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Mount Gorongosa's Rainforest

"We enter a forest  - it is like someone has thrown a green blanket over us. We are in a whole new world." - National Geographic Traveller

The most spectacular part of Mount Gorongosa is its lush, verdant rainforest, likely to be the largest continuous Afromontane forest in southern Africa. The transition from grasslands to the forest happens quite abruptly at the elevation of about 500 m on the eastern slope, higher on the western one. After a hike from the foothills of the mountain in the hot, African sun, entering the dense, towering forest brings an immediate relief. The lower portions of the rainforest are composed of huge, tropical trees that form a closed canopy 20-30 m high. An occasional giant tree, known as the emergent, may pierce this layer and extend even higher. Some of the dominant species here are Fluted milkwood and the massive Forest newtonia, the trunk of which is supported with expansive buttresses. 

 

The cool, humid environment of the Gorongosa rainforest supports abundant, rich flora of mosses and ferns, which form a luxuriant, green coating on every rock and fallen log. At least 104 species of ferns have been recorded from the rainforest, but this number is certainly much higher. The lower layers of the forest are dominated by the Dracaena, a popular houseplant, which flourishes in its native environment.