The thickets are found in the flatland between Lake Mweru Wantipa and Lake Tanganyika in Zambia (between 950 m and 1,200 m above sea level), and near the town of Itigi in Tanzania. The climate consists of a cool dry season from May to August, a hot dry season from August to November, and a rainy season from November to April.
The extremely dense, impenetrable Itigi deciduous thicket is a unique mixture of woody shrubs 3 to 5 metres high.
Traditionally habitat of elephant and black rhino the area is vulnerable to poaching and the rhino have been eradicated from the area. The thickets are also home to three endemic reptiles Urungu beaked snake (Rhinotyphlops gracilis), four-fingered skink (Sepsina tetradactyla), and a lizard Latastia johnstoni.
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Threats and preservation
The thickets are being extensively cleared for firewood and for cultivation as the populations of the two countries grow, with 50% gone in Tanzania (which is unprotected) and 70% in Zambia, which does have some protection in the Mweru Wantipa National Park. The largest blocks of thicket remain on the northern shores of Lake Mweru Wantipa and in the eastern portion of the Zambian Itigi thicket.
- "Itigi-Sumbu thicket". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.