The cultivated belt contains many small holdings (shambas) where bananas and various vegetables are grown. The area is also suitable for coffee and there are several major plantations.
The southern, wetter forests contain camphor, podocarpus, fig and other trees; lush undergrowth contains many giant ferns and Usnea (old manís beard) drapes everything. Vines, mimulopsis and a multitude of flowers can be found in valleys and in clearer areas. The northern, drier forests contain
podocarpus, junipers and olives. In contrast to Mount Kenya few large animals are found in this zone, though colobus and blue monkeys can often be seen but other inhabitants such as smaller antelopes an leopards are very shy. Many colourful birds are found here, the most noticeable being the Hornbill and the Turaco with its dark red wing markings.
The forests end abruptly without a bamboo zone as found on most other East African mountains. Above, the rapidly thinning giant heather zone leads to the upper moorlands; here the giant groundsels and altitude tropical mountain zones can be found. There are few animals other than rodents though leopard spoor can often be seen. Eagles and buzzards soar high above and smaller birds such as the alpine chat and streaky seed eater can also be seen. In the higher moorland and a pine zones only a few tufts of grass, mosses and lichen are found, together with occasional flowers such as the everlasting helichrysums and senecios.