The Natural Resources
These areas have diverse soils, ranging from almost nutrient-devoid decomposed sandy granite soils through to rich, red clay soils ideal for cropping, to impervious black cotton soils which sustain wetlands.
The flora sustained by, and the animal carrying capacity of these soils vary greatly. By securing such a large area, wildlife will be able to move freely to benefit from the different vegetation types supported by each soil region, sourcing all the necessary nutrients for healthy growth from grazing and browsing.
The Shangani Sanctuary has 5 main vegetation types:
- Brachystegia Woodland (Miombo Woodland) devoid of understory vegetation; Known locally as msasa trees, these trees are softwood, rapid growing, and are unpalatable as a browse. For tree-dwellers, they make excellent homes, and are sought after by bees to make hives, nesting birds and small mammals looking for protection inside tree trunk hollows.
- Vleis and wetlands of the Central Watershed. The vlei grasses are excellent fodder when green, losing most nutrition when dry winter straw. The vleis remain moist for most of the winter months, providing a good source of fresh green grass for most of the year.
- Riverine Thickets consisting of woody Acacia subspecies; excellent browse and sweet palatable grasses and bushes beneath.
- Wooded Grasslands consisting of palatable grasses interspersed with Acacia subspecies supplying limitless browse both when green and, after shedding their leaves, as dry browse on the ground.
- Open Grasslands ranging from sweet to sour veld, mostly palatable when green, becoming unpalatable straw during the winter months.
- Granite kopjes and rocky outcrops are interspersed throughout the entire area, a habitat for leopards, eagles, vultures, hyrax, snakes and a myriad of other creatures who find shelter within their craggy features and amongst the trees that abound thereon.
There are 199 mammal species in Zimbabwe, of which up to 100 species are resident within the Shangani Sanctuary. Some of the more common ones include:
Elephant (transitory) * Hippo * Crocodile * Giraffe * Tsessebbe * Eland * Zebra * Sable * Wildebeest * Kudu * Impala * Reedbuck * Bushbuck * Waterbuck * Duiker * Steenbok * Klipspringer * Warthog * Bush Pig * Black backed Jackal * Aardwolf * Leopard * Brown Hyena * Cheetah * Vervet Monkey * Baboon * Civet Cats * Mongoose – yellow, black tipped * Serval * Ant Bear (Giant anteater) * Scaly anteater (Pangolin) * Hyrax(Dassie) * Wild Cat * Lesser Bush Baby (Nagapie)* Thick-Tailed Bush Baby * Striped Polecat (Skunk) * Rock Rabbits * Hares * Springhares * Rodents – Rats, Mice, Shrews, Moles * Fruit Bats *
There are 685 species of birds in Zimbabwe, of which up to 300 species live and breed within the Shangani Sanctuary. Some of the common ones include:
Ostrich * Cranes – Wattled crane, Crowned crane * Kori Bustard * Storks – Black, Abdim’s, White, Yellow billed * Korhaan – karoo, blue, southern white-bellied * Plovers – crowned, wattled, blacksmith * Dikkops * Robin Chats – White Browed, White Throated * Shrikes – Boubou, Fiscal Shrike, Crimson Breasted Shrike * Red Billed Hornbills * Fork Tailed Drongoes * Thrushes – Kurrichane Thrush, Ground Scraper Thrush * Bee-eaters – White Fronted Bee-eater, Little Bee-eater, European Bee-eater * Swifts * Swallows * Sunbirds * Lilac Breasted Rollers * Tchagras *Cuckoos – Red Breasted Cuckoo, Striped Cuckoo, Diedericks Cuckoo, Senegal Cuckoo * Bulbuls * Hoopoes – African Hoopoe, Green Wood Hoopoe * Doves * Pigeons * Orioles – Black Headed Oriole, Golden Oriole * Woodpeckers * Kingfishers – Grey Hooded Kingfisher, Brown Hooded Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher * Barbets – Black Collared Barbet, Crested Barbet, Tinker Barbet * Arrow Marked Babblers * Weavers * Spurfowls (Francolin – Swainson’s, Coqui, Crested, Natal) * Guinea Fowls * Eagles – African Fish Eagle, Martial Eagle, Bateleur * Kestrels * Kites * Hawks * Peregrine Falcon * Owls – Spotted Eagle Owl, Cape Eagle Owl, Giant Eagle Owl, Scopps Owl; White faced Owl * Fiery Necked Nightjars * Ducks – White Faced Duck, Knob Billed Duck * Lapwings * Cormorants * Herons – Grey Heron, Goliath Heron * Hamerkops * Teals * Lily Trotters * Dabchicks * Coots * Moorhens * Geese – Egyptian geese, Knob-nosed geese, Spurwing geese * Vultures – African White-Backed Vulture, Lappet-Faced Vulture, White-Headed Vulture and Cape Vulture
There are 81 species of snakes in Zimbabwe. The good news is that most of the snakes in Zimbabwe are harmless to man, although some may attack if teased or cornered. Keep a close look-out for these:
*Snakes – Black Mamba, Southern Rock Python, Boomslang, Brown House Snake, Egg Eater, Mozambique Spitting Cobra, Snouted Cobra, Puffadder, Twig Snake, Spotted Bush Snake, and the sightless Blind Worm.
There are a wide variety of other species to be found as well:
* Lizards * Frogs * Toads * Spiders * Insects * Fish