This section contains a unique collection of some of the plants from the rapidly disappearing tropical forests of Central and West Africa. A complete ecosystem has been recreated here, from the high forest canopy, to the thick layer of herbaceous plants on the forest floor.
The Chrysophyllum gorungosanum (brown-berry, fluted-milkwood) can grow up to 45 m while Khaya anthotheca (red mahogany) grows up to a whopping 60 m. Funtumia africana‘s (silk rubber) latex has been used as bird lime. Oricia bachmannii (twin-berry tree) and Maesopsis eminii (umbrella tree) provide berries to birds and mammals and an infusion of the bark can be drunk to relieve colds. In certain parts of Africa the stems are used to make dugout canoes. The colour of the wood is reddish with a handsome grain and is thus suitable for making furniture.
The suspended bridge (SAPPI Aerial Boardwalk), which runs from the African Rain Forest, connects the Garden with the Visitors’ Centre. The boardwalk is one of the main attractions in the African Rainforest. It takes visitors 4 m up into the canopy of the Rain Forest, providing a bird’s-eye view of this interesting tropical area of the Garden. The construction of this aerial board was made possible by a substantial donation from SAPPI.
Hippos caused irreparable damage to the ground level boardwalk which necessitated the building of this aerial boardwalk.