Top Ten African National Parks

Top Ten African National Parks

  1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

           The Serengeti National Park is a large national park in Serengeti area, Tanzania. It is most famous for its annual migration of over one and a half million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.
    Links: Top Ten Tanzanian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serengeti_National_Park, 
  2. Marojejy National Park, Madagascar

           
    Marojejy National Park is a national park in the SAVA Region of northeastern Madagascar. It covers 55,500 ha (214 sq mi) and is centered around the Marojejy Massif, a mountain chain which rises to an elevation of 2,132 m (6,995 ft). The wide range of elevations and rugged topology of the massif create diverse habitats that transition quickly with changes in altitude. Warm, dense rainforest can be found at lower elevations, followed by shorter forests at higher elevations, followed still by cloud forest, and topped near the peaks with the only remaining undisturbed mountain scrub in Madagascar. This habitat diversity lends itself to high levels of biodiversity. At least 118 species of bird, 148 species of reptile and amphibian and 11 species of lemur are known to live within Marojejy National Park. One of the lemurs, the silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) is listed among “The World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates.” The Helmet Vanga (Euryceros prevostii) is considered the iconic bird species of the park. One path leads from the entrance of the park to the summit. There are three camps along the route: Camp Mantella at 450 m (1,480 ft) in elevation in lowland rainforest, Camp Marojejia at 775 m (2,543 ft) at the transition between lowland and montane rain forest, and Camp Simpona at 1,250 m (4,100 ft) in the middle of the montane rainforest. Camp Simpona acts as a base camp for the trek to the summit, a route that stretches 2 km (1.2 mi) and can take up to four or five hours.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascan Attractions, Top Ten PrimatesTop 100 BirdsTop Ten Lizards, Top Ten Best Dressed Animalshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marojejy_National_Park,
  3. Maasai Mara, Kenya




           The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a large game reserve in south-western Kenya, which is effectively the northern continuation of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It is named after the Maasai people (the traditional inhabitants of the area) and their description of the area when looked at from afar: “Mara,” which is Maa (Maasai language) for “spotted,” an apt description for the circles of trees, scrub, savanna and cloud shadows that mark the area. It is famous for its exceptional population of Big Cats, and the annual migration, known as the “Great Migration,” of zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, and wildebeest from the Serengeti every year from July to October. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is only a fraction of the Greater Mara Ecosystem, which includes the following Group Ranches: Koiyaki, Lemek, Ol Chorro Oirowua, Olkinyei, Siana, Maji Moto, Naikara, Ol Derkesi, Kerinkani, Oloirien and Kimintet.
    Links: Top Ten Kenyan Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_Mara,
  4. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda


           Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and is situated along the Democratic Republic of Congo border next to the Virunga National Park and on the edge of the western Great Rift Valley. It comprises 331 square km (128 square mi) of jungle forests and contains both montane and lowland forest and is accessible only on foot. The forest is one of the richest ecosystems in Africa and has a vast diversity of species. The park provides habitat for some 120 species of mammals, 348 species of birds, 220 species of butterflies, 27 species of frogs, chameleons, geckos and many endangered species. Floristically Bwindi is amongst the most diverse forests in East Africa, with more than 1,000 flowering plant species including 163 species of trees and 104 species of ferns. The northern (low altitude) sector is rich in species of the Guineo-Congolian flora. These include two species internationally recognized as endangered, Brown mahogany (Lovoa swynnertonii) and Brazzeia longipedicellata. In particular the area shares in the high levels of endemisms of the Albertine Rift. The park is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees and many birds (such as hornbills and turacos). It is perhaps most notable for the 340 Bwindi gorillas, half the world’s population. There are four habituated Mountain Gorilla groups open to tourism: Mubare; Habinyanja; Rushegura near Buhoma; and the Nkuringo group at Nkuringo.
    Links: Top Ten Ugandan Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, Top 100 BirdsTop Ten Butterflieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bwindi_Impenetrable_National_Park,
  5. Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas, Zimbabwe

    Mana Pools is a wildlife conservation area in northern Zimbabwe constituting a National Park. It is a region of the lower Zambezi River in Zimbabwe where the flood plain turns into a broad expanse of lakes after each rainy season. As the lakes gradually dry up and recede, the region attracts many large animals in search of water, making it one of Africa’s most renowned game-viewing regions. Mana means ‘four’ in Shona, in reference to the four large permanent pools formed by the meanderings of the middle Zambezi. These 2,500 square kilometers of river frontage, islands, sandbanks and pools, flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs, is one of the least developed National Parks in Southern Africa. It was saved from a hydro-electric scheme in the early 1980’s which would have seen the flooding of this subsequent World Heritage site. It has the country’s biggest concentration of hippopotamuses and crocodiles and large dry season mammal populations of elephant and buffalo.
    Links: Top Ten Zimbabwean Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mana_Pools_National_Park, http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/302,
  6. Masoala National Park, Madagascar


           Masoala National Park, in northeast Madagascar, is the largest of the island’s protected areas. Most of the park is situated in Sava Region and a part in Analanjirofo. Created in 1997, the park protects 2,300 square kilometers of rainforest and 100 square km of marine parks. The Masoala peninsula is exceptionally diverse due to its huge size and variety of habitats. Altogether, the park protects rainforest, coastal forest, flooded forest, marsh and mangrove.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoala_National_Park,
  7. Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar



           Ranomafana National Park is located in the southeastern part of Madagascar in Haute Matsiatra and Vatovavy-Fitovinany. With more than 41,600 hectares (161 square mi) of moist forest climate, the park is home to several rare species of flora and fauna such as the lemur. The park was established in 1991 with the purpose of conserving the unique biodiversity of the local ecosystem and reducing the human pressures on the protected area.
    Links: Top Ten Madagascan Attractions, Top Ten Frogs/Toads, Top Ten Lizards, Top Ten Spiders, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ranomafana_National_Park,
  8. West Coast National Park, South Africa

           The West Coast National Park lies 120 km north of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is 27,500 hectares (106 sq mi) in size. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the R27 coastal road, and runs from the town of Yzerfontein in the south up to the Langebaan lagoon. The park is particularly well known for its bird life and for the spring flowers which occur in the months from August to October, especially in the Postberg flower reserve section of the park.
    Links: Top Ten South African Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_National_Park, 
  9. Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania


           Kilimanjaro National Park is a national park, located 200 miles south of the equator near Moshi, Tanzania. It is centered on Mount Kilimanjaro, and covers an area of 753 km² (291 square miles). In the 1910’s, Mount Kilimanjaro and its forests were declared a game reserve by the German colonial government, but by 1921 it was made a forest reserve. In 1973, the mountain above the tree line (about 2,700 m / 9,000 ft.) was reclassified as a National Park and was opened to public access in 1977.
    Links: Top Ten Tanzanian Attractions, National Parks, Top Ten African National Parks, MountainsTop Ten African Mountainshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilimanjaro_National_Park,
  10. Chobe National Park, Botswana


           Chobe National Park, in northwest Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. By size, it is the 3rd largest park of the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most diverse. It is also the country’s first national park.
    Links: Top Ten Botswana Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chobe_National_Park,
  11. Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and Santuary, Botswana

           The Makgadikgadi Pan is a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world. The pan is all that remains of the formerly enormous Lake Makgadikgadi, which once covered an area larger than Switzerland, but dried up several thousand years ago.
    Links: Top Ten Botswana Attractions, Top 100 Birdshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botswana,
  12. Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia


           Simien Mountains National Park is one of the National Parks of Ethiopia. Located in the Semien (North) Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region, its territory covers the Simien Mountains and includes Ras Dashan, the highest point in Ethiopia. It is home to a number of extremely rare species, including the Ethiopian wolf, Gelada Baboon and the Walia Ibex, a wild goat found nowhere else in the world. The Caracal also occurs within the Simien Mountains. More than 50 species of birds inhabit the park, including the impressive Bearded Vulture, or Lammergeier, with its 10-foot (3m) wingspan. The park is crossed by an unpaved road which runs from Debarq, where the administrative headquarters of the park is located, east through a number of villages to the Buahit Pass, where the road turns south to end at Mekane Berhan 10 kilometers beyond the park boundary.
    Links: Top Ten Ethiopian Attractions, Top Ten Horns, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semien_Mountains_National_Park
  13. Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe



           The Matobo National Park forms the core of the Matobo or Matopos Hills, an area of granite kopjes and wooded valleys commencing some 35 km south of Bulawayo, southern Zimbabwe. The Hills were formed over 2,000 million years ago with granite being forced to the surface, this has eroded to produce smooth “whaleback dwalas” and broken kopjes, strewn with boulders and interspersed with thickets of vegetation. Mzilikazi, founder of the Ndebele nation, gave the area its name, meaning ‘Bald Heads.’ The Hills cover an area of about 3,100 km², of which 424 km² is National Park, the remainder being largely communal land and a small proportion of commercial farmland. The park covers some beautiful scenery including some spectacular balancing rocks and impressive views along the Thuli, Mtshelele, Maleme and Mpopoma river valleys. Part of the national park is set aside as a 100 km² game park, which has been stocked with game including black and white rhinoceros. The highest point in the hills is the promontory named Gulati (1549 m) just outside the north-eastern corner of the park. Administratively, Matobo National Park incorporates the Lake Matopos Recreational Park, being the area around Hazelside, Sandy Spruit and Lake Matopos.
    Links: Top Ten Zimbabwe Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_Hills,
  14. Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

           Garamba National Park, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa, was established in 1938. One of Africa’s oldest National parks, it is (or at least was) the home to the world’s last known wild population of Northern White Rhinoceros. Due to poaching of the rhinos within the park, it was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1996. The park is also well known for its African elephant domestication program started in the 1960’s, which managed to train tourist-rideable animals from the naturally wild beasts.
    Links: Top Ten Democratic Republic of Congo Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garamba_National_Park,
  15. Kahuzi-Biéga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

           Kahuzi-Biéga National Park is in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, 50 km west of the town of Bukavu in the Kivu Region, near to the western side of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. The park is one of the last refuges of the rare Eastern Lowland Gorilla. Prior to conflicts which have plagued this part of Africa since the 1990’s, only an estimated 600 gorillas remained throughout the range. It is likely that recent war in the region has taken a terrible toll on their numbers. One recent estimate in 2005 has suggested that as many as 60% of the population of nearly 300 recorded in Kahuzi-Biéga in 1990 may have perished. The ongoing fighting in the Congo has moved within the boundaries of the park causing looting, burning of the forest, and poaching of the animals. The Park is named after two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi (3,308 m) and Mount Biéga (2,790 m). Mount Kahuzi is the highest in this part of Kivu.
    Links: Top Ten Democratic Republic of the Congo, Top Ten Primateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kahuzi-Biega_National_Park, 
  16. Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria



           
    Tassili n’Ajjer, Berber for “Plateau of the Rivers,” is a mountain range in the Sahara desert. It is a vast plateau in south-east Algeria at the borders of Libya, Niger and Mali, covering an area of 72,000 sq. km. The exceptional density of paintings and engravings, and the presence of many prehistoric vestiges, are remarkable testimonies to Prehistory. From 10,000 BC to the first centuries of our era, successive peoples left many archaeological remains, habitations, burial mounds and enclosures which have yielded abundant lithic and ceramic material. However, it is the rock art (engravings and paintings) that have made Tassili world famous since its discovery in 1933. 15,000 engravings have been identified to date. The nearest town is Djanet, about 10 km southwest of the range. Much of the range, including the cypresses and archaeological sites are protected in a National park, Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site, named the Tassili n’Ajjer National Park. The plateau is also of great geological and aesthetic interest: the panorama of geological formations with “rock forests” of eroded sandstone resembles a strange lunar landscape.
    Links: Top Ten Algerian Attractions, Cave PaintingsTop Ten African Cave Paintings, Relieves and Petroglyphs, Top Ten Paintings Depicting ExtraterrestrialsTop Ten Extraterrestrial Related Artifacts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tassili_n%27Ajjer, 
  17. Teide National Park, Canary Islands, Spain

           Teide National Park is a national park located in Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain). It is centered on 3,718 m Mount Teide, the highest mountain of Spain and the islands of the Atlantic, it is the 3rd largest volcano in the world from its base. It was declared a National Park on January 22,1954, making it one of the oldest national parks in Spain. Another volcano located in the park (next to the Teide) is the Pico Viejo, the 2nd largest volcano in the Canary Islands. Since the end of 2007, it has also been one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. Midway up the mountain are the telescopes of the Observatorio del Teide. Territorially, it belongs to the municipality of La Orotava. Teide is the most visited National Park in Spain, with a total of 2.8 million visitors, according to the Instituto Canario de Estadística. The Teide is the most famous natural icon not only of Tenerife but also of all the Canary Islands.
    Links: Top Ten Canary Islands Attractions, Top Ten Spanish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teide_National_Park,
  18. Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi



           Lake Malawi National Park is a national park located in Malawi at the southern end of Lake Malawi. It is the only national park in Malawi that was created to protect fish and aquatic habitats. Despite this, Lake Malawi National Park does include a fair amount of land, including several small islands in Lake Malawi, and is home to other animals such as baboons. A large baobab tree, purportedly over 800 years old, is said to have been a favorite of Dr. David Livingstone as a place where he could give sermons and speak with other missionaries. The graves of five early missionaries are also found in the park. The many endemic fish species make it a key example of specialized evolution.
    Links: Top Ten Malawian Attractions, Top 100 Fish, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Malawi_National_Park,
  19. Pendjari National Park, Benin

    The Pendjari National Park lies in north western Benin, adjoining the Arli National Park in Burkina Faso. Named for the Pendjari River, the national park is known for its wildlife and his home to some of the last populations of big game like elephants, lions, hippopotamuses, buffalo and various antelopes in West Africa. The Park is also famous for its richness in birds. The Pendjari National Park is an area of 2,755 square km in the far north-west of Benin. The park is part of the WAP complex (W-Arli-Pendjari) which is a vast protected area in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger. The hills and cliffs of the Atakora range make the north-west one the most scenic areas of Benin. They provide a wonderful backdrop to the Pendjari National Park, which, in its isolation, remains one of the most interesting in West Africa.
    Links: Top Ten Bennin Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendjari_National_Park,
  20. Links: National Parks,

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