Krystal Tolley

While exploring the montane forests of Mozambique last December, my crew and I hoped to discover unique species in these little-known ecosystems, also called sky islands, that are isolated from the surrounding savanna. Along the way, we made some exciting new discoveries—including a new species of chameleon—and some sobering ones. Prepared to survey the elusive...

Mount Ribàué, our last montane forest on the schedule, is located another few-hundred kilometers to the east of Namuli. This is the least-known of all the mountains we are visiting. For Mabu and Namuli, there have been some recent botanical surveys, but Ribàué is more elusive. Few have ever visited the mountain for scientific purposes. The last...

Being so totally disconnected from a regular nine-to-five, Monday–Friday schedule, time loses meaning out in Africa’s “sky-island” rain forests. Though we had at first been greeted with the devastation of slash-and-burn farms on Mt. Namuli, we found a portion of remaining forest to begin our search for new species. One day, although I knew it was...

Our expedition to find new reptiles and amphibians in Africa’s “sky islands” was off to a cheerful start after our hair-raising but successful sojourn on Mount Mabu. After packing up camp there on November 23, we headed down the mountain to the vehicles, down a narrow, muddy 4×4 track, and onto the “bush road.” After five hours of...

After a long and arduous trip over savannah, across borders and into the forests of Mabu Mountain, we were finally able to begin our search for exotic undiscovered species. In this unique “sky island” forest, the ecosystem is isolated from the surrounding savannah simply because nothing that lives in these forests can escape and survive...

Krystal Tolley is exploring the “sky islands” of south-eastern Africa. Isolated from the surrounding savanna, these forests on high peaks and ridges contain their own unique wildlife, including many species that are new discoveries. Along with her crew, Krystal hopes to penetrate the veil of mystery around these little-known ecosystems. The montane isolates or “sky...

It’s only one week before we get onto the road for the sky-island expedition in eastern Africa, so I would also like to introduce the team. First and foremost is our camp manager Mike Scott from Khangela Safaris. Mike has more than 20 years of experience in the bush working as a naturalist and guide....

Krystal Tolley is a National Geographic grantee discovering the diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the montane forests of Mozambique. —- The Afromontane archipelago of Mozambique is an unexplored, but potentially biologically important area which has rarely been surveyed. These montane isolates form an important, unexplored linkage between the better studied Eastern Arc Mountains and...

Krystal Tolley is a National Geographic grantee discovering the diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the montane forests of Mozambique. —- The Afromontane archipelago of Mozambique is an unexplored, but potentially biologically important area which has rarely been surveyed. These montane isolates form an important, unexplored linkage between the better studied Eastern Arc Mountains and...

Krystal Tolley is a National Geographic grantee discovering the diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the montane forests of Mozambique. —- The Afromontane archipelago of Mozambique is an unexplored, but potentially biologically important area which has rarely been surveyed. These montane isolates form an important, unexplored linkage between the better studied Eastern Arc Mountains and...