NATIONAL PARKS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Garamba National Park
Garamba National Park, located in Orientale Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa, was established in 1938. One of Africa’s oldest National parks, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Garamba is (or at least was) the home to the world’s last known wild population of Northern White Rhinoceros. Due to poaching of the rhinos within the park, it was added to the list of World Heritage in Danger in 1996. The park is also well known for its African elephant domestication programme started in the 1960s, which managed to train tourist-rideable animals.
Kahuzi-Biéga National Park
The Kahuzi-Biega National Park is a protected area near Bukavu town in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is situated near the western bank of Lake Kivu and the Rwandan border. Established in 1970 by the Belgian photographer and conservationist Adrien Deschryver, the park is named after two dormant volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, which are within its limits. With an area of 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 sq mi), Kahuzi-Biega is one of the biggest national parks in the country. Set in both mountainous and lowland terrain, it is one of the last refuges of the rare species of Eastern lowland gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), an endangered category under the IUCN Red List. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1980 for its unique biodiversity of rainforest habitat and its eastern lowland gorillas.
Kundelungu National Park
Kundelungu National Park is a national park of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located in Katanga Province. The park was first established in 1970. It is approximately 7,600 square kilometres (1,900,000 acres). The park is the site of Lofoi Falls, a 165 metres (541 ft) high waterfall (one of the largest in Central Africa.).
Okapi Wildlife Reserve
The Okapi Wildlife Reserve is a World Heritage Site in the Ituri Forest in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, near the borders with Sudan and Uganda. At approximately 14,000 km², it covers approximately one fifth of the area of the forest.
The Nepoko, Ituri and Epulu rivers flow through the reserve. The imposing Mbiya Mountain overlooks the Epulu village. The reserve is home to about 5,000 okapi, 4,000 elephants, 2,000 leopards, chimpanzees and crocodiles. Other Ituri rain forest animals include forest buffalo, water chevrotain, and forest elephants. The reserve has over 300 species of bird, and is one of the most important sites for bird conservation in mainland Africa. Nomadic Mbuti pygmies and indigenous Bantu farmers also live within the reserve.
Maiko National Park
Maiko National Park is a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It lies in one of the most remote forest areas of the country and covers 10,885 km2 (4,203 sq mi). The park is divided into three sectors, straddling the states of Nord Kivu, Province Orientaleand Maniema. Three of the country’s spectacular endemic animals occur here: the Grauer’s gorilla, the okapi, and the Congo peafowl. Maiko is also an important site for the conservation of the African forest elephant, eastern chimpanzee and the endemic aquatic genet.
Salonga National Park (North and South sections)
Salonga National Park is a national park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo located in the Congo River basin. It is Africa’s largesttropical rainforest reserve covering about 36,000 km2 or 3,600,000 hectares (8,900,000 acres). It extends into the provinces of Bandundu,Equateur, Kasaï Occidental and Kasaï Oriental.
The park is in an area of pristine rainforest about half way between Kinshasa, the capital, and Kisangani. There are no roads and most of the park is accessible only by river . The southern region inhabited by the Iyaelima people is accessible via theLokoro River, which flows through the center and northern parts of the park, and the Lula River in the south .
Upemba National Park
At the time of the creation of Upemba National Park, on 15 May 1939, the park had a surface area of 17,730 square kilometres (6,850 sq mi). It was the largest park in Africa. In July 1975, the limits were revised and today the integral park has an area of 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) with an annex of a further 3,000 square kilometres (1,200 sq mi).
Its lower section is located in the Upemba Depression, a lush area of lakes and marshes including the eponymous Lake Upemba, and bordered by the Lualaba River. Its higher section is in the dryer Kibara Plateau mountains.
Virunga National Park
The Virunga National Park (French: Parc National des Virunga), formerly named Albert National Park, is a 7,800-square-kilometre (3,000 sq mi) National Park that stretches from the Virunga Mountains in the South, to the Rwenzori Mountains in the North, in the easternDemocratic Republic of the Congo, bordering Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Rwenzori Mountains National Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
The park was established in 1925 as Africa’s first national park and is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site since 1979. In recent years poaching and the Congo Civil War have seriously damaged its wildlife population. The park is managed by the Congolese National Park Authorities,