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The Wilderness Society

The singing grasses of Africa

Written by: Flo Montgomery for Adventure Camps 

I remember lying in bed as a child of nine in Tanganyika. Outside the wind was blowing and the grass was soughing and singing restlessly. You don’t hear that now in the modern towns, but if you go to any of the Tanzanian national parks or reserves, there’s a good chance that there will be some sizeable grasslands of the type I typically relate to Africa. 

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Grasses of Ruaha ©David Liebst

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Giraffes stand out from the grass

In Ruaha National Park, the managers at Mdonya Old River Camp – Rebecca Phillips and Andrea Pompele – have captured some beautiful images of grasses and I’ve added in a smattering of shots by David Liebst showing how animals, insects and birds use the grass for food, shelter and camouflage.

Bermuda-Grass---Cynodon-dactylon

Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) ©Andrea Pompele

Guinea-Grass-(Panicum-maximum)

Guinea grass in dry season (Panicum maximum) ©R.A Phillips

Guinea-Grass---rainy-season

Guinea grass in the rainy season ©R.A Phillips

As ever, nature creates a symbiotic balance between the inhabitants of the bush, and grasses play a large part in this.

Mdonya-lion

©R.A Phillips

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©David Liebst

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Cheetah in Ruaha ©Micol Farinha

Hyparrhenia3

Hyparrhenia spp ©R.A Phillips

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Hyparrhenia spp ©R.A Phillips

The picture below is of a serval in rainy season, lying contentedly in crowsfoot grass. I love the way this grass changes shape from a ‘helicopter’ shape into a ‘crows foot’ as it dries, thus projecting its seeds.

Serval

©R.A Phillips

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Ruaha ©David Liebst

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Jackal in crowsfoot grass in the dry season in Ruaha ©David Liebst

red-Natal-grass-(Melinis-repens)

Red Natal grass (Melinis rep ens) ©R.A Phillips

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Impala in Ruaha ©David Liebst

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Zebra in Ruaha ©David Liebst

Adventure Camps

Adventure Camps has three fixed camps in the southern wilderness of Tanzania, as well as the only mobile safari and overland transfer operation in the area, who can take you where no-one else can go. We offer a genuine safari experience with few frills but rustic comfort.

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