GARAMBA NATIONAL PARK
Garamba National Park is in the North-eastern part of the Congo, near the border with South Sudan. It covers an area of about 5,200 sq-kms and is one of Africa’s oldest parks declared in 1938. In 1980, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was due to its extraordinary variety and density of plant life and being the natural habitat for four of the world’s largest mammals namely, the elephant, the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus and the giraffe.
Garamba national park is home to African elephants, forest elephants, buffaloes, the endemic Congolese giraffes, lions, leopards, chimpanzees, spotted hyenas, forest hogs, hippos and several species of antelopes. The Garamba National park may still be the only one hosting wild northern white rhinos.
Garamba National Park is also one of the most diverse and critically important ecological landscapes in Africa containing extensive savanna grasslands/ woodland, rivers and forests.
This beautiful landscape went through a tough time and is often referred to as ground zero in the elephant poaching wars in Africa. In the 1970’s, the number of elephants was more than 22,000 and the park was once known to be the home to the largest population of the Northern white rhinoceros, for which the park was declared a World Heritage Site, but all this glory was lost. Even the Kordofan giraffes are hanging on by a thread because they have rapidly reduced in numbers due to poaching.
Through the various wars between Congo and Sudan of the 1980’s and 90’s, Garamba national park lost a lot of its wildlife but luckily enough, many international conservation Agencies have teamed up to save this biologically diverse national park. A number of organizations have taken the initiative to help in rehabilitating the park and these include the World Wildlife Fund, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Frankfurt Zoological Society, among many others.
Another threat to tourism in almost all the national parks in Congo is the presence of the Rebels and instabilities in the country. After being sent out of Uganda and South Sudan, the Kony rebels took refuge in parts of the park. This brought a very big threat to the tourism industry.
Activities in the game park
Game viewing is one of the most fascinating activities to do while in the park due to the abundant wildlife. Travelers are sure to see large herds of bush elephants, hippos, buffaloes, antelopes, Kordofan giraffes, forest hogs, lions, mongoose, golden cats, warthogs, vervet monkeys among many others with an extensive drive.
Garamba National Park is home to over 550 species of birds that you can see using binoculars and a bird-guide. The park has birds that are endemic and those that just migrate in, this making it as one of the best places to have your bird watching experience from. Except to see a number of them including the white backed pelicans, the pled kingfisher, wattled plovers, black crake, knob billed ducks, long tailed cormorants, spur winged plovers and others.
Guided nature walks
Garamba national park is a very diverse park with over 1000 tree species and loads of other inhabitants like wildlife and birds that would be best explored while on a guided nature walk in the park. Different routes and trails are present to enable travellers move smoothly along with a guide. This gives you an opportunity to and see the amazing vegetation cover, forests and rivers in the park.
You will enjoy great sightings and views of the diverse wildlife in the park. This include various primates, butterflies, different plant species, hippos and other water animals in the rivers in the park.
Garamba national park offers a thrilling experience to any traveler who decides to have a Boat safari. A cruise on Garamba River or River Dungu gives travellers an adventurous and rewarding venture while enjoying the aquatic life. You get to see species like hippos and birds, as well as the ever abundant flora in the surrounding places.
The fishing activity in Garamba national park takes place in a few areas like the Garamba Rivers. Here the travellers have to carry their own fishing gear.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit is during the dry season from the months of January to June. This is because the roads are more passable and the vegetation is not so thick for proper viewing of wildlife. However Garamba National Park is open for visitors year-round.
There’s a number of accommodation facilities in and around park that travellers can chose while visiting the Park. The accommodation facilities range from budget, mid-range to luxury.
You can also decide to add Gorilla Tracking on you bucket list which can be done in Virunga National Park located in the eastern side of democratic Republic of Congo and boarders both Uganda and Rwanda.
How to get to the park
You can reach the park by both road and air, but air transport is the most common and recommended. This is because the roads are hard drive on while heading into the park. Travellers need to charter domestic flight to Arua and then proceed to Nagero which is the launch point for expeditions to the park.
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