A number of countries in Africa keep wild animals as a national heritage and as tourist attraction sites. The richest diversity of fauna of any continent on our planet is in Africa, thanks to its enormous landscape with diverse climates ranging from subarctic to tropical.
Africa has a variety of habitats ranging from tropical rainforest, to savanna plains to the arid Sahara Desert that provides home to a wide variety of wildlife.
A number of African countries have national parks that are visited by many people from within Africa and from other continents. The following national parks have been picked by Makamba Online as the most visited and most interesting parks as of October 2016.
- Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located in the Northwest Tanzania. At its core, is the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, an old volcano that has collapsed and formed a crater. The steep sides of the crater have become a natural enclosure for a wide variety of wildlife that live here. Beyond the crater rim, the Maasai people herd their cattle across the plains, seemingly oblivious to the herds of wild animals sharing this vast landscape.
The area also bears great significance in tracing the origins of human where some of man’s earliest remains have been found, including 3.5 million-year old human footprints.
- Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is one of Africa’s finest havens for wildlife and is home to vast herds of elephant, buffalo, and zebra and has a very large concentration of giraffe. It is also home to many predators and endangered species plus very large and varied birdlife. The park is situated on the main road between Bulawayo and the world famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Hwange National Park covers just over 14 600 square kilometres. The population of wild dog to be found in Hwange is thought to be of one of the largest surviving groups in Africa today. Walking, driving and horseback safaris are a popular way of seeing the wildlife.
- Serengeti National Park
One of the oldest and the best-known wildlife nature reserve in Africa is Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. It provides one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world with its wide variety of animals such as zebras, wildebeests and gazelles in their ecosystem. The Great Migration that follows a 1,000 km long annual circular trek takes place in a matchless beautiful setting of a vast treeless stretches interspersed with rivers and woodlands and rocky outcrops. The park has the most diverse large predator-prey interactions worldwide. The Serengeti National Park covers an area of 12,950 square kilometres and is considered one of the least disturbed natural ecosystem on earth.
- Masai Mara National Reserve
This famous park was named in honour of the Maasai people. It is found in Kenya and neighbouring with the Serengeti National Park. It is famous for its exceptional population of lions, leopards and cheetahs. The park is home to some 95 species of mammals, amphibians and reptiles and over 400 bird’s species. The “Big five”, that is, buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhino is abound throughout the park as do leopards, cheetah, hyenas, giraffe, impala, wildebeest, baboons, warthogs, buffalo, zebra, elephants, hippos and crocodiles in the Mara River.
- Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
As the name suggests, this park is accessible only on foot. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located in southwestern Uganda in East Africa. The park comprises 331 square kilometres of jungle forests. The park has a rich ecosystem with possibly the greatest number of tree species for its altitude in East Africa. Bwindi has common butterflies and one of the richest mammalian groups in Africa. Bwindi is home to almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas, which is sadly a mere 340 individuals.
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Central Kalahari Game Reserve in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana covers an area of 52,800 square kilometres making it the second largest game reserve in the world. This reserve is characterized by vast open plains, salt pans and ancient riverbeds. The park has wildlife such as giraffe, brown hyena, warthog, cheetah, wild dog, leopard, lion, blue wildebeest, eland, gemsbok, kudu and red hartebeest. Bushmen have occupied the Kalahari for thousands of years and dates back as far as the Stone Age. Bushmen still live around Central Kalahari Game Reserve roaming the territories as nomadic hunters.
- Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is one of the most popular parks in Kenya. Located in the south of the country on the border with Tanzania, it offers one of the most classic and breath-taking view of Mount Kilimanjaro with its 5,985 meter peak dominating over the plains. Amboseli attracts visitors primarily because of its huge herds of elephant, but the park is also home to many predators like lion, cheetah and leopard.
- Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa, and one of the largest national parks in the world, with an area of 19,485 square kilometres. This park is one of the most visited sites in Africa in the past decade. Kruger National Park has more species of large mammals than any other African Game Reserve, including the “Big Five”, that is, Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos, and Buffalos.
- Chobe National Park
The Chobe National Park is located in the north-west of Botswana, near the borders to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. It is renowned for its spectacular elephant population. It contains an estimated 50,000 elephants, perhaps the highest elephant concentration of Africa, and part of the largest continuous surviving elephant population.
- Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is located in north-western Namibia. It spans an area of 22,270 square kilometres. White Etosha salt soil covers nearly one-quarter of the Etosha National Park. The park hosts hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro