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south africa

national parks (back to intro)

in this section
Arusha National Park
Gombe Streams National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park
Lake Manyara National Park
Mahale Mountains National Park
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ruaha National Park
Selous National Park
Tarangire National Park

spotlight feature:
Serengeti National Park

ecosystem -
vegetation -
wildlife -

spotlight feature:
Serengeti National Park Vegetation

The Serengeti National Park's vast grasslands support the abundance of wildlife. The grassland ranges found within the park's boundaries are the best found in Africa. Actually grasslands are rare in Africa but have formed in this region due to the calcrete deposits (calcium-rich hardpan) which are left on the soils surface from evaporated rainwater. An area that receives over 12 inches of rainfall is considered moist but will still have a significant dry season. These regions will have savanna vegetation. The vegetation that can be found throughout the Serengeti varies with the amount of rainfall that region receives. The plains consists of short grasslands in the east which gradually gives way to medium grasslands and finally evolve in to the long grasslands at Seronera where the grass is up to 30 cm in height.

Savanna vegetation can be divided into three distinct groups - bushland, woodland, and wooded grassland.
Bushland will contain small trees that branch out from the base and will occur in those regions with little rainfall. In the central part of the park thorn trees like the acacia are common. In some areas the vegetation cover can be quite dense and form thickets which are impenetrable.
Woodlands occur in areas with the most annual rainfall (32-48 inches) however, these areas will still experience a dry season which can last up to six months. Deciduous trees exist in this region and the tops of these trees form a light canopy over the undergrowth of grass, herbs and shrubs.

Wooded grassland is characterized by trees and shrubs which grow further apart than in the woodlands region. The tops of the trees do not touch and thick grasses grow in the open. The dry season lasts about 3 months in the area where the wooded grasslands occur. In some areas, this form of vegetation has resulted from the clearing of land by humans as they settle along the boundaries of the park.

Move on to: Serengeti National Park Wildlife

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