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(Rivers, Lakes & Wetlands)

The wetlands of sub-saharan Africa offer exciting (and dangerous!) wildlife - from yawning hippos to bizarre shoebills...

(Lake Victoria)

The wetlands of Africa are extensive, and contain huge lakes such as the Sudd, Lake Victoria and the famous Okavango Delta. 

Kingdom Plantae

Order Nymphaeles

Family Nymphaeaceae

(Lake Victoria, Uganda)

Nymphea  nouchali (caerulea), 'Water Lily'. Perhaps the most famous and striking of the African wetland flowers. This is a species with many forms around the world. It is also now widely cultivated. Unfortunately, it is also associated with the snail that is the main host for  (human) schistosomiasis. 

Order Asparagales

Family Orchidaceae

(Lake Victoria, Uganda)

Maybe Eulophia calanthe, 'Swamp Orchid'.

Order Poales

Family Cyperaceae

(Lake Victoria, Uganda)

Cyperus papyrus, 'Papyrus'. This famous plant provided the first paper in the world in ancient Egypt.

Order Malpighiales

Family Euphorbiaceae

(Kazinga Channel, Uganda)

Euphorbia candelabrum.

Order Caryophyllales

Family Polygonaceae

(Lake Victoria, Uganda)

Persicaria limbata, 'Knotweed'. Grows with long bamboo like stems. Small pink-red flowers grown from heads at end of twin stems.

Kingdom Animalia

Class Reptilia

Family Crocodylidae

(Mburo Lake, Uganda)

Crocodylus niloticus, 'Nile Crocodile'. spend much of their time semi-submerged in the water, from where they hunt their prey.

To warm up their body, they bask near the water's edge. To cool down, they slip into the water. Or have a refreshing cold beer.

For the page on the birds of African wetlands

Class Mammalia

Order Proboscidea

Family Elephantidae

If you have a pool, don't let the African Elephants near it, they will drink it all.. (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, South Africa)

Loxodonta africana, 'African Elephant' drinking.

Order Primates

Cercopithecidae: Old World Monkeys

(Bigodi, Uganda)

Lophocebus albigena, 'Grey-cheeked Mangabey'.

(Bigodi, Uganda)

Colobus guereza, 'Mantled Guereza', 'Eastern Black and White Colobus', 'Abyssinian Black and White Colobus'. This is the subspecies Colobus guereza occidentalis, 'Western Guereza'.

Cetartiodactyla: even-toed ungulates and cetaceans

Family Hippopotamidae

(Kazinga, Uganda)

Hippopotamus amphibius, 'Hippopotamus'. Often the only evidence of this mammal in the day is a large head with flicking ears just above the water.

(Mburo, Uganda)

By day, hippos hang out with other hippos in the water. There will be one dominant male guarding a group of females and young. In biological terms a group of hippos is a pod or a herd, but in the literary term it is known as a 'bloat'.

(Mburo, Uganda)

Hippopotamus open their mouth in a 'yawn' to display their teeth as a territorial display (Lake Mburo, Uganda) . The mouth can be opened to almost 180°. The impressive and dangerous teeth (which are only for display and fighting and not eating), stay sharp by grinding against each other.

Family Bovidae

(Lake Mburo, Uganda)

Syncerus caffer, 'African Buffalo'.

(Murchison River, Uganda)

Kobus ellipsiprymnus subspecies defassa, 'Defassa Waterbuck'.

Places to see African wetlands...

The capital and biggest city in Uganda is Kampala, and this is located on the massive Lake Victoria. Not too far from the city are the Mabamba wetlands. This is one of the best places to see the bizarre and elusive Shoebill.  

There are some great cruises along rivers in Africa. The Kazinga Channel is in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda. Another one is the Victoria Nile River, Murchison Falls National Park, which climaxes with views of the falls. The Lake Mburo cruise, Uganda is one the best places to see African Finfoot. 

For small wetland on the edge of tropical rainforest, check out Bigodi Wetlands Sanctuary, near Kibale, Uganda.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.