Nguru Mountains – Geology, Climate, Flora, Fauna and More

Nguru Mountains – Geology, Climate, Flora, Fauna and More

The Nguru mountains are a mountainous region in Tanzania’s Morogoro District, Africa. The Eastern Arc Mountains include the Nguru Mountains. The Highlands are mostly covered with rainforest, which is home to 83 different bird species and African violets. In the mounts, there are a multitude of forest reserves.

Nguru Mountains Geography

The Nguru mountains are 1672.90 sq. km in size. In Nguru South, the highest point is 2400 meters. The basin of the Mjonga Stream, a branch of the Wami River, divides the range, which runs about northeast-southwest. The range is located in the Wami’s watershed. The Wami plain and its branch, the Mkata, are located to the southeastern and east. The Uluguru Highlands stretch across the plain to the southeast. To the southwest are the Ukaguru Highlands, and to the north are the Nguu Highlands; both ranges are divided from the Nguru Highlands by low hills. The Maasai Steppe is separated from the northwest by more hilly terrain.

Climate Surrounding the Nguru Mountains

The moisture-laden breezes from the Indian Seas are intercepted by the Nguru highlands, which provide the majority of the rains in the Nguru mountains. The yearly rainfall on average reaches 1800 millimeters. The rainy season, which runs from November to May, sees the most rainfall, while mist and mild rain can be found at higher altitudes during the drier season. Rainfall is heavier on the south and east slopes and lighter in the north and west, where the mountains are in the rain shadow. At higher altitudes, temperatures are more relaxed while rainfall is heavier.

Nguru Mountains Geology

The Nguru mountains, like the rest of the Eastern Arc Mountains, are made up of old crystalline Precambrian stones that have been elevated along fault lines over millions of years. Although the most current uplift era began thirty mill years ago, the fault structure and uplift mechanism may be much older. The soils formed by these old rocks are less fruitful than the volcanic soils found in the mountains to the west and north.

Flora and Fauna of the Nguru Mountains

The site was covered in thick rainforest some thirty million years ago. The lowland woods were converted to grassland during a drier and cooler period ten mill years ago, preserving the mountains as “islands” where tropical rainforests thrived. Endemism and diversified flora and fauna have resulted from the long-term preservation of a humid environment and the separation of each mountain. The Nguru mountains and adjacent East Arc mountains have a lot of endemic species; hence they have a lot of biodiversities [more than 25 per cent of the vertebrate family].

Eastern miombo woodlands
Eastern miombo woodlands

The Mkata-Wami lowland to the east is covered in Miombo woodland, as are the low foothills to the west, north and south. Forests can be found at heights ranging from about 300 to 2000 meters—the species composition of the forests changes with elevation and slope direction. Green lowland rainforests prevail at lower altitudes on the eastern slope, with a flora comparable to the moist Zanzibar-Inhambane shoreline woods further east. Highlands forests with distinctive Afro-montane species can be found at higher altitudes in the mountains. Submontane rainforests can be found on the east slopes between 900 and 1400 m and on the western flank between 1400 to 1500 m. On the eastern slope, Highland rainforests prevail between 1400 – 2000 m, with moss-covered rainforests at higher altitudes. Drier mountain forests around 1600 – 2000 meters can be found on the western flank. Highland’s heathlands prevail above 2000 m. Satellite pictures from 1999 to 2003 revealed that 297 km2 of the highlands were still covered with evergreen forest.

Nguru Mountains Protected Areas and Conservation

There are two forest reserves and one nature reserve in the Nguru Mountains, totalling 31,409 hectares.

One of Tanzania’s biggest surviving undisturbed mountain forest regions is found in the Mkingu Conservation Area. The Nguru Southern Catchment Forest Reserve [19,793 hectares] and the Mkindo Catchment Forest Reserve merged to become Mkingu [7,451 hectares]. The Kanga Southern Catchment Forest Reserve [6,664 hectares] is located in the mountains’ north-eastern section, separated from the main structure by the Mjonga stream valley. The Magotwe reserve [709 acres] is located at a lower altitude on the east slope, between the 2[two] highland blocks.

For more articles related to Mountains of Tanzania, click here!