Explorers: Timberlake and Bayliss - Explore! Explorers: Timberlake and Bayliss - Explore!

Explorers: Timberlake and Bayliss

The Base Camp on Mount Mabu

This magazine is primarily about recreational exploring, but there is also the possibility of incorporating exploration into your career.  Here you will find  a little information about a couple of individuals that explore the outdoors as part of their career. The associated video will give you some insight as to what their adventures involve.  I plan to add more articles about explorers, so check out the”Explorers” link to the right for any you may have missed.


Jonathan Timberlake and Julian Bayliss, Biologists

Dr. Julian Bayliss is an explorer and a biologist.  He was searching Africa for areas above 5400 feet with high rainfall using Google Earth when he noticed a particularly green spot in Mozambique. He found that the area was a medium elevation rain forest surrounding Mount Mabu and that there was no record of biological finds in the area.  It was, essentially, untouched by humans.  After Bayliss verified the situation on the ground,  Jonathan Timberlake, a biologist from the Africa Drylands team at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in England, brought together a group of 28 scientists  from the UK, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Belgium and Switzerland and led the first expedition to Mount Mabu in 2008.  Bayliss continued as one of the key project partners in Mozambique.

Jonathan Timberlake exploring Mt. Mabo, Mozambique

Jonathan Timberlake on Mt. Mabu
Photo by Tom Timberlake.
Used with permission.

At the time, Timberlake said: “The phenomenal diversity is just mind-boggling: seeing how things are adapted to little niches, to me this is the incredible thing. Even today we cannot say we know all of the world’s key areas for biodiversity — there are still new ones to discover. This is potentially the biggest area of medium-altitude forest I’m aware of in southern Africa, yet it was not on the map, and most Mozambicans would not have even recognised the name Mount Mabu. Kew is working with the Mozambique government to protect areas like Mount Mabu and encourage local people to value the forest for its wildlife. By conserving the plant life we can help secure a future for all the other creatures we saw there.”   This expedition was funded by Defra’s Darwin Initiative and is part of Kew’s ongoing work with Mozambique’s National Herbarium to identify priority areas for conservation in the face of rapid development.

More recently Bayliss says: “NGO Fauna and Flora International is working with Friends of the Earth Mozambique, Justiça Ambiental, to establish a management strategy for Mount Mabu. The long-term aim is to establish Mabu as a protected area, recognised by national government.  The local community and the surrounding tea estate are going to be key to Mabu’s conservation success and they are also an important part of this process.  At present, Mount Mabu has been registered as a low impact tourism concession by the provincial government. A recent trip I took to the area in October 2013 confirmed it is in good condition and has not suffered from any habitat degradation. Mabu is very special as it is one of the largest mid-altitude forests remaining in southern Africa. I look forward to the day when we receive news that Mabu has got the level of protection it deserves.”

Timberlake added, “The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is still involved in exploring the montane forests of Mozambique and documenting their plant life – Mount Mabu is just one of a series of peaks in the country that require more detailed scientific exploration. We urgently need to assess the biodiversity of these unique mountain habitats and then use this knowledge to help equip local people and NGOs with the information they need to develop practical conservation actions.

“Our next expedition in Mozambique will take us to the Chimanimani Mountains on the western border with Zimbabwe. It is important that we explore these mountains further as they are home to many endemic plant species that they do not occur anywhere else in the world. If these plants are lost from the Chimanimani Mountains, we lose them forever.”



A background in biology or botany may lead you to a career that involves exploration.  In many cases explorers in these fields are associated with colleges, universities, governmental or non-governmental organizations


The video is displayed from YouTube where information about its creator may be found. The header photo, by Julian Bayliss,  is provided courtesy of the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens and is used with permission.  It shows the team’s base camp on Mount Mabu.  The text was written by Jerry Haugen, Pathfinder, and is ©2013 Global Creations LLC – All Rights Reserved.  It was written based upon a variety of news sources and information from Kew Royal Botanical Gardens with special thanks to Bronwyn Friedlander of the Kew Press Office.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

Pin It on Pinterest