Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Amani Nature Reserves, Birding Paradise

The Amani Nature Reserve was created to protect the unique, biologically important submontane forest ecosystem of the East Usambara Mountains in Amani, Tanzania. The East Usambara Mountains form part of a chain of isolated mountains stretched in an arc around north-eastern Tanzania. The East Usambara covers an area of about 1300 km², (130,000 ha).
East Usambara Mountains is located between Longitude 38.5-39.50 E and Latitude 4.5-5.00S, lies at an altitude of Approximately 190-1130 m above sea level and receives over 2000 mm of rainfall per year. During the hot season (Dec - March) the average daytime temperature is 25-29 0c and 22 -26 0c at night and during the cool season (May-Sept) 18-220c in daytime and 16 -200c at night. Amani is located about 75 kilometres from Tanga municipality and 32 kilometers from Muheza town. The area is covered with tropical evergreen rain forest. The soils at Amani are of the type generally found under the rain-forests in Usambara i.e. deeply weathered red loam soils derived from gneiss, granulite's or pegmatite which is acidic in nature (pH of 4.6 to 5.2).

Amani Nature Reserve (ANR), in East Usmbara Mountains, is a paradise of nature with unique flora and fauna. It has been termed as the "Last Paradise".  The flora species composition is diverse; trees over 60 metres tall exist throughout the ANR while below, many different types of plant species are supported by them. The ANR is suitable for site seeing, hiking, camping, trekking, picnics boating fishing and learning.The Amani Nature Reserve has the largest botanical gardens in Africa. This garden was started by the Germans in 1902, including the first tree nursery in Tanganyika. The Amani Botanical Gardens (ABG) occupies an area of 350 hectares, The German planted about 900 different tree species both indigenous and exotics from different parts of the World. There are 2012 vascular plants species per Ha, thus a large proportion of the endemic species are found within ANR.

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