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DJ Bwakali

DJ Bwakali

In May 2017, I went to Karura Forest for a forest trek. Despite having lived in Nairobi for all my life, this was my first time in the forest that was thrust into prominence when Wangari Maathai fiercely defended it from the Moi Government’s attempt to annex part of it for development.

I was just a little kid when that happened and it is only much later that I saw videos of a battered but impregnable Wangari Maathai facing off with the police and a bunch of hooligans right in the heart of the forest. I later met her during the launch of her film, an even that I was moderating. I remember turning to her on the stage and thanking her for her courage. I call it green courage.

The courage to stand up and defend our God given nature from those who would seek to annihilate it in the name of development. Thanks to Wangari Maathai’s green courage, Karura stands tall and green today. But other battles demand green courage to arise. Donald Trump should be a major recipient of this courage because his disdain and sabotage of the Paris Accord is simply unacceptable. But that is a story for another day. Today, I want to talk a bit about illegal logging.

"We are born to live, not to prepare for life." Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

In 2016, UNEP and Interpol released a joint rapid assessment report entitled, ‘The Rise of Environmental Crime.’ This report contained the shocking news that Kenya loses, 70,000 hectares of forest each year to illegal logging. To put that into perspective, Kenya loses an area that is one and a half times bigger than Seychelles every year to illegal logging. How is this even happening and why aren’t Kenyans taking to the streets to protest this utter injustice and demand action?! Could it be because green courage is in short supply? Although Kenya is overflowing with environmentalists and environmental organizations, one wonders whether the vast majority of this either bereft of requisite tools or the passion to keep green green. I go with the latter, because as I once said in my poem, ‘butterfly on her shoulder’, “passion pushes you to your limits and pulls you from your comfort zone. Passion stirs an overflow of courage.”

We cannot keep losing 70,000 hectares of forest each year to illegal logging. Or even one hectare for that matter because the loss of one tree today is similar to the loss of a forest tomorrow.

I stared at the lobster in my hands as if it was an alien creature and not delicious seafood from the Indian Ocean. It was the tropical rock lobster, common on Africa’s East Coast. Its colourful outer exterior made it appear as if it was wearing one of those multi-colored coats that can be found in Nairobi’s vast Kikomba market, the paradise of second-hand clothes.

Before that moment, I had never seen a live lobster. Actually, before that moment, my mind couldn’t quite register how a lobster looks like. This was totally understandable, since for all my life, lobsters had never been on the dining table of any house or restaurant that I had visited. These dining tables instead consisted of beef and chicken all the time; lamb from time to time; ostriches and gazelles, a couple of times at Nairobi’s famous Carnivore restaurant.

"I do not go in search of poetry. I wait for poetry to visit me." Eugenio Montale

But lobster? Nope. Nunca. In fact, if you mention lobster to many of my friends, they will react with a puzzled – lob what?

The journey that brought the lobster into my hands had been long for both of us.

For me, it started in the small coastal town of Kipini. When I arrived there sometimes in 2006, I was mesmerized by its coastal tropical thrills.

‘That’s in Kenya?!’ I exclaimed to Caroline my Canadian former UNEP colleague and good friend.

‘You didn’t expect an army of palm trees to line up along a Kenyan road?’ She replied in her usual witty way.

Lobster 2Photo by axistravel

On either side of the gravel road, tall and medium sized palm trees stood silently, as if granting us a guard of honour. Behind them were other delicious trees that I had never seen before.

We were standing in the middle of a packed bus that had picked us from Garsen town about two hours earlier after we had waited for two hours before it finally hurtled into the dusty rustic town.

‘Wow’ this one word escaped my lips when I stared at the waters of River Tana gushing into the Indian Ocean. The brownish water that is a mixture of both salty and fresh water is known as brackish water.

Watching Kenya’s longest river finally emptying itself into the vast Ocean left me with a deep appreciation of nature’s astounding marvels.

Although that particular trip ended without any encounter with lobsters, it left in me a passion for Kipini that drew me back there a few years later when I learnt that Kipini was also a popular breeding ground for lobsters. By then I had founded Lamu Sea Food together with Mulhat my close friend from Lamu. Her tenacious and beautiful spirit became the young business’s greatest asset.

‘I just dive into the water and grab trapped lobsters,’ Faraj answered when I asked him how he fished for lobsters. His white beard and calm demeanour gave him the appearance of a wise aquatics professor as opposed to a seasoned lobster fisherman who had been at the game for two decades and counting.

Faraj was one of Kipini’s dozens of wavuvi wa lobster (lobster fishermen). They had an uncanny, almost magical ability to hold their breaths for extended periods of times as they dove into the salty waters to pluck lobsters from their hiding places.

‘This will cost you only eight hundred shillings ($8) per kilo’ Faraj said as he held out one particularly large tropical rock lobster towards me, ‘and that is a special price because you are a good-hearted person.’

A bad word almost jumped out of my mouth although I had just been praised as goodhearted. 

Instead of the curse, I settled for an exclamation, ‘what!’

I shook my head even as I smiled, ‘that’s too much my brother. That’s too much. Too much.’

Faraj frowned as if wounded that his generous offer was being tossed in the hot sand beneath our feet, ‘walk around this beach and if you are lucky to find lobsters, you will have to pay at least one thousand shillings ($10) per kilo!’

Earlier that morning, Kaimu my contact person in Kipini had given me a crash lesson in bargaining.

‘Always start as low as you can,’ the soft-spoken Kaimu had told me.

‘I will be buying lobsters from you for a long long time Faraj,’ I said, trying to entice him to lower the eight hundred shillings further.

But he artfully leaned on religion to rebuff me, ‘only God knows if we shall be there tomorrow, so let’s talk about today.’

 I ended up buying all the 33 kilos that Faraj at 800 shillings per kilo. He didn’t budge. But I was thankful that I had got a good bargain because just as he had said with a frown, the lobsters were hard to come by and if you did stumble on a lobster catch, you would have to part with 1,000 shillings per kilo.

That evening when I was back at Yellow House, my Lamu Island house, I discovered to my horror that in Maine, dealers buy lobsters for an average of $2! How is it that my fellow dealers in the world’s sole superpower were buying lobsters for prices that were four times cheaper than mine?

Read the answer to this last question in an upcoming article Lobsters – More Expensive in Kenya than the US

Dipped in deep, pristine evergreen, the misty Aberdare ranges loom over puffed grey clouds below the enormity of blue. From the nethermost, fresh creeks and streams spout and run full. The brooks curl and gurgle in hypotonic symphony through dense boughs, under forest floor where orange spills of sunrise hardly touch.

The forest air tastes like a cocktail of magnolia, mint, honeysuckle and vanilla, with abundant scent of moss. The cold tendrils of air provoke no scant goosebumps.A tribe of primeval trees with great arms sway with the wind like nature’s silent dance.

They are clothed in the green of every taste and none. Together with unheard cadences of birds, cheeky laughter of hyenas, hisses and seethe of fanged serpents. Together with elephant trumpets and primal grunts. Together with the howl, growl, the scowl and roar of lions, and dying shrieks and moans, of prey. Together with whistles of the wind, peals of thunder, dazzles of lightning and rainbow freckled showers, the Aberdare is alive with many a soul pulsating day and night.

The Aberdare is a ‘planet’ of waterfalls.  Waters tumble down beautifully and brutally, from mighty misty heights, as if being poured from massive pails that never empty, spraying the deep green-dark below. UNESCO (2010) lists three waterfalls: Karuru falls and Gura falls which plunges a misty pool from the opposite side; while Chania falls and Gura falls cascade into the yawning mouth of the Queen's Cave.

When  dark, heavy clouds are not hanging low, when rains are not weeping over the ranges, the Mau escarpments rear their craggy crown afar, while Lake Naivasha is seen sprawling far below, scintillated by beams of the sun like the finest of mirrors describes (UNESCO,2010).

Abedare was originally known as Nyandarua by the native kikuyu tribe. It means ‘the drying hide’ because its contours have features akin to the folds of a hide. (https://www.paukwa.or.ke/nyandarua/)

Aberdares ranges, is the home to Mt.Oldoinyo Lesatima -“the mountain of the young bull”, which has a maximum elevation of 3,999 metres (13,120 ft) above sea-level-the third tallest peak in Kenya. The ranges are 160 km long and have an average elevation of 3,500 metres (11,480 ft), describes (HoIberg et.al: pg .27, 2010)

The Aberdare ranges constitute the easternmost wall of the Great Rift Valley (which inhabits eight lakes), to the east of Laikipia plateau- a tableland that  slumber elegantly  in the day - like the pillows of  land.

Indigenous beliefs and the ecosystem, conservation

A mighty moss clad Mugumo has stood rooted at the very core of Aberdare National park since the haze of time. Its bark has valleys as if eons of time artistically chiseled it, rendering the tree a living sculpture. The feat of nature towers above Aberdare ranges, its massive branches spreading wide, and sways to the lyrics of the winds. It offers an idyllic repose to families of elephants and grazing herds of buffaloes and Zebras.

The Aberdare’s majesty tree habited once more than Zebras and hogs. It’s hollow and dark crevices was a secret base and ‘post-office’ for Mau Mau guerilla fighters. The commanders of two main battalions, symptathetic villagers and fighters in the wild mountains would leave each other epistles in the veil of dark-messages of triumph, of defeat and battle plans. The tree would be named Kimathi Post Office in reverence to their leader-Field Marshall Dedan Kimathi perfect hero and a man of valor. The crevices were what boxes are to post office. Through the 50’s, a time of carnage and darkness: the Age of Kenyan freedom war against the oppressive colonial rule, when the land was torn by bloodshed and the only law was the law of gory weapons, Mugumo remained a constant point of communication.

They Mau Mau fighters would scribble on a dry, softened animal hide using raw scarlet from their veins. The ‘post-office’ remained secret till the very end of war when a British soldier stumbled on it. The tree is now a protected monument which attracts hordes of visitors to Aberdare National Park (The Standard)

UNESCO (2010) states that the Queen's Caves found in Aberdares, were used by the Mau Mau fighters to preserve their meat. The Aberdare Range was named by -Joseph Thomason,a Scottish geologist and explorer who played an important part in the Scramble of Africa.

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) divides the ecosystem into six management zones which are aligned with administrative district boundaries. KWS on its part has divided the ecosystem into four management zones (or sectors) that are largely based on ecological as well as tourism development considerations

The five distinct zones are: High Use Zone, Low Use Zone, Wilderness Activity Zone, Multiple Use Zone and Influence Zone which support acceptable land uses in the ecosystem. The land uses include tourism, biodiversity protection, and forestry and its associated uses, such as livestock grazing and plantation establishment states Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020

Bio Diversity of the Aberdare ecosystem 

Nkaegawa et.al (2012) found out that the Aberdares contain a rich diversity of vegetation. There are 778 vegetation and plant species, subspecies and varieties found in the Aberdare National Park. Hardwood trees include cedar, podo, hagenia and camphor.

UNESCO (2010)  explains that Aberdare ecosystem has four vegetation zones including subalpine vegetation, xeromorphic evergreen forest, montane humid forest, and submontane forest.The ecosystem is abundant with alpine and sub-alpine flora, including species of Helichrysum spp, Senecio spp  Lobelia spp, Erica spp, and tussock grasses, gives way at around 3,000 m to bamboo Arundinaria alpine and then montane rainforest (mainly Juniperus procerus-Podocarpus falcatus-Nuxia congesta forest on the western and northwestern slopes, ocotea forest on the south-east, and mixed Podocarpus latifolius forest on the east and on Kipipiri (Beentje 1990). Pockets of Hagenia forest occur in sheltered patches on the rolling moorland .

The Aberdares is home to 52 of Kenya's 67 Afro tropical Highland animal species. The rare species include the Bongo estimated at over 65 individuals in forest (KWS 2002), Leopard ,Black Rhinoceros African Elephant, (some 1,500 are resident:) and Giant Forest Hog and a population of Lions the African Golden Cat ,a rare species and Spotted Hyena, states KWS( 2005.)

 Endemic small mammals include Aberdare Mole-shrew and Aberdare Mole rat .The montane viper occurs only in Aberdares here and Mt Kenya (UNSECO, 2010)

KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020  lists  threatened, rare and endemic species ( e.g. Black Rhino, African Elephant, Hinde’s Viper, Mountain Bongo, Giant Forest Hog, Bush Pig, Aberdare cisticola, Sharpe’s Long claw, Wild Dog, Serval Cat, Leopard, Aberdare Shrew, Cedar forest)  Important Bird Area (IBA)  Montane Forest  Moorland  Bamboo forest

The Range has six of the eight restricted range species in the Kenyan Mountains Endemic Bird Area. Over 200 species are recorded in all, including African Green Ibis, African Cuckoo Hawk, Mountain Buzzard, Jackson's and Moorland Francolins, Hartlaub's Turaco and Cape Eagle-Owl. The Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird is found on the high peaks, forages largely on lobelias, while other montane sunbirds (including Tacazze, Golden-winged, Malachite and Eastern Double-collared) are common at slightly lower altitudes. The restricted-range Aberdare Cisticola appears to be locally common in tussock moorland.

Other vulnerable bird species found in the forest include Sharpe's Longclaw, Abbott's Starling, Aberdare Cisticola, Jackson's Francolin, Hunter's Cisticola, and Striped Flufftail (UNSECO (2010)

Indigenous knowledge of Aberdare ecosystem

The Aberdare forest is revered by the traditional kikuyu as God’s abode. Kikuyu oral traditions say that Mugumo tree is dwelling place for ancestral spirits. The tree is held with such superstitious awe, reverence, and fear and trembling .Traditionally, the Kikuyu would perform prayer ritual for the rains, fertility, bumper harvest and many children, says African Geographic.

Green economy

The Tana River, that run longest in Kenya swirling in its depth, East through jungle wide and Opaque, before turning south around the massif of Mount Kenya emanates from the Aberdare. . Tana River supplies water to the Seven Forks hydroelectric complex which yields over 55% of Kenya’s total electricity output, explains (UNESCO, 2010)

The ecosystem is additionally a water catchment for the northern Ewaso Nyiro River,Lake Naivasha; as well as the Ndakaini and Sasumua dam this bestows much of the water used in Nairobi.

Green Economy potential of the Aberdare

Aberdares as a water catchment for Major Rivers such as the Tana and Athi has potential for massive provision of water for increasing domestic need, irrigation and hydropower generation.

Conservation of varied of tree and plant species endemic in Abedare would offer climate Mitigation of climate change impacts (i.e. carbon sink)

Potential for Tourist hotels to harness the potential of archeological sites and religious shrines such as Mau Mau hideout caves, Kimathi Post Office, Queen’s cave.

The unusual vegetation, rugged terrain, streams and waterfalls combine to create an area of great scenic beauty in the National Park, which has tremendous potential for eco-tourism.

The ecosystem has potential, provision of non-wood forest products, states KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020

Challenges facing the conservation of Aberdare ecosystem

The ecosystem faces many direct and indirect challenges and threats mostly associated with human activities. These include illegal logging, charcoal burning, illegal livestock grazing and poaching. Forest fires, either accidental or deliberately set (especially by honey collectors), have destroyed or damaged large tracts of forest during recent dry periods.

The ecosystem is surrounded for the most part by intensive, small-scale agriculture. The low moorland has been severely damaged in recent years.

Forest destruction and degradation is the major threat to the site, through agricultural encroachment, illegal Cannabis sativa gardens, poaching of valuable trees and forest grazing of livestock. Human-wildlife conflict has long been intense around the borders of the National Park salient and the forest reserves.

Marauding animals regularly damage crops, and occasionally kill or injure people. On the moorland, the status of two of the threatened species - Sharpe's Long claw and Aberdare Cisticola - remains little known, and needs investigation(UNESCO,2010)

Gazetted forests are hampered by inadequate resources such as transport, funding and personnel. With the ban on the Non Residential Cultivation (NRC) in the early 1990’s and KFS’ lack of requisite human capacity to establish plantations, the end result has been backlogs in planting, weeding, poor plantation establishment and losses from game damage.

Tourism development in Aberdare is hampered by poor infrastructure, uncontrolled entry into the ecosystem, visitor security and lack of equitable benefit sharing among the stakeholders in the tourism sector (KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020)

Conservation efforts in the Aberdares

KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020 spells out biodiversity restoration and protection plans and ecosystem conservation efforts, comprising of -carrying out a feasibility study for elephant corridors through easements; strengthening existing monitoring systems and conducting priority research to provide information for adaptive management and protection of elephants and critical habitats; investigating impacts of predators on Black rhino; monitoring and protecting the status of the Black rhino population in the AE; collaborating with other stakeholders to enhance Bongo surveillance; evaluating the impacts of bush meat poaching on ungulate species; establishing the population status of carnivores in the ecosystem; carrying out a study on hyena-prey relationships; collaborating with other stakeholders to minimize siltation of Lake Ol Bolossat and downstream dams; and nominating the AE as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve.

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has additionally instituted Natural Forest Management Programme that addresses the threats that are impacting on the most important ecological features in the ecosystem, by; carrying out natural resource assessments; regulating utilisation of non wood forest products; establishing livestock carrying capacity; controlling charcoal burning and illegal logging; developing and implementing a forest restoration action plan; carrying out enrichment planting and lobbying for harmonisation of conflicting policies e,g. the forest act which allows grazing while water act advocates for protection of the water catchment.

The Farm Forestry management Programme aims at promoting farm forestry to increase tree cover for sustained timber, wood fuel, non-wood forest products and environmental conservation. As such, KFS has established a farm forestry programme to support farmers raise trees and forest products in their farms to ease pressure on gazetted forests. The KFS offers extension services in the influence zone through technical assistance to communities on nursery establishment, and advising farmers on suitable species for farm forestry, tree planting techniques and tree husbandly. This is according to KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020.


Hoiberg, Dale H., ed. (2010) Abedare Range. Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.

UNESCO. (2010) Aberdare Mountains. Available from: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5506/[,  [Accessed  3  Feb 2019].

KWS Aberdare ecosystem Management plan 2010-2020 Available from: http://www.kws.go.ke/sites/default/files/parksresorces%3A/Mt.%20Kenya%20Ecosystem%20Management%20Plan%20%282010-2020%29.pdf[Accessed 3  Feb 2019].

The Aberdare Mountain Ranges (Nyandarua Range), Africa: www.bootsnall.com . Rees. Melinda. [Accessed 2 Feb 2019].

The standard  (200)Secrets of old tree that was Mau Mau Post Office. Available  from https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2000010787/secrets-of-old-tree-that-was-mau-mau-post-office[Accessed 5 Feb 2019].

Kenya wildlife Service [Accessed 4 Feb 2019].

Karangi NM( 2008) Revisiting the roots of Gĩkũyũ culture through the sacred Mũgumo tree.MM Karangi - Journal of African Cultural Studies, 2008 - Taylor & Francis\


Nakaegawa T., Wachana C. and KAKUSHIN Team-3 Modeling Group. (2012). "First impact assessment of hydrological cycle in the Tana River Basin, Kenya, under a changing climate in the late 21st Century," Hydrological Research Letters, 6, pp. 29-34.

Paukwa: Available from https://www.paukwa.or.ke/nyandarua/ [Accessed 2 Feb 2019].

With a crucifix dangling around her neck and a big smile on her chocolate face, the middle-aged lady from Abrha Weatsbha community in northern Ethiopia clasped a big green mango that she had just plucked from a mango tree in her farm. Her brown eyes gazed across her farm as she shook her head in disbelief. The farm was part of 224,000 acres that had once been barren and unproductive but was now awash with fruit trees, indigenous trees, crops and vegetables. Less than two decades earlier, a dry carpet covered the landscape, stifling agricultural growth and providing a perfect terrain for flash floods. Ironically, these floods implied an overabundance of water yet ground water reserves were failing to refill, thanks to the dry, dry, dry land. Adding insult to injury, the floods often left giant gullies in their trail and destabilized farmlands even more. This spelt doom for the little children playing catch-me-if-you-can in the land. Because their parents’ livelihoods were severely compromised, the future was bleak. Hunger often caught up with them, robbing them of their human right to healthy food. "Happiness can only be found if you can free yourself of all other distractions." Saul Bellow How can you plant anything in such dry land? Any crops that they dared to plant withered, as did their thirsty livestock. As a result, the community became perennial recipients of relief food for many years. By the time those playing children reached their mid and late teens, relief was still the order of the day. Beneath the dry land, there was no oil to attract a stampede of investors. Even the relief efforts were just a trickle since relief is ultimately unsustainable in the long run. After living in this vulnerable state for years, the local community gradually began to turn the tide. They wanted to reclaim their land, their dignity, brighter futures for their children, a beautiful landscape, guaranteed food and agricultural revenue. Though many of them may never have heard of her, they began to heed the words of the Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai that, ‘it’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make a difference. My little thing is planting trees.’ The Abrha Weatsbha community planted tree after tree on acre after acre. They turned disaster into a blessing when they transformed the vast gullies into natural storage tanks for water. The gullies became dams that could power irrigation and drive agriculture forward. Priests from a historic ancient church in the area became enthusiasts of the conservation and reclamation work that was going on. They knew that humans are God-appointed stewards of nature; hence what the people were doing was also spiritual. Such widespread local support ensured full ownership of the greening efforts. A restored and vibrant ecosystem often has rich rewards. It is like a dormant, penniless account finally becoming active with regular, reliable and incremental revenue. ‘I am even planting coffee on my farm!’ exclaims a middle-aged man happily. Although Ethiopian coffee is traditionally planted in the western region, some Abrha Weatsbha farmers have joined the coffee party and are now planting coffee, albeit at a much smaller scale. Irrigated land under vegetable production doubled within three years from 32 to 68 hectares. This resulted in more vegetables on the family table and in the market stalls. By 2010, farmers were making $93,750 from the sale of vegetables and spices. Just four years earlier in 2007, similar farm products were earning them $32,500. This exponential growth was a direct result of the dramatic transition from grey to green. Green has also resulted in sweet – literally, with honey production gradually taking root. Just like vegetables, honey production grew threefold within three years, from 13 to 31 tons. This growth of apiculture was a deliberate strategy of revenue diversification. The idea was for local people to earn from vegetables, fruits, coffee, honey and many other products that could thrive in the newly green and fertile land. However, this change of fortune has not come easy. The resilient people of Abrha Weatsbha have had to sweat it out and toil long hours in the hot sun. Women have been at the centre of it all, working long hours and reaping handsome dividends. Abrha Weatsbha is relatively close to the Eritrean border, a proximity that hurt it dearly during the Ethiopian-Eritrean war of 1998 to 2000. Thousands lost their lives, amongst them husbands of many women in Abrha Weatsbha. For these women, reclaiming farmland and multiplying its productivity through environmentally sound technologies has changed their lives. They are finally controlling the size and frequency of their revenue. The women proved that they may be victims of war and climate change fuelled land degradation, but they are also victors in their own right. They have faced great adversities and emerged victorious. The wider Tigray region that Abrha Weatsbha is part of is known for its rich cuisine. Women are the custodians and propagators of this cuisine. Their power and influence in the cuisine arena now goes beyond the kitchen stove to the market place. They are already making culinary products like sugar free biscuits from sorghum. The incredible efforts of the resilient community won it the prestigious Equator prize in 2012. Such global recognition reminds the world what is possible when people, however disadvantaged, team up with strategic partners to better their lives. At the heart of these partnerships is a replenished environment that can constantly refuel a green economy. The never-say-die men and women of Abrha Weatsbha have essentially birthed and nurtured their green miracle. With their resilient spirit, the ‘miracle’ can only get stronger with each passing day. In the words of Bachmann-Turner Overdrive, the Canadian Rock Group, ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet!’ The people of Abrha Weatsbha have more green surprises and products in store.

This tree is seriously dwarfed by the Entandrophragma Excelsum, which is known in the Luganda language as Muyovu and in Swahili as Mkukusu. It grows naturally in Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda and Malawi. One of these trees in the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro has grown to a whopping 81.5 meters, making it Africa’s known tallest tree. Africa’s tallest tree is right next to Africa’s tallest mountain.
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