Jabal Bura

  • JabalBura

Inland to the east of Hodeida lies a remarkable relic of a past age, one of the last vestiges of extensive subtropical forest in the Arabian peninsula.

The southwestern slopes of Jabal Bura (2.271 m) are clothed with acacia (A. asak) and myrrh trees, along some fifty species common in the narrow valleys of the lower escarpment, like Comberetum molle, Terminalia brownii, Trichilia emetica and Phoenix rectilinate ( a palm of the tropical lowlands). 

In the western valley below, these give way to more revering forest species, among them Breonadia salicina (renowned for its timber), Pandanus odoratissimus (the screw pine, remarkable for its beautifully scented flowers) and, again, Terminalia brownie and Phoenix rectilinata. 

 The forest also contains a stunning fauna of migratory birds and butterflies, hyenas and large troops of baboons; leopards have been seen here quite recently. For fear of the wild beasts, the local people in these mountains insist that travelers may not bivouac outdoors at night and are generous with their hospitality. 

On the dry mountain slopes of the foothills and lower escarpment there is the flowering bottle tree (Adenium obesum), with its swollen trunk. This is a member of the dogbane family which has developed into a weird succulent form. 

Reeds are festooned with the nests of the gregarious Ruppell's weaverbird. Long-legged hammerkops (Scopus umbretta), with their odd-looking head-crests, are more common here than elsewhere in the country and wade in the slow-moving water of the wadis searching for small aquatic invertebrates, often kicking or shuffling their feet to stir up the bottom. 

These birds build remarkable half-ton communal roofed nests of mud and sticks, up to two meters high, in the forks of waterside trees.