Sudd is a simply enormous marsh located in the White Nile valley. This area belongs to South Sudan and covers an area of 30 thousand square kilometers. But this area was measured in the dry season, but if you measure the Soudd during the rainy season, which lasts from April to September, you will see that the area of the marsh has increased nearly four times. So during this period, the Sudd extends over 120,000 square kilometers. The numbers are amazing. It is truly one of the largest swamps in the world.
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Animal and Plant Life
It may not seem like there are many animals in an area like this, but that opinion is wrong. More than 400 species of birds can be counted in Sudda. But if everything is clear with birds, because if the ground begins to leave under their feet (legs), the bird can always fly away, but with cloven-hoofed animals, it would seem, everything is not so simple. However, they still inhabit the area. It seems surprising that huge herds can move through the swampy ground, live here, feed and breed, but they have adapted and know how to find a fairly stable area Sudd, besides there is always enough food and water in contrast to other areas of Sudan.
In all, there are about 100 species of mammals living in the Sudd. Crocodiles and hippos are especially abundant among the local animal population. So life in this giant swamp is not easy. Predators can attack at any moment. Plants are plentiful here, too. Reeds, papyrus, hyacinth occupy huge plantations. Even trees manage to grow in some places. All this plant mass can form huge islands and drift across the area of the Sudd.
However, talk of the Sudd is always tentative, although some figures are given in the articles. The fact is that this area is difficult to study. Explorers simply can’t get here. There are no roads and no paved routes for boats. If the area was recently cleared of vegetation, it may now be overgrown again. In Sudd, the terrain is constantly changing, so scientists mostly move around the Nile and try to explore Sudd in some way, but they don’t risk going deep into the area, and there’s not much of an opportunity.
Life in the Swamp
It may seem that this is completely wild territory, so no man has ever set foot on the Sudd lands. But that, again, is not true. The fact is that people live in the territory of this swamp. The main inhabitants of the Sudd are the Nuer tribe. Surprisingly, they have many occupations. Nuer people can go fishing, and can raise herds of animals and herd them on the huge drifting islands of vegetation, which, by the way, can reach 30 km. The tribesmen also manage to grow edible plants on stable plots. In general, their life though amazing, but very similar to the life of ordinary people on the shore.
However, it certainly has its own peculiarities, because a swamp is a swamp. Careless movement can lead to death here. In addition, there are hungry crocodiles waiting for people in the waters, and a once stable patch of vegetation, can suck a whole herd of animals into the swampy waters. You have to be on your guard at all times here.
Perhaps life for the Nuer could have changed dramatically if, as was intended in the 1970s, the Junkali Canal had been built here. It would have passed through the Sudd swamps and eventually drained them. The benefits of the project were to bring fresh water to other parts of Sudan and to Egypt, and to free up land from the swamps that could be used for agricultural purposes. The project wasn’t bad, because most of the water contained in the Sudd swamps isn’t used, it just evaporates. Still, there may have been more harm than good from such a project.
As a result, by 1984 they dug 240 kilometers of the canal instead of the planned 360, and abandoned the job halfway through. There was not enough money, but perhaps it was for the best. After all, most often it is not good to change nature by man. Fish and animals could have disappeared from these places, groundwater would have dropped, and all this would have made it impossible for the local population to survive in the Sudd territory. But the project is currently abandoned, and travelers can still see one of the world’s largest swamps in all its glory.
Top 10 largest swamps in the world
It is not uncommon to see a swamp in the paintings of famous artists. For example, Jacob van Reisdal painted the picture “The Swamp” (in 1660), which became a masterpiece of landscape painting. The artist conceptualized nature as a symbol of eternity…
Most likely, when the word “swamp”, as well as most people, your imagination conjures up a gloomy, foggy and even uncomfortable area, characterized by high humidity. And you want to ask, “What’s so beautiful here?” However, there are many swamps on our planet that are not at all gloomy or scary. Some of them, on the contrary, are attractive, and perhaps in some people evoke a fairy tale mood.
Take a look at the largest swamps in our selection, and see for yourself that they can be not only gloomy, but also beautiful. And some are impossible to take your eyes off!
The Okefenokee is the largest swamp in North America. In the language of the local aborigines means “wobbly land”. The name is quite justified, the fact is that it swallows up any roads and structures in its vicinity. Sounds eerie, doesn’t it?
If you’re going to travel across the eastern United States, be sure to visit the protected marshes of Okefenokee. It’s a marshy area with unique flora and fauna. Here you can see alligators while boating, as well as turtles and squirrels, admire the surroundings, and of course, take colorful photos.
Once scientists decided to count the birds of Kandaba and it was found that 32 thousand hectares of swamp became a refuge for 80 species of migratory birds! Because of this, a festival called “Birds and Eggs” is held in the Kandab swamps in February, where locals dress up as feathered birds and dance as if they’re about to take off.
When the rainy season starts, the place is flooded, but from November to April the locals grow watermelons and rice.
The farmers peacefully mingle with biologists and interested travelers, because everyone is curious to see such a variety of birds with their own eyes! In terms of biodiversity, Kandaba Swamp is one of the most interesting ones.
8. Everglades National Park
The Everglades is the place where you can see alligators, bloodthirsty predators, live. The park is included in the list of the wonders of the world and is protected by UNESCO. If you travel in the U.S. – it is a must-see! The park is located in the south of the Florida peninsula.
First and foremost, the Everglades is famous for its wetlands, which are home to a wide variety of birds and other creatures of the globe. The national park’s wetlands are called quiet grassy rivers – they truly bring tranquility and immerse you in a meditative state, you can boat across them, forgetting about the hustle and bustle of the city. Elliot pines grow among the swamps!
7. Atchafalaya Basin
The Atchafalaya Basin or Swamp is the largest wetland in the United States. It is unique among Louisiana basins because it has a growing delta system with stable wetlands.
No wonder Atchafalaya is on the list of the most beautiful wetlands in the world. The huge cypress trees that form gloomy corridors certainly cannot fail to attract attention.
It is possible to travel among these corridors by boat, which is what those wishing to get a closer look at the area do. The state of Louisiana, where the swamp is located, is known for its extraordinary and even somewhat fantastic views.
It is impossible to take your eyes off of Bangweulu Swamp! Zambia is a country of swamps, and it has a large and unique water system combining Lake Bangweulu, the swamp, and the plateau. At its core, of course, is the lake, but we are interested in the swamp.
“The place where the water meets the sky,” is how Bangweulu is translated. These bogs have their own legend – according to myths, they hide a beast – the horned monster Emel-Ntouka, which looks like a huge rhinoceros. The locals are convinced that he can even take out an elephant, by the way, from the Lingala language it is translated as “elephant killer”. This mysterious creature is described both as a mammal and as a reptile.
5. The Okavango
The Okavango is located in Botswana. It is the largest inland delta on the planet, yet it has no outlet to the world’s oceans. The marshland is home to animals and birds.
We cannot say that the flora of the Okavango is very diverse, but still there are a lot of interesting plants here. The upper part of the delta, for example, is covered with dense thickets of reeds and lilies in the vast water areas.
Very many animals in the delta have found a home for themselves: crocodiles, hippos and antelopes are well adapted to life here. Of course, predators also live here: hyenas, leopards, etc., but in the lower reaches of the Okavango.
Manchac is called the “ghost swamp”. Among these murky waters and creepy trees, many have become victims… However, despite this, many tourists want to “tickle their nerves” and go to the spooky-attractive area.
The whole area is truly terrifying… When you find yourself in this place – goosebumps run on your skin, and you get dizzy. Just imagine: somewhere there are no trees, and where there are – everything looks pretty scary, the water is blue-black in color…
When you find yourself in the territory of Manchac, it seems that death awaits you. The fact is that alligators live in Manchac Territory – runaway slaves once hid here, but none of them survived.
There are many legends around Manchac, and according to one of them, a witch who was caught and held on these marshes put a monstrous curse on Manchac, and since then all the words of the witch began to find their fulfillment in reality.
3. Vasyugan Bogs
Vasyugan swamps are one of the largest in the world. They are a very interesting natural phenomenon, characterized by a variety of landscapes, which is certainly pleasant to look at from a helicopter.
In 2007 the Vasyuganskiye bogs were included in the UNESCO list. They originated about 10 thousand years ago and have been increasing ever since. The bogs are home to numerous local fauna and rare animals: peregrine falcon, golden eagle, reindeer and others.
The flora also includes endangered plant species, among the wild-growers are common: blueberries, cloudberries, cranberries. There are many lakes on the territory of the Vasyuganskiye bogs, there are also a lot of rivers and creeks.
The giant Sudd Swamp is located in the White Nile Valley. The area is inhabited by people (the main inhabitants are the Nuer tribe), oddly enough, but it is the most fertile in South Sudan, while the rest of the territory consists of deserts and arid plateaus.
The area is home to many birds and mammals. There is also a variety of local flora. It is almost impossible to move through the marshes – neither by swimming, nor by land transport. Such conditions make it difficult for scientists to get here, so there are still many “white spots”. The Sudd extends over 120,000 kilometers. – The numbers are staggering!
The Pantanal Swamp, formed by a large tectonic depression filled with water, completes our selection. Not surprisingly, it is bounded on three sides by cliffs.
The marsh is greatly influenced by the climate – when it rains in summer, the depression fills with water, which turns the marsh into a huge lake, only overgrown.
In winter, the Pantanal looks very unassuming – the swampy mud mixed with vegetation, in some places diluted with small rivers, lakes and grassy areas.
The flora of Pantanal is very diverse: there are trees and shrubs. There are also unique giant lilies, interesting that they can hold a person (if he does not weigh much). The animal world is also diverse: there are at least 1,000 vertebrates, fish, reptiles, etc.