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12 Best National Parks in Africa to visit

Whether you’re planning a safari vacation,tour, Honeymoon study tour, hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking adventures, rafting here are a must-visit national parks in Africa. Xavier safaris is here to help you plan an unforgettable African safari, we put together a list of some of the most deservedly famous African national parks — plus a few you might not know. From ancient deserts to urban mountain ranges, and rain forests to savannahs, these are 10 incredible national parks in Africa.

(1)Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia.

Tourists hiking a sand dune Namib-Naukluft Park is a national park Namibia.

The Namib-Naukluft Park is a national park in western Namibia, situated between the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the edge of the Great Escarpment. It encompasses part of the Namib Desert, the Naukluft mountain range, and the lagoon at Sandwich Harbor. One of Africa’s largest protected areas, the Namib-Naukluft Park, covers almost 50 000 km2 and protects some of the most varied and extraordinary ecosystems in Namibia, the only country in the world named after its desert!

 Gemsbok walking, Oryx gazelle Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia,

The Namib Desert is one of the oldest and driest deserts in the world. Namib, meaning “vast” in the Nama language, is home to over 3500 species of plants. The region also boasts some of the world’s most magnificent desert scenery. Not to mention its unusual animals, including desert lions, wild desert horses and oryx.

Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for roughly 55–80 million years, the Namib may be the oldest desert in the world and contains some of the world’s driest regions, with only western South America’s Atacama Desert to challenge it for age and aridity benchmarks. Namib is a vast cold coastal desert in southern Africa.

Namib Naukluft Park 2dazzle of zebras Namib-Naukluft Park is a national park Namibia.

The name has been derived from the world Nama which means “there is nothing”. The desert is arid and uninhabited barring a few scattered towns. Whilst Namibia does have a huge coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, the coast is unsuitable for a beach holiday. The cold currents which make the waters rich in sea life, do not make for pleasant or safe swimming, and regularly create heavy and cold coastal fog.

(2)Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

klipspringer Hwange national park Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is in west Zimbabwe. Its grasslands and mopane woods are home to large elephant herds, lions and African wild dogs. In the northwest, animals gather at Mandavu and Masuma dams, where there are concealed lookouts. Bumbusi National Monument includes 18th-century ruins and pre-colonial rock carvings. In the southeast, waterholes include the Nyamandhlovu Pan, with its elevated viewing platform.

Pangolin Hwange national park Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is the largest and most popular park in Zimbabwe. It offers excellent wildlife viewing, and most big safari animals can be seen, including the Big Five. Hwange is most known for the impressive concentration of elephant that are attracted to the park’s waterholes during the dry season.

African civet Hwange National park Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is a haven for over 100 mammal and 400 bird species, the park protects populations of all of Zimbabwe’s endangered species, elephants numbering in excess of 20,000 (up from around 4,000 when the park was proclaimed), and what is thought to be one of the largest populations of African wild dog leftWith the lush wilderness, Hwange national park is considered best for game drives and special safari tours. The lion, leopard, rhino and the large population of elephants are the major attraction adding in the tourism of the Hwange National Park.

(3)Kruger National Park, South Africa


Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Hundreds of other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks. Mountains, bush plains and tropical forests are all part of the landscape. A popular add-on to Kruger safaris but also well worth exploring in its own right, the Panorama Route is a loose circuit of mostly natural attractions associated with the towering cliffs that divide the Highveld around Sabie and Graskop from the Lowveld of the Kruger Park and Mpumalanga’s provincial capital Mbombela 

Pride of lions at sunset Kruger national park South Africa

Kruger famous for wildlife that calls Africa home, Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa is home to all the continent’s most famous species, including over 12,000 elephants, 27,000 African Buffalo, 2,000 leopards, and 2,800 lions. It’s also regarded as the most likely place in the world to see a leopard.

(4)Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

Rwanda, officially the Republic of Rwanda, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley of Central Africa, where the African Great Lakes region and Southeast Africa converge. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Volcanoes National Park is a national park in northwestern Rwanda. It covers 160 km² of rainforest and encompasses five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains, namely Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo. Volcanoes National Park is a national park is the only park with mountain gorillas in Rwanda. For all tourists that want to see the engendered mountain gorillas in Rwanda, they only will have a chance at this park. Volcanoes national park is home to five of the eight Virunga Volcanoes. (Karisimbi, Bisoke, Muhabura, Gahinga and Sabyinyo). he Volcanoes National Park was established in 1925 in order to safeguard the park’s mountain gorillas and other natural resources from poachers.

Gorillas volcanoes-national-park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park is located just two hours from Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Visitors can reach the park by car, bus, or even by taking a scenic flight. The nearest major town is Kinigi, where visitors can find accommodation and transportation to the park. put simply, a volcano is an opening in the Earth’s surface, the word “volcano” comes from the Roman name “Vulcan”. Volcanoes are often found at meeting points of “tectonic plates”. Volcanoes can also occur over “mantle plumes”. The assumingly youngest volcanic rocks can be found in the form of trachytic lava flows on the southeastern flanks of Karisimbi volcano.

family of gorillas volcanoes national park Rwanda

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda is a home of over 178 bird species with 29 endemics to the Rwenzori Mountains and Virunga conservation area with animals like bush pigs, forest hogs, buffaloes, black-fronted duiker, bushbucks, spotted hyenas, endangered golden monkeys and mountain gorillas hence making it the national. The numbers are over 100,000, and about 800 respectively. Volcanoes National Park is home to about 340 of those 800 mountain gorillas found in the wild of which around 175 are accessible to tourists on a gorilla trekking expedition.

Family of gorillas volcanoes Rwanda.

Susa group is the biggest Mountain Gorilla family in Volcanoes National Park. This group currently has 33 members and 2 Silverbacks but had a total of 42 members before its split. The most exciting things about Susa A are the twins in this group and of course the size. The park climbs from sea level to more than 13,000-feet, encompasses two volcanoes – Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and Maunaloa, the world’s largest active subaerial volcano – and six of Earth’s climate zones along the way.

part of Susa family volcanoes national park Rwanda

(5)Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

wildebeest Great Migration Mara river crossing Serengeti National Park-Tanzania

The Serengeti ecosystem is a geographical region in Africa, spanning the Mara and Arusha Regions of Tanzania. The protected area within the region includes approximately 30,000 km² of land, including the Serengeti National Park and several game reserves. Serengeti National Park is a World Heritage Site teeming with wildlife: over 2 million ungulates, 4000 lions, 1000 leopard, 550 cheetahs and some 500 bird species inhabit an area close to 15,000 square kilometers in size.

Let us now look at the top 4 facts about this popular Safari destination in Tanzania.

(1)The Serengeti National Park is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the world. …

(2)It is one of the oldest National Parks in Africa. (3) Serengeti is a UNESCO Heritage site.(4) It is home to more than 1.7 million Wildebeests.

A tower of giraffe and a dazzle of zebras Serengeti national park Tanzania


(6)Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

famous Tree climbing lion Ishasha Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda.

Queen Elizabeth National Park is the most popular savanna park in Uganda and the best place to see lions including the Tree Climbing lions.  The park is known for its abundant wildlife, including African elephant, African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, topi, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, spotted hyena, chimpanzee and lion. Overall, the park is home to 95 mammal species and over 600 bird species. And here are facts you might not have known about it.(1) It’s not named after Queen Elizabeth II. (2)Princess Elizabeth planted a tree there(3)There are around 1,500 trees, with many local and exotic species represented. The park was dedicated by King George VI and his consort, Queen Elizabeth (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II) during their visit to Vancouver in 1939, as King and Queen of Canada. Vast savannahs, lush forests, glistening lakes and fertile wetlands make it the perfect home for elephant, buffalo, lion, chimpanzees and hippo in particular. The park was originally named Kazinga National Park but after a visit by Queen Elizabeth II, the name was changed to Queen Elizabeth National Park.

crater lake Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda

With landscaping finished in 1954 (and the time capsule buried) the park was fully complete by the early 1960s. 1970. Queen Elizabeth visited Uganda on 28–30 April 1954 and 21–24 November 2007, the latter time to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2007. The Kazinga National Park, in the west of Uganda, was renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1954 to commemorate her visit. The park Renowned for its big cats, large mammals, and primates, Queen Elizabeth National Park is also home to over 600 bird species. The park is known for its abundant wildlife, including African elephant, African buffalo, Ugandan kob, hippopotamus, topi, waterbuck, warthog, giant forest hog, Nile crocodile, leopard, spotted hyena, chimpanzee and lion as well as some reptiles like Soft shelled turtle, Western hinged tortoise, Monitor lizard, Blue-bodied agama, Red and black skink, Side-striped skink, Speckled-lipped skink, Grey-black limbless skink, Uganda house gecko, Black-throated Dwarf Gecko, Common house lizard, Snake lizard, Three-horned chameleon, Lesser chameleon, Bright green chameleon .

A leopard resting on the branch of the tree Queen Elizabeth national park Uganda

(7)Murchison falls national park Uganda

Murchison falls Murchison falls national park Uganda

Murchison Falls National Park is located 305km/190mi north of Kampala. The drive to the southern entrance gate takes 4 to 5 hours. Murchison Falls National Park is best known, though, for the most powerful waterfall in the world. Every second, the equivalent of 200 bathtubs full of water is forced through a gorge less than seven paces wide. The pressure is so great that the ground trembles around it. with a lot of activities that include Game drives, boat safaris, hiking, chimp trekking.

A pride of lions Murchison falls National park Uganda

Murchison Falls provides unforgettable experiences. Combine them to create a monumental 4-day safari adventure. Murchison falls boasts with 76 mammal species and 450 species of birds. The top big five animals in Murchison falls national park are Lion, leopard, buffalos, buffalo, elephant and Rhino. the park hosts mammals like Elephants, towers of Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Buffalo, Jackson’s hartebeest, water bucks, lions, leopard Oribi, patas monkey. and many more.

Leopard crossing a game truck Murchison falls national park Uganda

(8) Maasai Mara game reserve Kenya.

Cheetah Maasai Mara game reserve Kenya

Maasai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya, along the Tanzanian border. Its animals include lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos. Wildebeest traverse its plains during their annual migration. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills, and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby is dotted with villages (enkangs) of Maasai people.

Maasai Mara is one of the most famous and important wildlife conservation and wilderness areas in Africa, world-renowned for its exceptional populations of lion, leopard, cheetah and African bush elephant. The central and eastern regions of the main reserve tend to see the most visitors because of their proximity to Nairobi. Lodges in these areas include Mara Simba Lodge and Keekorok Lodge. The western Mara Triangle is more remote and harder to access, but typically offers more rewarding game viewing.

(9)Kidepo Valley National park Uganda 

A dazzle of zebras Kidepo national park Uganda

Kidepo Valley National Park is a 1,442 square kilometres national park in the Karamoja region in northeast Uganda. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the 2,750 metres Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers.Kidepo Valley National Park lies in the rugged, semi arid valleys between Uganda’s borders with south Sudan in the north west and only 5km from the eastern border of Kenya, some 700km from Kampala. Gazetted as a national park in 1962, it has a profusion of big game and hosts over 77 mammal species.

Kidepo valley national park is famously known and commonly visited because it is considered as a birders paradise as it is ranked among. Best time to visit is in the dry season that lasts from September and all through to March, vegetation is sparser, and sighting animals around watering holes is easier. July and August are the next best months to visit as the rainy period transits to the dry period. the best birding safari areas in the country. This national park is a home to over 450 bird species and a dozen of 50 birds of prey species, which are found in the Karamoja region.

(10)  Okavango Delta Botswana

Okavango delta Botswana

Okavango Delta is a vast inland river delta in northern Botswana. It’s known for its sprawling grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush animal habitat. The Moremi Game Reserve occupies the east and central areas of the region. Here, dugout canoes are used to navigate past hippos, elephants and crocodiles. On dry land, wildlife includes lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos.

Boat cruise Okavango delta Botswana

The Okavango Delta is one of the largest freshwater wetlands in southern Africa and is home to over 1,000 species of plants, more than 480 species of birds, 130 species of mammals, and numerous species of reptiles and fish. The Okavango Delta is one of a very few large inland delta systems without an outlet to the sea, known as an endorheic delta, its waters drain instead into the desert sands of the Kalahari Basin. It is Africa’s third largest alluvial fan and the continent’s largest endorheic delta.

Elephants Okavango delta. Botswana

(11) Chobe national park Botswana

Chobe National Park is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta. It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which converge along the Chobe Riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras. Famed for its massive elephant populations, big herds of buffalo (matched only by some large lion prides) and incredible birdlife, Chobe National Park will leave an everlasting memory.

Towers of giraffe Chobe national park Botswana

Chobe National Park is home to an incredible abundance of wildlife; hippos, giraffes, zebra, kudu, impala, antelopes, monkeys, baboons, birds – you name it, it’s there. It’s also one of the only places in Botswana where the Puku and Chobe Bushbuck species of Antelope can be found, which is pretty neat. It is not hard to believe why the channels of Chobe are referred to as a birder’s paradise. With over 450 species found in the grasslands and waterways of the Chobe National Park, the area is a sanctuary to a variety of species, ranging from the Giant King Fisher to Bee-Eaters and the remarkable Fish Eagle.

A pride of lions Chobe national park Botswana

Chobe National Park can be visited throughout the year. Wildlife migrates through the park with the seasons. The riverfront area is best visited in the dry months, from May to October. August to October are the optimum months for wildlife viewing here, but it gets extremely hot at that time. Wildlife in Chobe National Park include African painted dog, blue wildebeest, Cape buffalo, civet, crocodile, giraffe, hippopotamus, hyena, leopard, lion, puku (a type of antelope, assessed Near Threatened), savanna elephant, tseessebe, zebra, and much more.


(12) Ngorongoro crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater, extinct volcanic caldera in the Eastern (Great) Rift Valley, northern Tanzania. It lies 75 miles (120 km) west of the town of Arusha. The caldera measures between 10 and 12 miles (16 and 19 km) across and has an area of 102 square miles (264 square km).The crater floor is 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) above sea level. The crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. Other than being the biggest intact (unbroken) volcanic caldera on Earth, the Ngorongoro Crater is also a natural sanctuary for some of the densest populations of large mammals in Africa. Due to its enclosed nature, the Ngorongoro Crater has effectively formed its own ecosystem.

Arial view of Ngorongoro crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro volcano blew its top millions of years ago, leaving behind the world’s largest intact caldera. Inside the crater-covering more than 100 square miles-is an ecosystem that is home to over 25,000 wildlife animals. The Crater is made of a vast caldera, formed when a volcano the size of Mount Kilimanjaro erupted and then collapsed on itself over 2.5 million years ago. Today, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unfilled, intact, and inactive volcano in the whole world.

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