8 National Parks In Africa To Watch Out For On Your Next Gap Year Program
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think or talk about Africa, is wildlife safari. Africa is considered to be the best region that can quench our thirst of exploring the wilderness and spotting the Big 5 in their natural habitat. And, considering the number of national parks in Africa, one never runs out of options to feel the adrenaline of coming face to face with the wild.
Also, it is for the very reason (endless number of safari options), that it can get really tricky and tough to list down the bests of all. In case you are planning to spend your gap year in Africa, then these national parks should be there on your bucket list.
No worries, we, at Go Discover Abroad, will ensure that you get to experience the best that these national parks have to offer, and return back home with memories and stories that would keep giving you goosebumps for life!
1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Considered to be one of the best national parks in Africa, Serengeti is popular worldwide for its annual wildebeest migration. The 14,750 km.sq. area of sheer wilderness offers some nerve wrecking game drive views; even when the migration isn’t taking place. You can also opt to be a part of a meaningful volunteering program in Tanzania during your gap year, and utilize your weekend time to set out for a safari trip to this magnum opus of the BIG 5 of Africa.
2. Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
An extension to the majestic Serengeti, in the neighbouring country of Kenya, is the quintessential Masai Mara National Reserve. The same wildebeest migration that takes place in Serengeti can be seen here as well, along with a platoon of several different other wild animals; including 200000 zebras, 500000 Thomson's gazelles, 97000 Topi, 18000 elands, and, of course, the BIG 5 of Africa! The reserve has got its name from its human inhabitants, the tribal people from Maasai community. It'll be a great opportunity for you to spend some time with these folks, who live a life that's absolutely different from the developed human civilization.
3. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Another Jewel in Tanzania’s safari crown is the Ngorongoro crater, located in the west of Arusha, in the crater highlands area of Tanzania. Considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species; such as the Black Rhino. The best thing about visiting Ngorongoro is that you not only get to experience the thrilling wildlife safari but also the world's largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera.
4. Kruger National Park, South Africa
The Kruger National Park is a real reflection of an unrivaled diversity of life forms fusing with historical and archaeological sights. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of South Africa, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species; including, approximately, 2000 plants, 53 fish, 34 amphibians, 118 reptiles, 517 birds and 147 mammals! If you have been keen about wildlife photography and wish to pursue your passion, you can also join Wildlife Photography & Conservation Program in Kruger area, to add some brownie points to your gap year experience in Africa.
5. Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Another Kenyan safari delight, the Amboseli National Park is a 40k hectares (approx.) of wildlife spread across Kenya-Tanzania border. One can easily get a mesmerizing view of the great Mt. Kilimanjaro from the park. The varied wildlife of this area includes giraffes, zebras, cheetahs and hundreds of bird species. The western section is dominated by vast Lake Amboseli, which is dry outside the rainy season.
6. Kalahari Transfrontier Park, South Africa
Also known as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Kalahari Transfrontier Park in South Africa is a unique safari destination in Africa. It is a part of the great Kalahari desert and is jointly managed by South Africa and Botswana. Known for its distinctive red sand dunes, sparse vegetation and the dry riverbeds of the Nossob and Auob. This can be considered as an offbeat wildlife zone, as most people would prefer Kruger over this. Nevertheless, it is definitely worth visiting.
7. Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda
This might come as a surprise to many, but Uganda, too, is a great safari destination in Africa. Visit the Kidepo Valley National park on your gap year trip to Uganda and you’ll know the reason for its inclusion in this list. This national park is said to be the most isolated national park of Uganda (around 700 km from Kampala), but those who make it there can witness an overwhelming view of one of the finest African wilderness. Kidepo is rugged savannah, dominated by the 2,750 meters Mount Morungole and transected by the Kidepo and Narus rivers. Spend your days camping on the river banks, and feel the chills!
8. Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa
Located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the award-winning Mala Mala Game Reserve is one of the oldest and more established private reserves in the greater Kruger Park region. A great weekend getaway option while in Africa, Mala Mala game reserve will provide you a more laid back and comfortable desert safari experience. Leopards, Cheetah, hyena, wildebeest, zebra, hippopotamus, giraffes, and Cape wild dogs are the animals that roam here, and you'll surely get to satiate your wanderlust.
Now that you know about the national parks that deserve to be explored, you should start planning your gap year in Africa. Drop us a mail at [email protected] and we can assist you in planning this epic journey of your life!