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Natural Beauty in East Africa

East Africa is a land of amazement, and the combination of stunning scenery and several of the most majestic and fascinating animals on earth makes this area a mecca for nature lovers. Many of the visitors coming to the region do so for the opportunity to enjoy a safari and to spot animals like lions, elephants and rhinos, but there are also several other great sites worth visiting too. The coastal areas and the islands of East Africa offer a very different natural experience, but they also have plenty of places worth visiting.

The Historical Importance Of East Africa

In many ways, the challenging geography and natural barriers such as jungles and deserts helped much of East Africa to resist colonial influences for a period, but eventually the majority of the area became colonized by one of the European nations. The fertile soils were excellent for growing tea and coffee, while spices and mineral resources were also exploited.

This colonial influence has reduced dramatically during the twentieth century, with the majority of East Africa now made up of independent nations. While there is still significant strife and conflict in some areas, those places that do have important tourist locations tend to try and attract visitors and try and make themselves a peaceful and welcoming place for visitors, because of the wealth and foreign currency that tourism can bring into these countries.

Security And Safety When Visiting East Africa

The majority of tourist areas in East Africa are generally peaceful and safe places to visit, and while there are some areas that are known for petty crime such as pickpocketing, the danger to tourists is minimal. Some countries such as Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan are off the beaten track for visitors, and should be visited with caution. Most of the countries in East Africa are religious and quite conservative, so it is important to check up on local customs before traveling to these countries.

Dinder National Park, park, southeastern Sudan. The park lies in the clayish floodplain of the Dinder and Rahad rivers, at an elevation of 2,300 to 2,600 feet (700 to 800 metres). Established in 1935, it covers an area of 2,750 square mi (7,123 square km). Vegetation in the park consists of thornbush savanna in the north and woodland in the south; along the riverbanks there are palm or gallery forests and swampy areas. Wildlife includes giraffe, hartebeest, reedbuck, roan antelope, bushbuck, oribi, waterbuck, greater kudu, gazelle, dik-dik, buffalo, lion, and ostrich. Black rhinoceros, leopard, cheetah, elephant, hyena, and jackal are also occasionally found. The park can be reached by road fromKhartoum, a distance of 290 miles (470 km). Its headquarters are at Khartoum.

The annual rainfall in the Park ranges between 600-800mm and there are three major ecosystems: the riverine (Hyphaena thebaica, Acacia nilotica), the woodland (Acacia seyal, Balanites aegyptiaca), and the mayas and depressions. The mayas are oxbow lakes along the meandering rivers. They are subject to floods and contain green fodderand water up to the end of the dry season. The Park supports 27 large mammal species, bats and small mammals, more than 160 species of birds, 32 fish species, reptiles and amphibians. In addition there are about 58 species of shrubs and trees (Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources, 2001).

Dinder is mainly and extensively made of Savannah grassland, woodland and riverine forests; with a few hills and highlands located along and near the Ethiopian border. The park has three ecosystems, each with its own plant and animal communities. The northern part is dominated by acacia seyal and balanites aegyptiaca savannah which merges with anogeissus – combretum woodlot. Along the Dinder river doom palm (hyphaena thebaica) are dominant. Palm trees have an important economic value in the cottage industry as they are used in the making of mats, baskets, brooms; and are also used for construction. Other trees abundantly found in Dinder include: acacia siberana and tamorindus indica. Along the banks of the river, reeds and tall wild sorghum grass grow.


First visit to Dinder National Park early dry season

On behalf of Sudanese Wildlife Society and in respond to the invitation from the Minister of  Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife , we made  a quick trip to Dinder National Park to check the current  situation there and to prepare the place for tourism. The team mainly from Ministry of Tourism, Tourism Police, Sudanese Wildlife Society , tourist guide and prospective  investor . On 28th December 2012 we headed towards Elgadaref to spend the night there and  to join the minister in his trip to Dinder National Park . On the way to Senar State, we passed through huge open area grown with Dura and sesame with some species of birds moving there such as black kite, pied crow, namaqua dove, Sahel paradise whydah, and some vultures soaring. The whydah looks common in that area beside shrikes wheatears, eagles and most of soaring birds soared above the hills to benefit from the warm elevated air current which make their soaring easy.
Near water canal we saw 30 great white egrets, common kestrel and cattle egrets associated with cattle and sheep. Other species include Abyssinian roller , palm dove,  and village indigo bird. Group of 30 open Bill Stork were seen near Ub Rakham village.
We took our breakfast at WCGA office at Dinder town and then left to Dinder National park but the road still very bad as it early dry season after heavy rainy season . The water scattered in the main low lands and sometimes block our normal way to DNP and need to turn a round  to get suitable road . on our turn ,we saw about 20 white headed vulture, 30 hooded vulture , 40 marabou stork aggregated around three dead cows
 The volume of the water reflected the successful previous autumn   as water scattered every where and all wetlands were covered with water and all their extensions .The road from Elsinait to Galagu need more maintenance and only few distance fixed. Only accessible wetlands in the eastern side of Dinder River such as Musa, Ein Elshams, Abdel Ghani and Ras Amir. Khor Galagu and Dinder River still have some water blocking the the way to the western side  and need more two weeks to be ready . We made small survey in Galagu camp and I took the chance to do some birding and I observed marabou storks walking around, black kites, hooded vultures, house sparrow, namaqua dove and some yellow –billed storks flying over
Khor Galagu -DNP 30 December 2012
Then, we headed towards Abdel Ghani maya(wetland) which lies 1km away from Galagu camp and comprises from acacia nilotica and sub-merged grasses which used by herbivores such as waterbuck , reedbuck and warthog . Some bird species seen there include woolly –necked stork, cattle egret and small birds. Most Areas around the mayas were burnt to give more space for good vision and to attract animals as most of them prefer burnt areas as new grown plants always rich with nutrients . More than 1000 tufted guinea fowl were counted between Abdel Ghani and Ras Amir but all other in few numbers such as ostrich, fork-tailed drongo, great white pelican, common kestrel, grey heron , long-tailed starling, long-tailed cormorant, squacco heron and purple heron
We spent one day there, and on the way back we took the road goes around Ein Elshams to check the area and we saw great white pelican, open bill stork, yellow –billed stork, marabou stork, white –faced duck  and  guinea fowl. The number of waterbirds were too low comparing with last year at the same time because birds scattered with water outside the Park.
Posted by Esmat Elhassan from Sudan spot