If you love traveling around the globe and visiting exotic places and sights, then African wildlife parks must be your dream. If you have not thought about it, then you better should as they have to offer sights that reflect nature in their truest form. From spotting wild animals in their natural habitat to viewing the majestic desert landscape sprawling over a large area, the wildlife parks in Africa should be your top wish list destinations.
Africa has some of the most exotic conservation sites and reserves that inhabit numerous rare species of birds and animals. However, if you are enthusiastic about witnessing live migration of animals, encountering gorillas, or watching mighty lions chasing their prey, then you should not miss the following list of top wildlife parks in Africa.
1. Serengeti National Park
Established in the year 1952 in Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park is famous for showcasing the migration of wildebeest and zebra. It sprawls over a large area of 5,700 square miles – which makes it even larger than the state of Connecticut. The park is divided into three big sections, of which the central or southern part of the Seronera Valley is a popular spot. The endless savannah encompassing this part is filled with exotic wildlife and lined with acacias.
From June to July and from January to February – marking the transition in seasons – the Serengeti National Park is an ideal location for witnessing the Great Migration of about millions of zebras, wildebeest, and gazelle.
The extremely big area of this national park might intimidate or bore a few people, but that is the real beauty of this park – being a minuscule part of such great wilderness. It is best to visit Serengeti the first thing when you are here in Tanzania, as journeying around this massive wildlife park is exhausting, and putting it off for the end might not go well.
2. Kruger National Park
Founded in 1898, Kruger National Park is one of the oldest wildlife parks in the continent. It is said to be proud of inhabiting Africa’s Big Five (the lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, and buffaloes). Elephant rides are also offered in this park, and you can witness the wildlife on the biggest land mammals alive!
Kruger National Park is famous for breeding and conserving the animals with great effort. This park is almost as big as the state of Israel or Wales. The road network of Kruger National Park is designed with prudence, and you can easily access most of the parts of the park on two-wheelers as well.
3. Kidepo Valley National Park
Located in Uganda, the Kidepo Valley National Park is famous for being the most beautiful parks in the whole continent. It has large plains of Kidepo and Narus Valleys, sweeping the whole landscape lined with the gigantic mountainscape of Mount Morungole.
Here in this park, you can witness live lions chasing their preys, which are mostly large herds of about 4,000 buffaloes. The park also offers the exotic sight of large elephants moving about the valley in the most natural manner.
To view this majestic beauty and breathtaking landscape with lion and elephant spotting, you need to take a 12-hour drive from the capital of Uganda, Kampala.
4. Hwange National Park
Located at the heart of Zimbabwe, this park is considered one of the hidden gems in the country. It spans an area equal to the state of Hawaii and inhabits over 108 different species of mammals. If you want to witness the wildlife in full action and their natural habitat, then this park in Zimbabwe is a must-visit place.
It is often called the land of “Super Prides” as it has over 20 most powerful lions in the whole world who are capable of hunting big animals such as a young elephant, leopards, hyenas, and even the enchanted painted dogs.
5. Samburu National Reserve in Kenya
For one of the best safari experiences of your life, you should plan a visit to the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. The people of Samburu are often confused with their southern relatives, known as the Maasai. The Samburu people are known for their hospitality and warm welcome. They still hold on to the cultural norms and practices of the traditional Northern Kenyan Frontier District.
According to the local guides, this African wildlife park is famous for sighting the Special Five – including the Beisaoryx, the Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, and the mighty gerenuk antelope. The park offers private concessions that often include walking safaris and special night drives to witness the wildlife at night.
6. Namib-Nuakluft National Park
Located in Namibia, this national park is part of the mighty Namib Desert. It encompasses the Naukluft Mountains with Soussusvlei clay. The land appearing bright orange is itself a feature that attracts a large number of visitors to witness this natural beauty.
Here you can easily spot rare snakes, big jackals, hyenas, insects of various types, and even geckos. This park shares a border with the Atlantic coast.
7. Volcanoes National Park
Standing true to its name, the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda offers a sight that you would never forget. People are attracted to this park as here they can witness and come face-to-face with numerous mountain gorillas and apes. It also has a golden monkey tracking.
8. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Listed as a world heritage, this Ugandan National Park offers one of the most exciting safari experiences of the lifetime. The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is said to be home to about 360 mountain gorillas.
The word impenetrable in the name of this park refers to the thick forest encompassing this park, which, as the name suggests, is impenetrable. It also has an impressive showcase of the world’s famous and rare flora and fauna along with a rainforest that is home to countless other animals and reptiles.
9. Ngorongoro Crater
Situated in Tanzania, this crater is deemed as one of the most breathtaking sights the continent of Africa has to offer. It has a large concentration of wildlife through which you can easily maneuver on various vehicles offered by the management.
It has a high count of predators whom you can easily spot catching their prey. This park has been recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Some Facts about African Wildlife Parks
- The elephants in the African wildlife parks are said to be the largest living mammals on earth.
- The brain of these elephants is claimed to be the largest among all the mammals on earth.
- The various species of birds inhabiting the African wildlife parks use ferromagnetism – a system to align their orientation according to the magnetic field of the earth – to find their way during migration.
- You can also witness live crocodiles swimming or resting across various swamps in the African national parks. These crocodiles are said to swallow large stones for stabilizing their bodies while diving.
- The ostrich in the wildlife parks in Africa is big and strong enough to kill a fully grown human being with only a kick.
- One ostrich egg is equal to 24 chicken eggs.
- The Kruger National Park inhabits over 12,000 elephants, 1,000 leopards, and 27,000 African Buffaloes.
- The first-ever visitor to the Kruger National Park paid a fee of only one pound.
- The number of elephants in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe outnumbers the visitors by almost 200 to one.
- Hwange National Park is said to have approximately 46,000 elephants.
Parks and Reserves
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Chobe National Park
- Linyanti Swamp
- Makgadikgadi Pan
- Mashatu Game Reserve
- Okavango Delta
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Cape Peninsula National Park
- Hluhluwe Game Reserves
- Kalahari Gemsbok National Park
- Knysna Lagoon
- Kruger National Park
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- St Lucia Wetlands
Southern Africa is prime wildlife country with habitats of pristine beauty and diversity, a bounty of wild animals who exist in the safety of conserved areas, national parks and game reserves.
A vast range of eco-systems and biomes support more than 1000 species of bird. Across the range of southern Africa you will encounter magnificent trees that have thrived here for centuries. Local communities have formed partnerships with the tourism sector and now see the benefit of nature as an asset that supports their livelihood.
If you wish to discover this varied wildlife destination, research it well, check the best season, become aware of simple safety rules of the wild, equip yourself with binoculars, camera equipment and prepare yourself for photographing wildlife at its best.
If you had never thought of visiting Africa to witness the wildlife, then now is the best time. It is never late. Plan a trip with your family, and let the magic of wildlife and predator hunting be a part of your memory forever.
PARKS AND RESERVES