There is so much to see and do and explore in Africa that it can be hard to know where to begin your journey—but a good place to start if you are planning a trip is with one of the continent’s incredible national parks. In fact, Africa’s breathtaking parks take up quite a bit of space. So what are the biggest parks in Africa? Let’s take a look.
6. Kruger National Park, South Africa: 19,485 square kilometres
While the smallest park on this list, Kruger National Park is still among the largest parks in Africa (and the entire world), located in the provinces of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. It was the first national park ever established in South Africa.
The park is bordered on the north and south by two rivers, the Limpopo River and the Crocodile River. The eastern border is the Lebombo Mountain range. Unlike a lot of the other parks in this list, this one does not feature an arid or semi-arid climate; it is actually subtropical. Still, the best time to visit is during the winter when it is dryer; the animals are easier to see since the flora is less dense.
What kinds of animals can you see here? This is the place to come and look for Big Five game animals. In fact, Kruger National Park is inhabited by 147 species of large mammals—that is more than you will find at any other game reserve on the continent. If you visit, look for African buffalo, Black rhinoceroses, giraffes, leopards, hyenas, lions, kudus, African wild dogs, elephants, and more.
5. Etosha National Park, Namibia: 22,270 square kilometres
This national park can be found in the northwest of Namibia. Only marginally smaller than Kafue, it was initially established as a game reserve, and then later became a national park. Its main feature is the Etosha salt pan, a dry lakebed spanning 120 kilometres. While nothing much grows in the pan itself, there is a nearby grassland which is populated by wildebeests and other grazing animals, as well as a dense mopane woodland which is home to elephants.
While the salt pan is usually arid, sometimes heavy rains will fill it to a depth of around 10 centimetres. When this happens, thousands of flamingos and pelicans may flock to Etosha to breed. If you have a chance to witness this, it is truly an astonishing sight—the entire salt pan becomes a sea of pink.
4. Kafue National Park, Zambia: 22,400 square kilometres
Zambia’s biggest national park is Kafue. Its 22,400 square kilometre area is close in size to that of Wales. Kafue’s most prominent geographical feature is the Kafue river for which it is named. While the Great West Road provides access for most vehicles, there are a few dirt roads which 4WD vehicles can use seasonally.
Kafue National Park’s landscape is dominated by granite hills and fertile flood plains. While there are a number of ecological habitats scattered throughout the park, the Zambezian flooded grasslands ecoregion is by far the most famous. Venturing into the park, you will have an opportunity to see many different types of antelopes, along with zebras, wildebeests, elephants, hippos, leopards, and hyenas. Cheetahs are an elusive sight anywhere, but you may spot some in the northern area of the park.
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