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Tour the Lowveld NBG
Tropical African Rainforest

On the eastern bank of the Crocodile River there is an emergent, simulated, tropical African rainforest. It is a world first for the Lowveld Garden and represents the rapidly disappearing tropical rain forests of Central and West Africa.

A complete ecosystem has been recreated here, from the thick carpet of herbaceous plants on the moist forest floor to the towering canopy of tropical forest trees. Species from as far north as just south of the Equator have been grown from seed that has been collected by Garden staff, Plant Specialist Group and individual researchers and collectors. Because of the very high water table in this part of the Garden, combined with the fact that giant water towers provide "tropical showers" every day, the trees and other plants have grown exceptionally well. The flora varies from tropical Impatiens, African coffee, ginger, to forest trees like Khaya nyassica.

Until the emergent trees reach the present indigenous canopy, the existing wild trees act as a nursery for the younger plants. There is a good colony of healthy raphia palms, the species that occurs on our north-eastern coastline.


On the day the Rainforest was officially opened it poured with rain, and each guest was given a white umbrella --- as they progressed through the Garden they resembled a ceremonial Chinese processional dragon. (In the section where this photograph was taken the lush vegetation now completely obscures all the rocks seen here.)


Beautiful orchids are also to be found in this part of the Garden. The yellow flower above left is Eulophia angolensis and to the right is the vlei orchid, Eulophia horsfalli.




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