC;

The Park National del' Upemba, second largest reserve of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is  located in the Katanga in the tropical southern savanna belt. Its diversified habitats range from lakes, swamps, and savannas to woods, forests and highland prairies, a diversity arising from its situation at the border of two  biogeographically region; the Guinean and the Zambesian. The park offers vast landscapes with far- off horizons.

  • Geographical location: Katanga , SE DRC.
  • Size: 950,000 ha.

 

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

The two high plateaus of Kibara in the north and Biano in the South, relics of an ancient peneplain covering an immense area of Katanga, are today separated by an extensive geologic fissure, part of the graben of Kamolondo. This National Park is characterized by the lake Upemba depression with many lakes and swamps drained by the Lufua River and by the Luabala River) which,  on its way to the Atlantic ocean, changes its name to Congo River, recently renamed the Zaire River).

CLIMATE: In general, temperate on the high plateaus,  diversified by elevation differences (500-1,860m).

FLORA: The lowland comprise aquatic habitats,  with papyrus, joint vetches,  and cat tails,  grassy savannas fringing lakes and swamps: gallery forests with khayas( Mahogany) and fig or rubber trees along river courses; lowland bushy or wooded savannas of Miombo type with uapaca trees, bark –cloth trees, palmyra palms,  sansevieria, hyparrhenia grass,  sat- in tail grass and panicum or witch grass. Somewhat higher are gallery forests with raffia palms and Bamboos and the open Katangase forest,  one of the most beautiful in Africa, dominated by bark- cloth trees and isoberlinia. The highlands have aquatic habitats; Marshy savannas,  and wooded savannas with satin- tail grass; gallery forests along rivers;  and primary savannas of the high plateau with a great variety of herbs.

MAMMALS: Hippopotamuses, waterbucks,  buffaloes, and elephants; on the high plateaus are roans, elands,  lichtenstein’s hartebeests, and Zebras, sable antelopes are found in the forests.  Monkeys (6 species),  lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, wild dog, bush pig, warthog,  and 8 species of antelopes other than those already mentioned.

BIRDS: Waterbirds gather in fabulous numbers in the lowlands. There are 31 species of raptors in the reserve.

REPTILES: 2 crocodiles and 10 species of chameleons.

 

 

ZIMBABWE

ZIMBABWE:

Area: 390,866 Square kilometres.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. CHIMANIMANI NATIONAL PARK (created 1950). ZIMBABWE;

A highland wilderness area of Great scenic splendor: Rugged, castellated mountains, Deep gorges, tumbling cascades and waterfalls, rolling grasslands, evergreen forests, crystal clear streams,  deep pools, Bogs and swamps- all this only a few hours from Harare.

  • Geographical location:

Along the Mozambique border, east of Melsetter and chipinga.

  • Area: 8,166 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road from Melsetter village.

TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE:

South of Umtali, the area of the park includes the chimanimani Range and is close to a lowland forest of great interest, the Makurupini – Haroni Forest  near the confluence of the Haroni  And Lusitu rivers.

A rainfall of 1,100 mm (even up to 4,000mm in isolated areas of the mts) brings a lushness and greenness in contrast with most other areas of Rhodesia. The semi- arid bush country of the sabi valley beneath the Chimanimani highlands is one extreme of the wide range of habitats of this region.

 

FLORA;

Vegetation consists chiefly of montane communities. At the southern foot of the mts ( at elevation of 305m) near the Haroni- Lusitu river junction, there is a lowland rainforest,  unique because high rainfall at low altitudes is normally non existent  in Rhodesia. Here trees like Filicium decipiens, Blighia unijugata, parinari, and Erythrophleum form forests. From altitudes of about 1,220 m and upward are patches of evergreen montane forests and scrub associations of philippia, Erica,  and Protea. Valleys and slopes are colorful with flowers.

BIRDS: In the Rainforest near the river confluence are found among many others. Chestnut – fronted helmet shrike, Grosbeak weaver, Green coucal and lourie.

INVERTEBRATES: For butterflies, moths,  and other insects,  the chimanimani Range has the reputation of being one of the richest areas in Southern Africa.

  • 2. RHODES MATOPOS NATIONAL PARK (created 1953); ZIMBABWE;

With its fantastic granite Kopjes hills strange rock formations, caves with ancient rock paintings, numerous pools, wild animals, scenic landscape, and historic memories, the Matopos National Park offers  much of interest. Human history goes back here atleast as far as the middle stone Age, the numerous caves sheltering the earliest people. Bushman cave paintings of men and animals such as elephants, square- lipped rhinoceroses, Giraffes, and Kudu antelopes were made by Bushmen, certainly before the first Bantu tribes ever took possession of these hills. The Matopos hills also played an important role during the Matabele Rebellion in 1896;  Cecil Rhodes camped alone there during his successful negotiations with the rebels.Later he chose the Matopos as his burial place.

  • Geographical location:

In Matabeleland,  32 km south of Bulawayo.

  • Area: 43,320 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road from Bulawayo.

 

 

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

The “Kloofs” (Ravines) and “Kopjes” (Rocky hills) are explained  by the forcing upward through the schist of a great mass of granite, semifluid under great pressure. As it slowly cooled, lines of cleavage developed that, along with weather action over millions of years, sculptured the rounded, balancing boulders piled atop each other. The park’s green  valleys with permanent water and well- wooded Kopjes  have  a higher rainfall and a richer vegetation than the surrounding dry thorny bush and Mopane- woodlands-  the area is a sort of large oasis on the northern edge of the dry bushveld.

FLORA: The  woodland is chiefly made up of Julbernardium globiflora; other trees representing eastern floral elements; Erythrinaly sistemon, Streptocarpus eylesii, and Calodendrum capense. Striking winter- flowering plants are succulents of the crassula group, traveller’s joy (clematis), Pterolobium exosum, the Redwing that climbs to the tops of the tallest trees, cream- colored proteas, and four species of aloes. The meadows are covered with white- flowered habenaria and other ground orchids. White and mauve waterlilies, yellow ottelia,  and treeferns grow on or near the streams and pools:

MAMMALS: The following may be observed;  Sable antelope, Greater Kudu, Impala, Duiker, steenbok, klipspringer, Eland, Wildebeest, Giraffe, Buffalo, Zebra, Warthog, Rock hyrax. Troops of  Baboons and vervets are common. Among  the carnivores; Leopards are fairly common; civets and genets may also be seen.

BIRDS: African rock swallow, the little rush warbler, and the purple- crested Lourie; often observed; Augur buzzards, white- necked ravens, Red- winged starlings, sooty babblers, mocking chats, and rock pigeons. Migrants; willow warblers,  European swallows, Bee- eaters, white storks, Abdim storks, and red- chested cuckoos. Black eagles prey chiefly on rock hyraxes.

  • 3. WANKIE NATIONAL PARK (created Game Reserve 1927, National Park 1949); ZIMBABWE;
  • This national park, one of the most accessible sanctuaries in Africa and one of the largest, protects huge numbers of elephants, Lions and other animals.

 

Geographical location:

Western Zimbabwe, about 112km south west of victoria falls,  256 km NW of Bulawayo.

Size: 1,439,080 ha

Accessibility: An airstrip near  Main Camp.

GEOLOGY: Reworked Kalahari sand about 70m thick underlies most of the area and with the exception of the Zambesi drainage system no older rocks are exposed.

FLORA: The most important habitat is the Mopane woodland occupying large areas; some pans are surrounded by savanna of Acacia uncinata and Lonchocarpus nelsii. Camel thorns and characteristic of drier savanna tracts; some parts of the park have forests of Rhodesian teak; in valley grasslands Baobabs may be common.

MAMMALS: The elephant population is probably the largest in southern Africa; Also Buffaloes are numerous. A great quantity of Antelopes include Roan , Sable, Wildebeest, and Greater Kudu are fairly generally distributed, as are Giraffe, Zebra, and Lion. Lions are a specialty of Wankie National Park, where they exist in such numbers that it is difficult to miss them on any visit, particularly in the northern sector of the reserve where the tsessebbe  (sassaby), impala, and waterbuck are also chiefly found. The oryx usually occurs around the reserve Ngweshla pan in the Southern sector. Other species a visitor may see in the reserve, Eland, Duiker, Reedbuck, Steenbuck, Bushbuck, Klipspringer,  Baboon, Cheetah, leopard and wilddog.

BIRDS: The hot dry savanna vegetation harbors among others the scrub robin, the ant- eating chat, the rufous- naped lark that is almost omnipresent in African savannas, the sandgrouse (3 species),  Koribustard, helmeted guinea fowl, Francolins, the ostrich, and large birds of prey such as many species of eagles and vultures. Other ornithological highlights are saddle- billed storks and dark chanting goshawks.

 

 

  • 4. VICTORIA FALLS NATIONAL PARK (Created Game Reserve 1939, National Park 1952); ZIMBABWE.

The Victoria Falls, Largest sheet of falling water in the world, is one of the great sights of Africa and certainly one of the greatest natural wonders of the world. The grandeur of the area is still unspoiled and as enthralling as in 1855 when the first whiteman, David Livingstone, viewed the world’s mightiest billowing curtain of water. The national park protects part of the falls, the gorges, the mist forest fronting the falls, the gallery forest along the river banks, and an area of woodland savannas with a variety of animals.

On the northern bank, in Zambia, is Livingstone’s Game Park, protecting Antelopes, Giraffe, and Zebras, Bushpigs and Warthogs.

Geographical location:

Southern bank of Zambesi River, NW corner of Rhodesia.

Size: 59,307 ha.

Climate: Summers hot; average annual temperature about 68oF; annual rainfall (chiefly in summer); 600-700mm.

Accessibility: By air, rail, and road.

TOPOGRAPHY: The Zambesi River,  rising in mts near the Congo- Zambia border, flows through Angola and Zambia and spreads over a wide plateau area above the falls. With a width of 1,650 meters the river drops into a fissure of basalt; below the falls it has cut a deep and narrow gorge winding downward for about 100km to the Zambesi- Matetsi confluence. The giant ditch clearly exposes four horizontal lava flows. The most majestic frontal views of the falls are obtained along a trail extending from devil’s cataract at the western end in Zimbabwe to Eastern cataract in Zambia.

At several points spray from the falls is very heavy (particularly in January – August), the river is at its  highest and the falls most impressive in April- May, but clouds of spray often obscure the thundering  water. Islands divide the crest of the falls into five separate waterfalls; greatest height (102m); Rainbow falls; widest span (732m); main falls between cataract and Living stone islands. Water races over Devil’s cataract at 160 km an hour.

FLORA: The “rain” forest sustained by the mist and spray from the falls contains tall African ebony and various figs; it continues on the west side along much of the length of the falls;

A huge baobab outside the rainforest has a 21 meter circumference. There are various types of savannas and woodlands with patches of Zimbabwe teak; tree savannas also have wild seringa and Dialium; bark- cloth trees dominate on tracts with Kalahari sand, and near the Zambesi there are savannas with baobabs and the Doum palm.

MAMMALS: The Park has impressive herds of sable antelope and eland. Along the river,  elephant and hippopotamus are prevalent. Buffalo grazes in several areas. Other large species include giraffe, bushbuck, greater Kudu, waterbuck, Impala, reedbuck, duiker, Zebra, Warthog, Baboon, Lion and Leopard. In the volcanic rocks of the Batoka Gorge lives a strong population of rock hyraxes.

BIRDS: Species like the African wood owl, the fishing owl, and the nicator may be seen in the riverine forest. The beautiful Madagascar bee –eater, a migrant from the east, hunts insects above the river, and trumpeter hornbills can be seen in flapping flight passing overhead. Large birds in the national park include Egyptian geese, Kori bustards, and white - backed duck. In the gorges the extremely rare Taifa falcon has one of its few known breeding places.

OTHER VERTERBRATES: In the river are crocodiles and tiger fish , silvery- golden with black longitudinal stripes and large impressive teeth.

MOZAMBIQUE

MOZAMBIQUE;

Area: 774,701 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. GORONGOSA NATIONAL PARK (Created a game reserve 1921, National park 1960). MOZAMBIQUE;
  • This protected area offers varied landscapes of vast open plains, woodland savannas, lovely glades, closed woods, gallery forests along river banks, swamps, pools, and lakes.
  • GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Central Mozambique, 137 km NW Beira, 203 km from umtali , Zimbabwe.
  • Climate: Very heavy rains (Nov- December ).
  • Accessibility: From Beira.

FLORA: Grassy savannas occupy large areas of the park; thorny acacias dominate the wooded savanna and open woodlands. Other savannas have euphorbias and broad- leaved trees, such as terminalias and baobabs. Doum palms and fever trees fringe open glades; dwarf palms are common. Locally, the ground is covered by sensitive plants (Mimosa pudica).

MAMMALS: Elephants and buffaloes are found throughout the park. Common all over the plain and the open woodlands are the blue wildebeest (Brindled gru), and the Zebra. In the bush and wooded savannas are impalas, oribis, lichtenstein’s hartebeests, bushbucks,  and waterbucks; Reedbucks frequent savannas with moister soils or woodlands with fresh grass and bushes; elands are found in all habitats. Other antelopes in the park ; two species of duikers (Cephalophus natalensis and C. caeruleus) and the southern suni.

The greater Kudu and the Nyala are rare in Gorongosa. Warthogs and Bushpigs are common. Lions and Leopards roam the savannas, though the latter prefer bushlands and woods.

Among other carnivores; cheetah, caracal, wilddog, black-backed and side- striped jackals, spotted hyenas,  and honey badgers (Ratels).

Baboons and vervets are common;  in the woods are blue monkeys and 2 species of bush babies (Galagos)- the Senegal and bush-tailed.

BIRDS: Some 339 species of birds have been recorded. Spectacular number of storks,  crested cranes, egrets, and pelicans congregate along the Urema River.

REPTILES: Crocodiles are plentiful in the Urema River,  the two species in the park; the African and small long- snouted crocodile. The python is also to be found.

ANGOLA

ANGOLA;

Area: 1,251, 513 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  1. QUICAMA NATIONAL PARK (Created game reserve 1938, Nationak Park 1957); ANGOLA;
  • The Parque Nacional de Quicama bordering the Atlantic ocean serves as a refuge for many interesting animals.
  • Geographical location: About 70 km south of Luanda.
  • Size: 996,000 ha.
  • Climate: Relatively dry.
  • Accessibility: By road (80km) from Luanda).

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

  • Most of the area consists of ancient pre - Cambrian rocks hidden under sandy soils. From the coastal plains in the west, the land gradually rises to hills and plateaus.

FLORA: The whole park is within the savanna belt stretching across southern Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian ocean. Quicama has a coastal strip of grasslands dominated by millet, or bristle grass; in the eastern part the savanna changes into thickets with strychnos and dry woodlands with ptaeroylon, Croton, Adansonia, Sterculia, Balanites, Commiphora, and Euphorbia.

MAMMALS: Animals are abundant;  among the particularly interesting species are the eland,  the cheetah and the West African manatee, one of Africa’s rarest mammals. Among other species; elephants, buffaloes, hippos, Roans, Reedbucks, bushbucks, wild dogs, spotted hyenas, Leopards, and the Lions. Vervet monkeys are common, as well as bush pigs and warthogs.

BIRDS AND REPTILES: Diverse bird fauna. Crocodiles occur in the river.

ZAMBIA

Area: 749,138 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. KAFUE NATIONAL PARK (Created 1959, National Park status, 1961);ZAMBIA

Kafue National Park situated in the heart of the western part of Zambia, the reserve consists of flat woodlands and open grasslands intersected by extensive flood plains and swamps. Principal rivers (all of which are tributaries of the Kafue) include the Musa, Lufupa, and the Lunga. The Fauna is very rich in species and individuals. Seasonally the flood plains are densely populated with game and with an interesting range of aquatic birdlife. Between Lusaka and the Kafue National Park lie the Kafue Flats with two nature reserves, Lochinvar and the Blue lagoon, inhabited by great numbers of Kafue lechwe and by aquatic birds.

  • Geographical location:

Western Zambia.

  • Area: 2,240,000 ha.
  • Climate: semi-arid; dry season normally from June to November.
  • Accessibility: By road and by air; Lusaka, 232 km; Livingstone, 200 km, Ndola, 398 km;  Lubumbashi (Elizabethville), Democratic Republic of Congo, 800 km; scheduled flights provide regular service during the dry season on some of the Lusaka- Livingstone (Victoria Falls) runs.
  • Accommodation: Ngoma camp and many other camps.

GEOLOGY:

Seasonally flooding rivers have carved broad valleys in the plateau of the Kafue National Park, which consists of ancient pre- Cambrian rocks covered by sandy soils. In the S part are clay soils.

TOPOGRAPHY: Though large expanses of the National Park are “Miombo” flatlands, there are undulating plains and rolling hills. In the rainy season extensive areas of the valley plains are water- logged, alluvial strips of grass. The Kafue River flows within the park for approximately 160 km and forms its boundary for some further 96 kilometers. Average elevation is about 1,300 meters.

FLORA: Typical Miombo woodlands formed by several species of Brachystegia and Julbernardia occur throughout the National Park; Other parts consist of grasslands or swamps; the southeast has mopane woodlands. Two forest patches with Terminalia and other taller trees and thickets with Rhodesian teak add to the variety.

MAMMALS: There are three subspecies (Races) of Lechwe found in Zambia. A herd of red lechwes is preserved on the Busanga flood plains within the national park. This is one of the strongest surviving breeding herds known to exist in Zambia. Other antelopes to be seen; waterbuck, Puku, Impala, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, blue wildebeest (brindled gru), greater Kudu, sitatunga, sable, roan, bushbuck, reedbuck, steenbok, sharpe's grysbok, duiker, blue duiker, oribi,  klipspringer,  and eland. Other mammals include buffalo, Zebra, Elephant, Hippopotamus, warthogs, Bush pig, Baboon, Vervet, Lion, Leopard, Caracal, Serval, Cheetah, Spotted hyena, Aardwolf, Wild dog, Side- striped jackal, Pangolin, Ant- bear(aardvark, and seven species of Mongoose.

BIRDS: Among the fantastic birdlife along the flood plains the number of saddle- billed storks is particularly striking. Best areas for birds are the Busanga plain and on the river banks.

Above the savannas, eagles like the bateleur and the martial eagle, as well as four species of vultures, can be seen soaring.

 

OTHER VERTEBRATES: The rivers contain crocodiles in abundance and fishes like barbel and bream

 

2) LUANGWA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK (Created 1938; upgraded to national park 1971); ZAMBIA

An extraordinary variety of large mammals occurs in the Luangwa valley National Park. During the dry season there are spectacular concentrations of animals and birds along the bends and turns of the meandering Luangwa River. The surrounding great valley offers beautiful scenes of virgin country.

 

  • Geographical location: Eastern Zambia, 135 km from the Malawi border.
  • Area: 1,290,000 ha
  • Climate: Hot and dry; dry season, May 15 – October 30.
  • Accessibility: By air and by road; airstrips at Mfuwe, the park’s lodge (Fort Jameson airport, 135 km, and Lusaka, 736 km)
  • Accommodation: Many camps; bookings through Zambia National Tourist Bureau, Box 17, Lusaka.

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

The Luangwa valley is a rift valley with a flat floor, bounded on the west by the steep Muchinga Mts. The Luangwa River constantly change its course, forming oxbows and lagoons of great importance for the animals. The reserve is relatively well watered by the Luangwa River and its tributaries during the dry season. During the rains the valley is flooded several miles back from the river,  and these in undations provide favorable conditions for many species and individuals.

FLORA: The park is divided about equally into three main vegetation types; the lower lying areas contain acacia and combretum woodlands on the more recent fertile alluvial soils. Mopane woodland is also common on heavy low- lying soils, providing important forage for many browsing species. “Miombo” (Brachystegia and Julbernardia) woodland is found on the sandier, well drained sites.

MAMMALS: The national park has an abundance of mammals; many thousands of Elephants, Hippopotamuses, and Buffaloes as well as many species of antelopes. Waterbuck and Puku thrive, particularly in the wet areas along the main river where many other species may also be found; Impala, roan, eland, greater kudu, bushbuck, wildebeest, zebra, and giraffe. The valley is the last stronghold of former black rhinoceros in Zambia. Carnivores are lion and leopard; the cheetah occurs at least occasionally. Other mammals include bushbaby, vervet blue monkey,  yellow baboon, Ant bear (Aardvark), wild dog, side- striped jackal (uncommon), spotted hyena, honey badger, otter, civet, mongoose (5 species), serval, caracal, warthog, bushpig, and sharpe’s grysbok. The klipspringer is common in the escarpment. Throughout the valley in the foothills there are lichtenstein’s hartebeest and duiker.

BIRDS: During the dry season marvelous concentrations of waterfowl and other aquatic birds gather on the pans fringing the Luangwa River. Herons, storks, ibises, spoonbills, ducks, geese, rails,  moorhens, jacanas, and waders of many species. Game  birds such as francolins and guinea fowl are ubiquitous. At least 6 species of eagles and 4 of vultures are usually seen. Carmine bee- eaters, arriving in September, nest in colonies in holes in the river’s sandy banks, and often associate with the white- fronted and little bee -  eaters.

REPTILES: Crocodiles are common, often occurring close to the hippos.

 

3) NSUMBU NATIONAL PARK (Created Game Reserve 1942, National Park 1971); ZAMBIA.

This is the only national park located on the shores of lake Tanganyika, a lake that has remarkable fish fauna. The reserve covers a considerable area of the valley plains and marshes surrounding the Lufubu River and its estuary into lake Tanganyika. The area is rich in game, particularly elephants and various antelopes. The lodges at Kasaba and Nkamba bays as well as at Nsumbu are within the reserve.

  • Geographical location: Northern most Zambia.
  • Area: 200,000 ha
  • Climate: Hot, but with a fresh breeze blowing from the lake; relatively dry.
  • Accessibility: By road from the Great North Road via Mporokoso; by boat (Tanganyika lake); and by air (twice weekly flights from Lusaka)
  • Accommodation: Two lodges, Kasaba and Nkamba , and a camp at Nsumbu.

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

Gigantic forces created the enormous earth fissures at lake Tanganyika, the longest lake in the world (650km) and second deepest (1, 436m), situated at 775m above sea level at the floor of the western Rift valley. The surrounding mts. rise to 3,000 meters. Deltas of alluvial sediments occur at the mouths of minor streams running into the lake. Most of the shore line is rocky but there are several sandy beaches and also dunes.

FLORA: The deltas support graves of acacias; close to the shore the slopes are covered by thickets of combretums and Bussea. At higher levels are woodlands formed by bark- cloth trees and Jubernardia intersected by smaller grassy plains. Extensive, seasonally wet grassland plains provide key areas for the grazing animals.

MAMMALS:

Elephants are numerous and often wander peacefully around the two lodges. Other mammals include duiker (unusually common), duiker, puku, eland, roan,  sable antelope, lichtenstein's hartebeest, waterbuck, bushbuck, sharpe's grysbok, klipspringer, zebra, buffalo, warthog, rock hyrax, lion, leopard and spotted hyena.

Hippopotamuses frequent the shores of lake Tanganyika.

BIRDS:

A rich birdlife includes many large species, among them; the palm- nut vulture and fish eagle. The osprey, white – winged black tern, and lesser black- backed gull are migrants from Europe  or Asia. Many waders pass by or rest on the shores hold a wealth of other birds.

REPTILES: Crocodiles occur along the lake shores. The small endemic water snake and the poisonous but shy water cobra, which grows to about three meters, are common.

FISHES: As many as 42 genera of fish are peculiar to lake Tanganyika , which reflects eons of time of evolution and also the age of the lake itself. Of all the animals living in the lake, 75 percent do not occur elsewhere in the world. The lake  contains over 230 species of fish, which at least 140 species are endemic.

Crystal clear waters give wonderful opportunities for skin diving and for watching many of the littoral fishes. The most characteristic  fishes of the lake are cichlids, of which there are 94 endemic species (all these cichlids take care of their eggs and young). Commonest fish;  a small clupeid species, in swahili called “Dagaa” . Mormyrids attract observers because of their elephant like snouts. Also common giant catfish, electric catfish, sangala, Tiger fish, and giant tigerfish. Many of these species weigh up to 32-45 kg). Big game fishing at both Kasaba and Nkamba bays, almost always successful,  has become a popular attraction.

MALAWI

MALAWI

Area: 93,860 Square kilometres.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. MALAWI NATIONAL PARK (Created 1966); MALAWI

Located on the Nyika plateau, it extends over  mountains, hills, and plains and has large numbers of Ungulates grazing at different levels and also a great variety of birdlife.

  • Geographical location: Northern Malawi
  • Size: 84,170 ha

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

The plateau consists of a large intrusion of granite into beds of sediments (fine- grained and pebbly sandstones) and coarse grits of quartzite and phyllistic types with interaction of schist.

CLIMATE: Though the area is barely 100 below the equator and surrounded by pure tropics, the climate is intermediate between temperate and tropical. Frosts have been regularly recorded from late May to early October. Rainy season;  December- April.

FLORA:

Grasslands chiefly occupy the plateau composed of Loudetia simplex and Exotheca abyssinica, and locally of extensive stands of Festuca schimperiana. (More than 50 other species of grasses include Themeda triandra, Hyparrhenia cymbaria, Andropogon schirensis). Below the grasslands are dry bark- cloth tree woodlands of the Miombo type characteristic for large tracts of Africa S. of the equator. Above, at 1,676 meters, is a secondary montane forest, often swept by fires, dominated by Hagenia abyssinica, Rapanea melanophleos, and Polyscias fulva. Unburned habitats are evergreen forests composed of Podocarpus milanjianus and cedars, and locally of Entandrophragma excelsa and Aningeria adolfi – friederici. Camphor trees appear in moister habitats as well as tree fems.

MAMMALS: The most abundant species to be found grazing are eland, roan, and zebra; other grazers; klipspringer, duiker, red duiker, blue duiker, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, bushbuck, reedbuck, and warthog. Among the carnivores; leopard, lion  cheetah, serval, side- striped jackal, and wild dog, and course several of the smaller species.

BIRDS: Ground hornbills,  Denham’s bustards, and wattled cranes.

SOUTH AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA

Area: 1,228,133km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS:

  • 1. KRUGER NATIONAL PARK (created game reserve 1898, National Park 1926); SOUTH AFRICA;

Situated between the Limpopo and Levubu rivers in the north and the crocodile River in the south, Kruger National Park, one of the world's largest, occupies land that is mainly flat, varying from open plains and thick bushes to mopane woodlands and wooded hills, kopjes, and low mountains.

  • Geographical location: Eastern Transvaal, along the border of Mozambique.
  • Area: 1,817,146 ha.
  • Best visiting: Winter (May 1-October 15)

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

Granite,  the oldest geological formation, underlies western half of park and is exposed as kopjes; the eastern half belongs to the Karoo system of more recent formation. The Krunger N/Park is in the lowest part of Transvaal (altitude; 150-610 meters).

CLIMATE: Warm, fairly dry. Rainfall chiefly in summer months (October- March), 375-500mm a year in N/Part of park, 500-875mm in SW and SE parts. Severe droughts occur irregularly. January temperature; 860F; July 730F

FLORA: Regionally there are five main vegetation associations; Around Pretorius kop in the SW part, there is a large- leaved deciduous bush and woodland, chiefly combretums- Zulu bush willow, Zayher’s bush willow, and velvet –leaf bush willow- and silver terminalia, with an understory of tall grasses. South of olifants River, also in SW, is an association of mixed veld with predominant red bush willow, knob thorn, marula,  lowveld terminalia, and Eragrostis superba. In the SE quarter lies open parkland with Knob thorns, marulas, and umbrella thorns,  joined in low areas by leadwood and Ilala palm. A mopane woodland has colonized the N half; near the Levubu River, stony slopes have large  baobabs, graceful white seringas, and salt-wooded cork wood. A forest in NW portion has Rhodesian mahogany, Sycamore fig, Transvaal ebony, and mountain mahogany.

MAMMALS: Among the many antelope species; Impala in large numbers, greater Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck, Steenbok, Sharpe’s grysbok, Duiker, Red duiker, Klipspringer, Roan, Sable antelope, Waterbuck, Blue wildebeest, Tsessebe, Reedbuck, Mountain reedbuck, and Eland. Other grazers and browsers in this fantastic animal community; Warthog, Bushpig, Zebra, Giraffe, and Buffalo. There are Elephants and Hippopotamuses. Major and minor carnivores control herbivorous populations; spotted hyena, brown hyena, aardwolf, wild dog, black-backed jackal, side-striped jackal, bat-eared fox, lion, leopard, cheetah, serval, wildcat, mongoose (5 species)- banded, slender, Ichneuman, white-tailed, and dwarf). Clawless otter, honey badger (Ratel), civet, Rusty-spotted genet, small-spotted genet. Still other mammals; bush babies (2 species), chacma baboon, velvet, antbear, cape pangolin, porcupine, and rock hyrax.

BIRDS: Some 400 species have been recorded. The three tallest ground birds most often seen are ostrich,  kori bustard, and secretary bird. Other large birds include crested and crowned guinea fowl, Francolins (5 species), Hornbills (6 species), saddle billed stork, vultures (5 species), Eagles (9 species), lesser birds of grey (20 species),  and rollers (3 species).

OTHER VERTEBRATES:

There are nearly 100 species of Reptiles, including crocodiles, pythons, and cobras, about 30 species of amphibians,  about 50 of fishes.

 

2) KALAHARI GEMSBOK NATIONAL PARK (Created 1931); SOUTH AFRICA;

-The Kalahari National Park, situated between the Auob and Nossob rivers, borders south- west Africa and straddles the border between South Africa and Southern Botswana. More than half of the area lies in Botswana, but the whole reserve is administered by the National Parks Board of South Africa. Nomadic Bushmen live in the area.

- Set within the rather in hospitable desert region of the Kalahari sand veld, the park supports an amazing wealth of animals despite its aridity and meager vegetation. The normal maximum rainfall in this extremely parched landscape is only 125 millimeters.

- This national park was established mainly for the protection of migratory antelopes; gemsboks, springboks, blue wildebeests, and elands. The lions of Kalahari have the reputation of having the finest manes in all Africa.

  • Geographical location: NW corner of Cape province
  • Area: S.Africa; 895,316 ha; Botswana; 2,452,400 ha.

TOPOGRAPHY: The Kalahari Desert, largest of the desert regions south of the Sahara, is a huge sand- filled basin. The park covers an area of sand dunes, colored  red by iron oxide, and extensive plains ( elevation; about 1,200 meters).

Rarely is there any surface water, the rain sinking immediately into the sands. The dry, firm beds of the Auob and Nassob rivers (which make excellent roads) are filled with water only once or twice in a century. Several bare holes have been constructed to supply animals with water.

CLIMATE: Extremely arid and hot (often over 1000F in summer), with frequent strong winds. Nights can be quite cool. Winters may have long cold periods, even with frosts. Persistent droughts are common, but abundant rains may finally interrupt and the vegetation recover.

FLORA: Biologically most of the parks area is a semi desert with sparse vegetation. The dunes have become stabilized by a variety of grasses ( mostly Aristida and Eragrostis) and shrubs (Rhigozum obovata, Grewia flava, and Acacia destinens are common). There are even trees, forming a kind of arid parkland, including the camel thorn (Acacia giraffae), another acacia (A. haematoxylon), and the witgot. After the rains the dunes are miraculously covered with grasses, such as gemsbok kom kommer and Isamma.

MAMMALS: Thousands of gemsboks graze over the dunes keeping together in herds. The springbok  appears in huge herds. The blue wilde beest (Brindled gnu) appears in herds of hundreds, and the eland in herds numbering a hundred or more.

Four other antelope species occur in the park;  red (cape) hartebeest, greater kudu, duiker, and steenbok. Among those antelopes live the lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, serval, black- tailed cat, aardwolf, spotted hyena, brown hyena, bat- eared fox, silver jackal, black- backed jackal, wild dog, honey badger, ant bear,  and warthog.

BIRDS: Conspicuous species; spotted eagle owl, chanting goshawk, secretary bird, kori bustard, and ostrich. Often seen; sparrow weaver, sociable weaver, cape sparrow,  helmet shrike, crimson- breasted shrike, Namaqua sandgrouse, several species of larks, and, soaring overhead, eagles and vultures.

REPTILES: Lizards and snakes are numerous as in other semi deserts.

 

3) BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK (Created 1931) SOUTH AFRICA;

- This national park was established to save the bontebok from extinction. Originally the bontebok had occurred only in areas around Cape Agulhas where it was intensively hunted by early European settlers. Until the beginning of the 18th century this area of undulating plains- the park a sandy depression beneath a mountain range- was inhabited by hottentots.

  • Geographical location: Cape province, about 240 km from Cape Town
  • Size: 1,330 ha.
  • Climate: mild, subtropical
  • Accessibility: By road (6 km south of Swellen dam).

FLORA: Plant cover is a Mediterranean type, the so called maquis (fynbos, macchia, or chaparral are other terms). Vegetation is rather poor, chiefly scrub veld of various Proteas and  herbaceous plants with scattered sweet thorn acacias and some breede river yellow wood. Along the banks of the river is a thick bush of acacias; in the southern part, a hillside clad in cape aloe. Near the river , trees  and shrubs (Turkey berry, cherry- wood, and dune taaibos) are to be found.

MAMMALS: The chief protagonist of the park is, ofcourse, the bontebok. Other antelopes include cape grysbok, steenbok, gray rhebok, duiker, and bushbuck. Cape buffalo, eland, springbok, reedbuck, and red (cape) hartebeest have been reintroduced.

BIRDS: Among the  total of 104 avian species recorded in the park are hammerkop, secretary bird, fish eagle, Stanley bustard, black korhaan, crowned plover, Namaqua sandgrouse , spotted eagle owl, giant kingfisher, cardinal woodpecker, pearl- breasted swallow, gray- backed cisticola, paradise flycatcher, and yellow bishop. The ostrich is the only bird to have been  introduced.

 

4) ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK (Created 1931);SOUTH AFRICA;

- Lying between the Suurbarg mountains and the Sundays River valley (at an elevation between 60 and 180 m), the undulating area of the national park covers an almost impenetrable bush wilderness. In this mass of dense bush, herbaceous and succulent plants such as Crassula; Aloe, Me sembryunthemum and cotyledon are somehow able to interlace their stems, making the area a kind of flower paradise, quite unique for the bush of southern Africa.

  • Geographical location;

Cape province, about 64 km from port Elizabeth.

  • Size: 6,397 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road from port Elizabeth
  • Climate: Subtropical. Weather conditions and rainfall favorable in general, maintaining natural vegetation though short periods of drought may occur. Mild winters.

FLORA: Spekboom dominates (height 3-4m, even higher and more luxuriant  in ravines and on slopes); other species of bush; boer- boon, with scarlet flowers and usually covered by lichen and moss, melkout, ghwarris, bushman hemp, acacias. Debushed areas with excellent growths of grass, especially Themeda triandra, help the grazers to increase their numbers.

MAMMALS: The elephants are,  of course, the focal point of interest to visitors. The park has many other mammals, including bushbuck, cape grysbok, steenbok, mountain reedbuck, eland, red hartebeest, greater kudu, gray rhebok, springbok, duiker, blue duiker, oribi, cape buffalo, bushpig, ant bear (aardvark), porcupine, caracal, side-striped jackal, black-backed jackal, honey badger (Ratel), vervet, and several smaller species.

BIRDS: The ostrich is quite common, and the secretary bird nests in this park. There are various species of birds of prey, guinea fowl, francolins and passerines. Male ostrich is the world’s largest bird.

 

5) MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK (Created 1937);SOUTH AFRICA;

- This national park was established to save one of the few remaining herds of the very rare mountain zebra.

  • Geographical location: Eastern cape province, about 27 km west of cradlock.
  • Size: 5020 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road from cradlock

GEOLOGY AND CLIMATE: Karoo is a great basin of ancient sedimentary rocks. Rain (some years no more than 150 mm) falls in winter, but there can be long periods of drought. Climate range; from winter frosts to summer hot spells.

FLORA: The most important grass cover of this highland veld is the drought resistant setaria neglecta. Buffalo grass, turpentine grass, assegai grass, and stick grass occur. Typical shrubs are rainsin bush, broom bush, pentzia, aloes, dgom bush,  and bitter karro. Trees  include white stink wood, wild olive, cabbage tree, acacia, and karree trees. Flowering plants are mesembryarithemums and cotyledons.

MAMMALS: The attractive small mountain zebras are the most important animals of the park (in 1971 there were 127). Other protected mammals (some reintroduced) include small numbers of mountain reedbuck, steenbok, springbok, cape grysbok, gray duiker, white- tailed wildebeest, red hartebeest, blesbok, eland, gemsbok, klipspringer, chacma baboon, vervet, caracal, Aardwolf, black- backed jackal, side-striped jackal, and of course many other small mammals.

BIRDS: Some 160 recorded species include the ostrich, Highveld waders, bustards, the blue crane, black and martial eagles, and the secretary bird.

 

6) ROYAL NATAL NATIONAL PARK( Created 1916);SOUTH AFRICA;

This national park (altitude 1,443-3,364 meters) and the adjoining rugged Glen Nature Reserve offer magnificent landscapes of remarkable grandeur. The area includes the montanx –sources, one of the highest peaks (3,277 meters) in south Africa, and many rugged Krantzes, deeply ravined foothills, and waterfalls.

  • Geographical location:

Western Natal.

  • Size: 8,000 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road.

GEOLOGY , TOPOGRAPHY, AND CLIMATE:

The underlying rocks of the Drakensberg Mts are of the Karoo series, mostly sandstone and basalt.

Prominent topographical features of the national park; the Eastern Buttress, the Devil’s Tooth, the Inner Tower, the spectacular Amphitheater, the Gorge, and the Tugela Falls. At the headwaters of the Tugela R, Precipitous cliffs and buttresses of the Drakensberg escarpment rise majestically above a high plateau, carved in part by canyons and steep foot hills. The national park is an area of high rainfall.

FLORA: Mountainous grassveld dominates, but 9 important plant communities may be distinguished.  Between 1,370 and 1,830 meters, a well - developed protea savanna with Protea rouppelliae and P. multibracteata predominant among trees, and a continuous grass understory of Tristachia, Red grass (Themeda), umhala, (Miscanthidium), love grass(Eragrostis), Hyparrhernia, Cymbopogon, and Digitaria. These grasslands are associated with many veld flowers including ground orchids and lilies.

At higher altitudes temperate grasses of such genera as Pentas chistis, Bromus, Festuca, Danthonia succeed the tropical grasses.

Sheltered valleys have forests with rich undergrowth of shrubs, herbs, and ferns. The dominant tree is the upright yellow wood; others are common yellow wood, wild chestnut, wild peach, olinia, emarginata, assegai, and black bark.

Common climbers in these forests; Secamone alpinii, Cassina tetragona, and  Dalbergia abovata. Epiphytes include - old-man’s  beard. Gallery forests decorate banks of streams and rivers with white- wood, wild willow, and Bowkeria verticellata. Tree ferns are common.

Grasslands up to an elevation of about  2,740 meters may have sage wood and oudebos, and also trees like cape beech and upright yellow wood. Another type of scrubland growing on builders and on cliffs up to about 2,290 meters has berg cypress, cabbage tree, berg cycad, and heath. A dense small tree or scrub habitat (2,290-2,745m) has heaths (Erica abracteata and phillippia evansii), berg cypress, gannabast, and cape myrrh.

Above 2,745m; a heathland with several species of Erica, dwarf shrubs, short grasses, and even ever lastings. And finally a large number of ferns. Club mosses, mosses, lichens, and algae grow on bare cliffs and rocks at various altitudes.

MAMMALS: The park protects gray rhebok, reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, bushbuck, duiker, klipspringer, white - tailed wildebeest, dassie (Rock hyrax), and chacma baboon.

BIRDS: Commonly observed; familiar chat ( Cercomela familiaris), malachite sunbird, striped pipit, grass warblers, secretary bird, Black eagle, and white –necked raven. Among the most interesting of the 154 recorded species; the bald ibis, lammergeier, and great snipe.

OTHER VERTEBRATES: At least 16 species of frogs and toads have been found.

 

7)  ST. LUCIA GAME RESERVE AND PARK (Created in 1897);SOUTH AFRICA;

- This reserve - stretches along the coast of the Indian ocean,  near Hlu hluwe Game Reserve. It covers lake St. Lucia, one of the biggest salt - water estuaries in  the world, into which 4 rivers flow (Mkuzi, Mzenene, Hluhluwe, and Umfolozi).

Birds are among the reserve’s most attractive features. Great flocks of flamingos and pelicans occur.

  • Geographical location: East central zulu land, Natal
  • Size: St Lucia Game Reserve (created 1897); 36,500 ha.
  • St Lucia park (created 1939); 12,400 ha.
  • Climate: Hot
  • Accessibility: By road from Mtubatuba.

TOPOGRAPHY: Biggest marine lake in Africa, St. Lucia is 72 km long with a width varying from 91 meters to 16 kilometers and an average depth of only about a meter. This vast expanse of water has great variations in  salinity  and thus has freshwater, brackish, and marine  life forms. Heavily wooded sandhills and a flat plain intersected by swamps and freshwater pans divide the lake from the sea.

The pans are extremely important for the existence of many plant and animal species, as well as for the hydrography of the whole area.

FLORA: In addition to the aquatic vegetation with extensive reebeds, there are coastal grasslands, scrub, woodlands and forests. Mangroves occur from the mouth of the Estuary up to the makakatam shallows. Other coastal trees; flat crown acacia, several figs, palms, kaffir plum, and white pear. Locally there are luxuriant swamp forests containing numerous ferns. St.Lucia lilies are conspicuous on the grasslands after grass fires.

MAMMALS: The St.Lucia reserve is the most southerly concentration of the hippopotamus. Other large mammals around the lake; reedbuck, duiker, red duiker, suni, steenbok, bushbuck, Nyala, bushpig, the rare samanga monkey, serval, and the Tonga yellow- chested squirel.

BIRDS: More than 345 species have been found within the reserve. The large flocks of flamingos and the pelicans. The many nesting birds include African spoonbill, grossy ibis, wood ibis, herons, African white pelican, pink - backed pelican, black- winged pratincole,  avocet, and stilt. In the open grasslands; pink - throated longclaws. Birds of the woods include broadbill and Reichenow’s touraco.

OTHER VERTEBRATES:

This park is a refuge for the crocodile.  Snakes are numerous but usually invisible in the bush cover. The Gaboon viper and the black - lipped cobra. Frogs and toads of various species abound in large numbers. Fishes are abundant, among  them; Barbel, Tilapia, Garrick, silver bream, grunters, and cape salmon. Sharks penetrate into the waters of the lake.

 

8) HLUHLUWE, MKUZI,  AND UMFOLOZI GAME RESERVES;SOUTH AFRICA;

These 3 nature reserves,  are among the oldest in Africa. Hluhluwe and umfolozi reserves are separated by a stretch of land called the “corridor” rich in wild animals. Most exciting places to watch various mammals at mkuzi are the Bube and Msinga pans, the only drinking spots in the dry season, where structures on stilts resembling “Tree tops” provide comfortable watching towers.

  • Geographical location: Eastern Zulu land , in Natal.
  • Area: Hluhluwe (created 1897), 22,800 ha; Mkuzi (created 1912) 24,600 ha; Umfolozi (created 1897) 48,000 ha.
  • CLIMATE: Hluhluwe and Umfolozi; temperate; Mkuzi ; hot.

 

GEOLOGY; The coastland of Natal consists of sedimentary formations chiefly from periods of marine submersion dating back to the early cretaceous though some of the sedimentary formations are from more recent times. The present mkuzi game reserve has rich fossil beds of marine animals; molluscs, seashells, ammonites and sharks.

TOPOGRAPHY: The Hluhluwe and Umfolozi reserves are hilly and of partly mountainous terrain (altitudes 84-590m), while the mkuzi reserve is a relatively flat lowland plain of grassy savannas and woodlands bounded by the Lebomo Mts and the Mkuzi River.

FLORA: The Hluhluwe and Umfolozi reserves have forested valleys,  bush veld, open grasslands, and scrub- covered hills, and both have vast areas of rolling thorn bush (Transitional between Highveld and lowveld of the coastal strip). Gallery forests with sycamore figs line banks  of rivers in each reserve. Trees in Hluhluwe, apart from the predominant acacias of several species, include cape chestnut, tree fuschia, red ivory, tamboti, marula, kaffirboom (3 species),  wild pear, and cabbage tree. Dalbergia armata is a characteristic climber. In umfolozi, many of the same trees occur and also gardenias and the crane flower. Most prominent species of the Mkuzi reserve; various species of acacia, together with marula, tree wisteria, torchwood, and flame creeper. Fevertrees concentrate around marshy depressions, and along the Mkuzi River are beautiful groves of sycamore figs. Some of the largest in Zululand. The area is the southern limit of many species, including the South Africa mustard tree and the Matumi.

MAMMALS:

Hluhluwe and umfolozi reserves have an impressive assemblage of other mammals,  including buffalo,  zebra,  blue wildebeest,  Nyala, Greater kudu, impala, bushbuck, waterbuck, steenbok, reedbuck, duiker, red duiker, warthog, chacma baboon, and leopard. Of the two reserves, Hluhluwe alone has these species; blue duiker, Giraffe, and bush pig, while umfolozi (but not Hluhluwe) has Klipspringer and lion. Mkuzi Game Reserve supports large populations of Nyala and Impala. Animal life is rather similar to that in the other two, more southern, reserves, but mkuzi alone- protects the suni and the black- backed and side- striped jackal.

BIRDS:

Some species to be seen at Hluhluwe include marabou, white- backed vulture, Bateleur, crested guineafowl, blue quail, green pigeon (Treron australis), dmerald cuckoo, Narina trogon,  and ground hornbill. At least 241 species have been recorded at umfolozi, including marabous, Egyptian geese,  and white- headed vulture, Black stork, Dwarf goose, Lappet- faced vulture,  cuckoo hawk, francolins (4 species), pigeons and Doves (8 species), cuckoo (5 species), rollers (2 species), king fishers (4 species),  Bee – eaters (3 species) and Hombills (5 species). Among the birds at Mkuzi; Reichenow’s touraco, white fronted bee-eater, Greater honey guide, crowned and crested guinea fowl, white –backed vulture, Black- cuckoo, Hadada ibis, and woolly necked stork.

REPTILES: Rivers contain crocodiles.

AMPHIBIANS: Frogs and toads of the three reserves include common toad, common,  striped, and sharp- nosed ranas, puddle, running, forest tree, painted tree, long reed, red- banded, and mottled burrowing frogs; and platanna. Many of these amphibians are strikingly beautiful but more often heard than seen.

NAMIBIA

NAMIBIA;

Area: 826,491 km2

TOURIST  ATTRACTIONS;

 

  1. ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK (Created 1958); NAMIBIA;
  • Situated around the Etosha pan in Ovamboland about 480 km north of Windhoek, the huge un inhabited area of this park with an adjoining game reserve in the kaokoveld comprises more than 95,830 square kilometers. For its meager vegetation the reserve is remarkably rich in animal life. Both the lesser and greater flamingo breed on the Etosha pan, where they are seen in great numbers.
  • Geographical location: Northern south- west Africa.
  • Area: 6,500,000 ha.
  • Climate: very hot in summer; in winter; warm days, cold nights.
  • Accessibility: By car, by train, or by air to Windhoek, where cars may be hired; regular bus service and chartered air - craft from Wind hoek to the park.
  • Best visiting: August and September, when animals concentrate around water holes.

TOPOGRAPHY: Surrounded by vast plateaus, the Etosha pan, where nothing grows, is itself an enormous expanse of mud deserts and salt beds occupying an area 128 by 64 kilometers. Winds, water and sunshine form dead flats of this kind. Flowing rivers of the past deposited coarse sand and gravel in a huge, shallow basin and in its flat surroundings, killing vegetation by an almost un ending accumulation of fine silt.

Where there is no outlet, as at the Etosha pan, such a flat gradually becomes saline, preventing plant recolonization. Whirl winds in hot temperatures carry dust and silt far away, spreading it over the ages. The adjoining Kaokoveld reserve is a mountainous area rising to about 1,828 meters.

Plateaus and hills at various levels descend to the skeleton coast along the Atlantic ocean, a part of the Namib Desert, one of the oldest desert of the world, virtually devoid of vegetation except for occasional widely scattered solitary plants.

FLORA: Except for the pan itself,  the Etosha National park is covered with bush characteristic of semi - arid regions. Extensive plateaus are occupied by tropical Karstveld with grasses and thorny bushes or by a mopane veld comprising mopane,  marulas, tamboti, various acacias,  wild apple, and wild fig. The contiguous reserve in the kaokoveld is a vast Highveld changing to arid bushlands and semi- desert steppes at lower elevations where the extraordinary Welwitschia bainesii occurs, ofter with Zygophyllum stapfi. The Namib Desert area has almost no vegetation , but along the Kunene River, forming the border with Angola, there is a lush forest.

MAMMALS; Some of the grazers and browsers around the Etosha pan are the eland, blue wildebeest, red (cape) hartebeest, impala, greater Kudu, sepringbok, Gemsbok, Giraffe, and Elephant.

Surprisingly,  the mountain zebra occurs on the plains in impressive herds mixed with blue wildebeest , springbok, and Oryx. The dikdik occurs in both the Etosha pan and Kaokoveld reserves.

BIRDS: Lesser and Greater flamingos. Ostriches thrive on the open steppe. The bushland and the mopane veld have a variety of birds; kori bustard, secretary bird, francolins, sandgrouse, black smith, crowred plover,  sociable weaver.

MADAGASCAR

MADAGASCAR;

Area: 592,800 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

 

  • 1. MONTAGNE D’AMBRE NATIONAL PARK (created 1958);MADAGASCAR;
  • The Parc National de la Montagne d’Ambre is located on the higher elevations (between 380 and 1,475 meters) of the Ambre massif about 50 km southwest of Diego suarez.
  • The mountain is an ancient volcano with numerous small craters, some of which have been filled by lakes, and with rugged rigged ridges and valleys; rivers cascade down the mountain flanks.
  • Geographical location: Northern Madagascar.
  • Size: 18,200 ha.
  • Climate: Rainy season; Nov- March.

FLORA: Moist dense forests have numerous epiphytes, treeferns, orchids, mosses, and lichens. The vegetation is characteristic for low and medium altitudes of eastern Madagascar.

FAUNA: Mammals in this park include the gray gentle lemur, Sanford’s lemur, which nowadays does not exist anywhere but on mount Ambre,  the crowned lemur, lesser mouse lemur, bushpig,  and several rodents. There are also many birds, reptiles and amphibians. Fishes occur in the crater lakes.

 

2)  MAROJEJY STRICT NATURE RESERVE (Created 1952);MADAGASCAR;

The reserve integrale Marojejy is located in the north eastern part of Madagascar within the eastern moist forest belt.

  • Geographical location: NE province of Diego - suarez.
  • Area: 60, 150 ha.

TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE;

These vary with the altitude (90m-2,137m). The terrain is intersected by mountain slopes and valleys.

In the eastern and southeastern parts, rainfall is about 3,000 mm.

 

FLORA: Vegetation of the lowland (800-1,450m) is of the eastern moist type, succeeded at higher elevations by montane evergreen forests. There is an abundance of palms, ferns (over 100 species), and orchids (over 100 species);

 

FAUNA: Several of Madagascar’s peculiar mammals are found in the reserve; gray gentle lemur, weasel lemur, a race of the black lemur, lesser monse lemur, sifaka, Bushpig, Madagascar ring- tailed Mongoose, fossa, and Madagascar tenrec. About 50 birds have been recorded. Several peculiar forms of butterfly’s specialized to high altitudes can be found.

 

3) ISALO NATIONAL PARK (Created 1962); MADAGASCAR;

The Parc National de l lsalo covers the northern part of the Isalo massif in southern Madagascar.

It is a mountainous country with steep escarpments, deep canyons, and numerous rivers and waterfalls.

  • Geographical location: Southern Madagascar.
  • Size: 81,540 ha.

FLORA: The varied topography provides a great diversity of habitats. Situated along the road between Antananarivo (Tananarive) and Tulear, the park is surrounded by grass savannas, but its highlands harbor plant elements of both the western dry flora and the eastern moist flora with several endemic species.

FAUNA: The vertebrate fauna is still very little known. There are several species of lemurs and birds.

ETHIOPIA

Area: 1,035,710 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

 

  1. MENEGASHA NATIONAL PARK( ETHIOPIA);
  • Near Addis Ababa and easily accessible, this park is situated on the slopes of the volcanic c cone of Mt. Wochocha and embraces montane habitats of elevations from 2,435 to 3,425 meters. Some virgin stands of forest still exist.
  • Geographical location:

53 km W of Addis Ababa.

  • Area: 3,000 ha.

 

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

A lava substratum prevails in the area, locally intermingled with sandstone and partly covered with soil that is subject to erosion; the soils under forest cover have a thick humus layer. The slopes of Mt. Wochocha are wrinkled by deep gorges, carved by rivers and streams.

 

CLIMATE: Temperate and up to an elevation of about 2,600m, rather humid; the upper parts are cold and dry (average temperature 12-140c). Rainy periods; mid –March to mid- April, mid June through September.

 

FLORA: Vegetation zones divide into almost perfectly horizontal belts around the volcano. At lower elevations: plantation of eucalypts.

A semi humid zone (2,400-2500m) has a beautiful forest of cedars that rise to a height of 35 m and Podocarps  with some pygeum, Olea, and Albizzia. (The cedar is a relic from the cedar forests that once covered vast montane areas in Ethiopia). Above 2,600m, Kusso- trees lake command with some highland elements; tree heaths and St. Johnswort. In the Montane savanna are found Abyssinian musk rose and such grasses as fescues and bent grasses.

MAMMALS: Guerezas, vervets, Gelada baboon, black bushbucks, duikers, leopards, Caracals and wildcats.

BIRDS: Among the rich avifauna - the white- cheeked touraco is noteworthy.

CHAD

CHAD;

Size: 1,288,958 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

  • 1. ZAKOUMA NATIONAL PARK (Created 1958, 1963);CHAD;

The region of the parc National de Zakouma shows many features indicating the proximity of northern AFRICA’S VAST DESERT. Steppes and savannas here are of relatively dry types belonging to the Sudanese semi- arid zone.

  • Geographical location: Salamat district, about 250 km NE of Fort- Archambault.
  • Area; 297,200 ha.
  • Accessibility: By road and by plane.

TOPOGRAPHY: In this relatively flat area, topographical variations are provided by the beds of the salamat and the Korom rivers in the east and by two conspicuous rocky outcrops in the west, the bone and the Ibir, rising  to 300 and 500 meters, respectively, above the plain. Large areas of the eastern part consist of bare lands, flooded by rains in the wet season (June- October). The only watercourse carrying water throughout the year is the salamat River, but some smaller pools hold permanent water even in the drier parts of the area.

FLORA: The vegetation of the western half of the national park consists of open forests and savanna woodlands of acacias and combretums, with Hyparrhenia the dominating grass; the eastern half, wherever it is not bare, has but poor vegetation of scattered thorn bushes and meager grass.

 

MAMMALS: The abundant animal life is, of course, richest in the western part of the park. Giraffes and buffaloes are common;  elephants occur in sizable numbers only during the dry season (Many of them leave the park during the rainy period). Other herbivores; red- fronted gazelle, Tiang, duiker, roan, hartebeest, waterbuck, kob, bush buck, reedbuck, oribi, and warthog. Among the predators, the lion is common and also, though not often seen, the Leopard. The Cheetah dwells only in the northern part of the park. Other carnivores; serval, caracal, wildcat, spotted hyena, striped hyena, wild dog, Banded mongoose, civet, and Genet. Baboons are numerous; red monkeys and vervets are also present.

 

BIRDS: River lagoons and the swamps, particularly in the dry season, collect spectacular gatherings of birds; among the most conspicuous; storks, herons, egrets, crowned cranes, and birds of prey. The latter are also found in other habitats in the park together with ostriches, bastards, bee-caters, guinea fowl, francolins, Abyssinian ground hornbills, secretary birds, and others.

OTHER VERTEBRATES: Crocodiles are common.

 

2) SINIAKA- MINIA FAUNAL RESERVE (Created 1961);CHAD

- The reserve de fauna du Siniaka - Minia is located in an immense plain, which has some minor mountain ranges and is drained by meandering rivers. This is an area where tsetse flies are common.

  • Geographical location: Southern Chad, E of Melfi, about 100 km NW of Fort- Archambauil.
  • Size: 426,000 ha.

FLORA: The vegetation of the northern part of the reserve consists chiefly of a thorn bush savanna or steppe, which changes gradually southward into a wooded savanna with combretums, then develops into woodlands with khayas and daniellias.

MAMMALS: Most of the Antelopes of this part of Africa are to be found in Siniaka- Minia reserve. Elephants,  buffaloes, and warthogs are well represented; rock hyraxes live on the rocky hills. Giraffes, aardvarks or ant bears, and hippopotamuses also occur in this park. Baboons are very numerous. The largest carnivores; leopard and lion; others; jackal, wild dog, and spotted hyena.

BIRDS: Waterfowl, storks, egrets, and pelicans as well as guineafowl and ostrich.

CAMEROON

CAMEROON;

Area; 447, 311 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

 

  1. WAZA NATIONAL PARK (Created 1936);CAMEROON;
  • This park was established as a forest and game reserve in 1934 to protect the numerous giraffes and large herds of antelopes that characterize this part of Cameroon, it was created a national park in 1968.
  • Geographical location; Northern part of Cameroon.
  • Size: 170,000 ha.
  • Accessibility: By plane (air strip);

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:

The national park lies within the basin of lake Chad, which formerly covered a much larger area than it does today. The lake, nourished by the Logone and Shari rivers and minor tributaries,  has seasonal floods.

 

CLIMATE: These northern savannas are influenced partly by the harmattan, a dry wind blasting from the nearby desert, and partly by a moister type of climate. Rainy period; June to October.

 

FLORA: Two main kinds of vegetation prevail in the park; the western half; woodland or woodland savannas with acacias predominating; the eastern half; vast grassy plains, the so called “Yaeres,” where the grasses include such genera as Chrysopogon, Aristida , and Sporobolus  (with stems usually more than two meters high).

By the end of the floods (February- March ), the grasses become dry and are invaded by fires, but regenerate quickly, offering fresh pastures to a multitude of ungulates migrating eastward from the western woodlands.

 

MAMMALS: The herbivores,  as well as predators, thus move regularly between the two halves of the national park. Roughly between March 15 and June 1, almost all the larger aminals are in the eastern, treeless Savanna part. (Some giraffes and elephants can be found there too, but since these species are browsers, most of them remain in the woodlands). Large agglomerations of animals concentrate, particularly March-June, along the desiccating water holes, of which only about 20 are permanent (there are no rivers in the park). In May new rains fill the water holes again.

Drinking time; midday, when sensational gatherings of antelopes may be seen;  kobs, topis, roans,  bohor reedbucks, and waterbucks. One species not often seen in African national parks is present; the red- fronted gazelle. Among the carnivores are lions, leopards, cheetahs, caracals, stripped hyenas, spotted hyenas, servals, and sand foxes.

 

BIRDS; Pelicans (2 species), crowned cranes, ibises (7 species),  storks (4 species),  herons (8 species),  geese, ducks, waders, gallinules, and many other groups. The ostriches, vultures (at least 4 species), and eagles (6 species) should also be mentioned. Particularly important for both mammals and birds is Tchikam, a marshy area situated in the south- eastern part of the park.

REPTILES: Both the African python and the ball python live in the park, as do the desert monitor and Nile monitor.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC;

     Area: 614,362 km2

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

 

  • 1. SAINT- FLORIS NATIONAL PARK (Created 1933) AND ANDRE- FELIX NATIONAL PARK (Created 1960);CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC;
  • These two parks of the upper basin of the shari River protect large numbers of animals and spectacular flocks of birds. They cover savanna plains, in undate during the rainy season and transformed into marshes.
  • Geographical location: Northeastern Ubangi- shari.
  • Area:Saint – Floris- 100,700 ha; Andre Felix- 170,000 ha

FLORA: Though these two parks are located within the woodland savanna belt, which is here of the Sudanese type, the saint- Floris National Park chiefly consists of a treeless , grassy plain with some stretches of dry type forests.

 

MAMMALS: Great numbers of large mammals congregate in both parks; buffaloes, roans, oribis, hartebeests, topis, kobs, waterbucks, reedbucks, duikers, giraffes, hippopotamuses, warthogs, bushpigs, lions, leopards, and spotted hyenas; in addition, the cheetah can be found here. Elephant migrates seasonally through these area.

 

BIRDS: Aquatic species concentrate in enormous numbers at the permanent  lagoons during the dry season. Herons and Egrets of various species gather in spectacular thousands. The most remarkable bird in the area is the whale- headed stork,  which has here perhaps its only locality in west Africa.

 

2) BAMINGUI- BANGORAN NATIONAL PARK (Created 1960) and VASSAKO- BOLO STRICT NATURE RESERVE (Created 1940); CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC;

- The Reserve Naturelle integrale de la vassako - Bolo is entirely enclosed within the parc National  de Bamingui - Bangoran, which in turn is surrounded by three game reserves. Many aquatic birds concentrate in the lagoons and in the grassy marshes, flooded during the rainy season.

  • Geographical location: North- central Ubangi- Shari, headquarters at Ndele.
  • Size: Bamingui-Bangoran-1,000,000 ha; Vassako-Bolo- 150,000 ha.
  • Climate: Relatively moderate rainfall and severe dry seasons.

 

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY: The area of these reserves is a vast pene plain( elevations 400 - 500m) with granitic -gneissic outcrops, so called 'Kaya' rising from 30 to 100 meters above the plain.

 

FLORA;

  • The landscape is dominated by wooded and open savannas, inter spersed with gallery evergreen forests along the watercourses and patches of dense closed woodlands of a dry type, which seems to be the climax vegetation of the vicinity. These savannas of the area form a transition zone between two types of vegetation; the Sudanese and the Guinean savannas. The woodlands consist chiefly of Isoberlinia  doka, I. dalzielli, Daniellia, and Anogeissus.

 

MAMMALS: Giant Eland, numerous species of monkeys, such as olive baboons, colobi, vervets, mangabeys, red monkeys, and dwarf galagos.

SENEGAL

SENEGAL

Size: 96,950 Square kilometers;

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS;

 

  • 1. DJOVOL NATIONAL PARK (Created 1962, upgraded 1971); SENEGAL.
  • The Parc National du Djovol is a strict nature reserve particularly important for aquatic birds in the delta of the Senegal River close to the border with Mauritania. When birds nigrating from Europe and Asia fly across the Sahara Desert, it is the first permanent water they find.
  • Geographical location: Northwestern Senegal.
  • Area: 3 ha.

 

TOPOGRAPHY : The ancient alluvial beds are arid and steppe like during the dry season but in undated in autum. In the Richard- Toll region a depression runs across the Senegal valley connecting the basins of the R KIz and Guiers lakes.

   Great littoral dunes block the river outlet forcing the river to turn southward.

  Pools of the wetlands are fresh, brackish, or weakly saline.

 

CLIMATE: Tropical, with a very long dry period (7-10 months).

 

FLORA: Salt- loving plants such as glasswort and thistles abound, but there are also grasses like witch- grass or panicum and signal grass. In the seasonally in undated area the floating prairies are composed of Echinochloa stagnina, E.pyramidalis, Diplachne fusca, and polygnonum senegalense. There are also extraordinary riverine forests of Acacia nilotica, Symmeria panicula, Cola laurifolia, Ficus capraefolia. These are subjected to complete submersion for about a month and are without water for nine or ten months.

 

MAMMALS: The delta floodplain is inhabited by warthogs,  probably Africa’s densest population.

 

BIRDS; Gathering birds use the reserve and the entire surrounding area. Herons, egrets, storks, ibises, pelicans, gulls, and terns are present in great numbers; ducks, and waders are still more abundant. The estimate of black-tailed godwits numbers  several hundreds of thousands. Meves and wood sandpipers are even more numerous. Other Palaearctic waders wintering in astonishing numbers; green sandpiper, greenshank, redshank, spotted redshank,  ringed plover, little ringed plover, little stint, snipe, and  black- winged stilt.

 
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