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Kenya

Plants

Romantics will find no end of pretty flowers to inspire poetry for that someone special and the country’s flora is notably diverse because of the wide range of physiographic regions. The vast plains of the south are characterised by distinctive flat-topped acacia trees, interspersed with the equally recognisable baobab trees and savage whistling thorn bushes.

The savanna grassland of the Masai Mara supports a huge variety of animal life. The grass grows tremendously fast after the rains, and provides food for an enormous range of herbivores and insects. The trampling and grazing of the various herbivores that call the Mara home promotes the growth of grasses, rather than broadleaf plants, which are more vulnerable to damage from grazing, drought and fire.

On the slopes of Mt Elgon and Mt Kenya the flora changes as the altitude increases. Thick evergreen temperate forest grows between 1000m and 2000m, giving way to a belt of bamboo forest that reaches as high as about 3000m. Above this height is mountain moorland, characterised by the amazing groundsel tree and giant lobelias. In the semidesert plains of the north and northeast the vegetation cover is thorny bush, which can seem to go on forever. In the northern coastal areas mangroves are prolific, and there are still a few small pockets of coastal rainforest.