When you think about Africa what usually, pops into everyone’s minds are the big five and a whole range of exciting animal species. Often overlooked on a tourist’s sightseeing checklist when visiting Africa is the vegetation. And even for the flora fans who are more inclined to see the African vegetation, trees and plants like the world-renowned fynbos and the unmissable giant baobab trees are usually on the top of their African safari checklist.
At Fathala Wildlife Reserve, however, we are quite partial to a very different kind of flora species. The Senegalese Mangroves growing in the Sine-Saloum Delta where it flows into the North Atlantic Ocean are a ‘must see’ when visiting Senegal.
What Are Mangroves?
Technically a mangrove is a shrub or tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water. The term describes tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species.
Mangroves are highly productive forests that interface between marine and terrestrial environments in tropical and temperate habitats.
In other words, it is a small tree that grows in water, but visible above the surface and home to many aquatic and land species. Mangroves are the little mermaids of plants; they have the best of both worlds!
Why are Senegalese Mangroves so special?
Mangroves trees assist to battle erosion by stabilizing coastline and riverbank ecosystems.
African mangroves plays a critical role in supporting the region’s rich wildlife. The complex root system of mangrove trees visible above the surface are most probably their most striking attribute. Fish and other organisms congregate to Mangrove roots seeking food and shelter from predators. This makes viewing wildlife from a vessel on a river quite an exciting experience.
Tropical Mangroves thrive in conditions most tree species could never tolerate. These hardy Mangrove shrubs grows in salty, coastal waters and can withstand the endless shoves in the ebb and flow of the tide. With the ability to store vast amounts of carbon, mangrove forests are key weapons in the fight against climate change.
Are Senegalese Mangroves at risk?
Senegal is home to around 185,000 hectares of mangrove estuaries in the Casamance and Sine Saloum regions. Unfortunately, about a quarter of the mangrove forest have been lost since the 1970’s. The loss in this magnificent vegetation species is mainly due to deforestation.
How do we prevent Mangrove deforestation?
For a government organization to manage deforestation of a whole country is quite a tall order, therefore Senegal tourism destinations like Fathala Wildlife Reserve make the protection of Mangrove forests attainable and more affordable. Every tourist that visits Fathala Wildlife Reserve actively contributes to the conservation of Senegalese Forests and wildlife. By simply visiting us, you are contributing to a more sustainable world.
How can I see the Senegalese Mangrove Forests?
Experience the magnificent Mangroves, wildlife and birdlife from the tranquil rocking of the Delta du Saloum.
Fathala Wildlife Reserve offers a Full Day Island Trip to Fathala’s very own private island, where you can relax in our luxurious boat on the water. A transfer will transport you to the shores of Manssariko where you will board your boat “back to nature” tropical experience in the Sun. A delicious traditionally prepared fish barbeque, long walks on the beach and swimming in the warm waters, before your relaxing boat ride and transfer back to the safari lodge before dinner.
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