Savannah – with mum after


The transitions between the vegetation-rich rain forests and the deserts form savannahs. The name of this tropical to subtropical vegetation type comes from the Spanish and denotes a wide plain grasslands, the loosely overgrown with shrubs and trees. The demarcation to steppes, dry forests or grasslands is sometimes not clear.

Depending on how you look at it, the savanna accounts for about 12 to 18 percent of the total land surface. The summer rainy season makes the savannah green in summer and the rest of the year because of the drought. Savannas are common in Africa, but they are also found in Australia, India and the north of South America.

The climate in the savanna

In principle, three different types of savannah are distinguished whose climatic conditions can vary greatly. Characteristic of all types of savannah is a pronounced distribution of rainfall over a particular season. Mostly in the savannah precipitation falls in the summer time, while in the winter time there is a dryness.

The driest type of savannah is the thorn-bush savannah. A little more rain falls in the course of the year in a dry savanna. With more than 1000 mm of rainfall and thus more than average in Germany, the wet savanna is the wettest type of savannah. What is striking about savannas is that the temperature changes between winter and summer time decrease.

plant world

Basically, the vegetation in all savanna species consists of a closed herbaceous or grassy layer and an open layer of woody plants or trees. As the name suggests, growing in the Deserts and xeric shrublands from thorn shrubs, but also succulents and up to 30 cm high grasses.

In the Trockensavanne isolated trees can form. Because of the more moderate climatic conditions, the grasses in dry savanna reach heights of over one meter.

In moist savannas however, groups of trees or savannah forests are already growing. Grasses reach gigantic heights of up to five meters in the wet savanna.

Where are savannahs everywhere on earth??

Africa’s savanna landscapes

Huge plains in Africa are covered by the typical grasslands with the isolated trees or shrubs of the savannah. Particularly well known is the Serengeti, which stretches from the north of Tanzania to the south of Kenya.

Animals in the savannah of Africa

The open grasslands of the savannah are populated with huge herds of ungulates, which feed on the mostly dry and barren vegetation as herbivores. Among the numerous ungulates that are on their own hikes forming gigantic herds that range from horizon to horizon include blue wildebeest, thomson gazelle and zebra.

Blue wildebeest, plains zebra and springbok

No less characteristic of the savannah are elephant, giraffe, white rhinoceros and buffalo, but also warthog, impala, kudu, oryx antelope and baboon. Not to forget the big cats like lion, cheetah and leopard.

Kudubucks with warthog, oryx antelopes, kudu females with impala

In the vicinity of these big cats there are always numerous scavengers like vultures, hyenas or jackals, who fight each other for the remnants of the predator’s meals.

You will also find a number of bottom-living birds in the grasslands. The best known is probably the ostrich. He is the biggest bird on earth. Here also lives the giant Bustard, one of the heaviest airworthy birds. And everywhere one encounters whole flocks of guinea fowls or also Frankolinen, which rummage around among the grasses for something edible.

Plant life in the African savannah

The African savanna landscapes consist of grasslands and sparse forests, plains and sometimes even swamps. All these types of vegetation are characteristic of a savannah. The term savanna stands for any form of semi-arid land, and this includes open grasslands as well as forest and trees and all sorts of mixtures. Many of the trees and shrubs use hard thorns to protect themselves against the galling of animals. At the same time, the leaves are rather hard and small to keep evaporation to a minimum.

South America’s savanna landscapes

Although the vast majority of South America is in the tropical zone and is covered with rainforests, on the fringes are savannah landscapes. However, the grasslands in America are commonly referred to as prairie. These prairies range from grasslands with interspersed trees to high grass savannahs to sparse savannah and dry forests to the thorny savannah in the north near Mexico. You may have already heard of the “Argentine pampa“Or”patatonic shrub steppe“That extends south of the Amazon basin to the south of the continent. Unfortunately, the South American grasslands have meanwhile been converted into arable and pastureland.

Animals in the South American savannah

The grasslands of South America are home to the Great Anteater, the Nandus, also called Pampas Pass, or the Giant Armadillo. Here live the handsome representatives of rodents like the Aguti and of course the wild ancestors of our guinea pigs. The typical robbers of the savannah in South America are the petite pampas cat or the maned wolf.

North America’s savanna landscapes

Anyone who believes that savannas exist only in South and Central America, perhaps even in the South of the USA, is wrong. Beyond the Canadian border you can also find areas covered with savannas. Although these savanna landscapes are not comparable to the vast grasslands in Africa, they do exist. In the Canadian Badlands in southeastern Alberta: the Badlands around Drumheller.

Australia’s savannas

In addition to extensive deserts, arid savannahs stretch along the transitions to the more humid areas of Australia.

Wildlife in the Australian Savannah

Since Australia has been isolated from the other continents for more than 50 million, completely different animal species have developed here than on the other land masses. In Australia, it is mainly all types of marsupials, large or small, soil or tree dwelling.

In Australia, kangaroos live in deserts, grasslands and forests

The most famous marsupial of the Australian savannah is probably the kangaroo, which occurs in as many as 61 different species in Australia. Another well-known and well-loved bag mammal is the koala, which occurs only in the eucalyptus forests in eastern Australia, as it feeds exclusively on eucalyptus.

Asia’s savannas

Parts of the Mekong region between Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are reminiscent of African savannahs with their grasslands and dry forests.

Wildlife in the savannah of Asia

Unfortunately, you can hardly find large animal species here today. Because they were poached especially in the wartime of the last decades. But they still exist, the antelope and deer species such as the Indian muntjac, the big sambar deer, the thailand lyre-deer or even the unique wild cattle. The Gaur can reach a shoulder height of 2.2 meters and the last wild water buffalos are not exactly small.

In the savannah landscapes and dry forests, leopard and tiger live next to smaller cats such as the Bengal cat; Collar and Malay bear, pangolins and the nearly extinct Siamese crocodile. In the wild, hardly any of us have ever seen these animals. Maybe once in a zoo …

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We are looking for your GUEST ARTICLES!

In the future, we would like to host a guest article every month on the following topics:

  • Deserts in America
  • Sahara Desert
  • Deserts in Australia
  • tundra
  • Prairies in America
  • Steppe areas in Asia
  • mountains
  • Coasts all over the world (and of course Germany)

So if you’ve been touring one of these areas with your offspring and taking a few photos – and also wanting to tell other solo travelers with children and families, then write me!

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