This island, originally known as Kitchener's Island, was deeded to British Field Marshal and Egyptian Consul General Kitchener by the British government in gratitude for his services in Sudan, specifically for his suppression of the Mahdi revolt. Egypt was still a British protectorate when he died in 1916, and the island reverted to the government On this fertile piece of land, northwest of Elephantine, Lord Kitchener indulged his passion for plants and turned the whole island into a botanical garden. He imported exotic flora from other parts of Africa, from India, and even from the Far East. By planting the local gum trees, acacias, doum and date palms, and tamarisks, he turned the island into a virtual paradise. The dense foliage of the trees was linked with a heavy canopy of flowering creepers. Here a variety of indigenous and migratory birds can still be seen today. The island is preserved as a botanical research station, the gardens are well tended, and the trees and shrubs are clearly identified.
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