Wildlife Travel

6 Must-See African National Parks

Salonga National Park
Written by Jane Sophia

To see the wild animals in their own habitat, there is no better place in the world than Africa-right?  The African national parks numbering to over 350, protects and preserves thousands of species of wild animals-big and small, beautiful birds, river creatures such as fish, crocodiles, and crabs, colorful and scary looking insects and snakes, and incredible butterflies.

Every living being in African national parks needs protection to maintain the ecology.

Millions of tourists, wildlife enthusiast, zoology scientists, and professional wildlife photographers visit Africa’s numerous ‘game parks’ every month.

With so many options for your exciting animal safaris and bird watching expeditions in African countries, you need some information as to which national parks are home to which mammals and birds.

In this blog post, you will learn useful guidance about the various national parks in Africa and in which African country they are located, and what you can see, etc.

African national parks comprise both tropical Rainforests and dry deciduous forests.

Here is the detailed list of 6 Must-See African National Parks.

1. Salonga National Park, Congo

Salonga National is Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve comprising a whopping 36,000 sq.km! If you wish to see the wild animals and the Congo River creatures including the deadly crocodiles, you need to explore the Congo forest only through riding through the Gongo Rivers and its tributaries such as Lokoro River, and the Lula River.

There are no other means of transportation in the Congo rainforest except the river journey that can be arranged by congotravelandtours.com.

The most famous wild animal in the Congo national park is the ‘pygmy chimpanzee. It is known as “Bonobo” here.

Bonobo

Other animals in the Salonga Nationa Park in Congo are:

  • Dryas monkeys
  • Thollon’s red Colobus
  • Leopards
  • Elephants
  • Hippopotamus
  • Pangolins of varied sizes

Of the various bird species in Congo rainforest, the ‘yellow-billed stork will instantly capture your attention.

yellow-billed stork

Oh My God! Isn’t that bird beautiful!

2. Bazaruto National Park, Mozambique

African safari doesn’t always mean driving in open jeep through the deciduous forests of Africa. There are wildlife and marine life to be watched in small islands also.

The Bazaruto National Park is located in a small archipelago of six islands and islets off the coast of exotic Mozambique, an African country of unparalleled beauty.

The six islands of the Mozambican coast are:

  • Bazaruto Island
  • Benguerra
  • Margaruque
  • Santa Carolina
  • Banque
  • Pansy Shell Island

As this national park is located on an island, the main marine life that you need to see is the “dugong”.

dugong

Oh, it’s a huge sea mammal.

The marine turtles too that might interest some of you.

The islands themselves are worthy of traversing as they contain forests, savannah, sand dunes and even lakes where several aquatic birds wait for hours to catch their favorite fish and crab.

Apart from wildlife and marine creatures spotting, you can also enjoy a stint of scuba diving to have a close encounter with the exotic marine life that includes humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, marine turtles, and the scary barracudas.

barracudas

Barracudas are not seen in many oceans. Therefore, don’t miss a chance to spot them in this African National Park.

3. Tai National Park, Ivory Coast

This is one of a fairly large African National Parks. As this is a rainforest, you can identify numerous birds, some of them with breathtaking songs. Some of the notable wildlife that can be spotted here include pygmy hippopotamus,

pygmy hippopotamus

the enchanting chimpanzees (watching them watching us is so fun), and the little-known Olive Colobus monkeys.Olive Colobus

Regarding the avian species in Tai National Park in Ivory Coast, there are just too many varieties to see and you really need to spend a few days to spot at least 50% of the 250+ species many of which are endemic, meaning they are not found elsewhere in the world.

Some of the beautiful birds of Tai National Park in Africa are:

  • White-breasted guinea fowl
  • African crowned eagle

African crowned eagle

  • Brown-cheeked hornbill

Brown-cheeked hornbill

  • Yellow-casqued hornbill
  • Green-tailed Bristlebill
  • Yellow-throated olive Greenbul

4. Niokolo-Koba National Park, Senegal

This national park in Africa is home to the Gambia river. As a World Heritage Site, this game park is home to over 80 wildlife species and as many as 1000 flora species. That many plant life means, this national park is home to hundreds of avifauna and insects that thrive happily in the company of Gambia River.

The Giant Eland is a rare mammal in African National Parks that can be spotted in this African National Park.

Giant Eland

5. Korup National Park, Cameroon

This African National Park is full of dense rainforests of untold fauna haven. Even the flora is rich and diverse and certainly is the pride of Cameroonians. In this national park, you can see the chimpanzee. It is also a place to spot and identify 100s of butterflies and birds.

Chimpanzee

Watching the usually calm chimpanzee in their African home is the ultimate sight of African National Parks.

Another very rare species of monkey is the red-eared Guenon.

red-eared Guenon

Don’t forget to capture it in your mobile camera if ever you spot it during your guided animal safari in Korup National Park in Cameroon.

6. Kiang West National Park, Gambia

Kiang West National Park

What a color combination! This bird is known as ‘Bateleur’ and is a native to the forest in the Gambia, a very small country in West Africa and is surrounded by Senegal, one of the best African countries for wildlife watching and many natural attractions.

This game park may not attract casual tourists but it is visited in large number by wildlife buffs and birders. Another scary amphibian that lives in these African national parks are those deadly Nile crocodiles.

Bush buck

Bush buck-African National Parks

A family of deer, the Cape Bushbuck allows a couple beautiful looking birds on its back.

West African Manatee

West African Manatee-African National Parks

A violet Kingfisher

violet Kingfisher- African National Parks

Wow! I have not seen it before, not even in pictures.

Oh, Africa, you beauty!

 

About the author

Jane Sophia

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