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Geological Highlights of East Africa’s National Parks

21 February 2023

There are many superlatives associated with Africa and its abundant, varied, and iconic wildlife and landforms, with none more spectacular than those of the East African region, encompassing Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Due to the foresight of individual and government conservationists, numerous national parks and conservancies have been proclaimed in order to protect the natural heritage in this region. Without exception, these parks possess landforms and ecological attributes that have had considerable influence on the flora and wildlife habitats of the region. The importance of the geology has, by contrast, received only cursory recognition.

This book is a welcome and refreshing addition that exposes the highlights of a remarkable geological terrane. On one hand, the book covers some of the oldest rocks on Earth, which build a vast interior plateau that includes, among others, the famous Serengeti and Maasai Mara National Parks. On the other hand, we learn about the adjacent, younger, and impressive East African Rift System, a divergent plate boundary that is splitting east Africa apart, which began developing approximately 25 to 22 million years ago. The East African Rift System includes a major volcanic province resulting from countless eruptions of lava and volcanic debris that formed volcanic plateaus and volcanic ash cones. This extraordinary terrane is a favourite tourist destination for scientists and lay people alike to experience the unique ecosystems and to admire the splendour of some of the world’s most impressive geological features, including palaeoanthropological sites, such as Oldupai Gorge, which has yielded fossil evidence of early hominins.

The nature of the geology of most of the national parks is admirably explained in an uncomplicated yet scientific manner. Select geological features are portrayed, together with the wildlife, in numerous photographs of superb quality. Of particular value are the exceptional maps, annotated satellite images, and diagrams that enhance the text and owe their origin to the draughting skills of Lyn Whitfield, who assisted Roger Scoon with the book’s presentation. Anyone contemplating a safari to East Africa’s national parks will have their experience greatly enhanced by following this indispensable guide that highlights the geology and other significant natural attributes of the region.

Reviewed by Carl Anhaeusser



BY: Roger N. Scoon (2022). Struik Nature. 279 pp. (ebook)

ISBN: 9781775847786

PRICE: £13.50 www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za