The wetlands of sub-saharan Africa offer exciting (and dangerous!) wildlife - from yawning hippos to bizarre shoebills...
The wetlands of Africa are extensive, and contain huge lakes such as the Sudd, Lake Victoria and the famous Okavango Delta.
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.
Maybe Eulophia calanthe, 'Swamp Orchid'.
Cyperus papyrus, 'Papyrus'. This famous plant provided the first paper in the world in ancient Egypt.
Persicaria limbata, 'Knotweed'. Grows with long bamboo like stems. Small pink-red flowers grown from heads at end of twin stems.
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.
Loxodonta africana, 'African Elephant' drinking.
Lophocebus albigena, 'Grey-cheeked Mangabey'.
Colobus guereza, 'Mantled Guereza', 'Eastern Black and White Colobus', 'Abyssinian Black and White Colobus'. This is the subspecies Colobus guereza occidentalis, 'Western Guereza'.
Hippopotamus amphibius, 'Hippopotamus'. Often the only evidence of this mammal in the day is a large head with flicking ears just above the water.
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'.
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.
Syncerus caffer, 'African Buffalo'.
Kobus ellipsiprymnus subspecies defassa, 'Defassa Waterbuck'.
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.