Saturday, 28 May 2016

My 5 must visit International National Park Destinations

1. Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal Province,  South Africa :

This is a favourite destination of mine because of the large number of White Rhinos and Black Rhinos in the Reserve.

The 960 square KM Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Game Reserve is 280 Kms from Durban.

Hluhluwe - Umfolozi Reserve is the largest protected area in the KwaZulu - Natal Province in South Africa.

It is a "union of two reserves" -- Hluhluwe and Umfolozi. Both of these reserves were established in 1895, when the Zulu Kingdom was conquered by the British.

The Habitat in Hluhluwe is more hilly with a predominance of savannah grassland.

Umfolozi is carved out of two large valleys of the Black and White Umfolozi River and it is a thinly forested grassland.

Amalgamation of the two reserves took place in 1989 nearly 100 years after their notification by a corridor which is less rugged and more open.

The White or Square lipped Rhino that lives in this reserve numbers more than 1,000. In this reserve there is also a population of the much more elusive and endangered Black or Hooked - lipped Rhino that is largely a browser.

Finally, the Reserve is totally fenced, devoid of human settlements and has a 250 Square KM wilderness area where no development is allowed and to which the only access is on foot.

2. Aberdare National Park Kenya :

This is an East African Game Reserve situated in Kenya. It is 160 Kms north of Nairobi.

Elephants can be seen at a dried up lake bed in their dozens. Elephants need salt and other minerals that they do not find in their regular diet of grass and fruits.

A Saltlick is usually a dried up lakebed that contains all kinds of nutrients that elephants need.

One can see female elephants with their calves, bull elephants squabbling with each other and juvenile elephants interacting with each other within the herd.

Apart from elephants; baboons, buffaloes, various kinds of antelope, and hyenas can also be seen at Aberdare National Park.

3. Ngorongoro National Park, Tanzania :

This is a Unique Wildlife Destination.

The Ngorongoro Crater which is part of Ngorongoro National Park is a dormant volcano. It was a tall mountain before it exploded and collapsed two million years ago.

It is home to 35,000 Mammals and Birds.

Ngorongoro National Park is situated on the edge of the mighty "Serengeti" in Tanzania in East Africa. The Mammals that live here do not take part in the annual migration that one normally sees.

The 500 Metre drive down to the floor of the crater takes one to one of the most spectacular savannah grasslands.

A large population of the highly endangered black rhinoceros shares the crater floor with an equally powerful big cat carnivore -- the formidable black maned lions of Ngorongoro.

The Ngorongoro Crater is home to the world's most ferocious lions. These magnificent, black maned lions are powerfully built and look more formidable than their cousins on the Serengeti Plains.

There are at least 65 Lions in this small area - the highest density of Predators found anywhere in the world.

The Savannah Elephants at Ngorongoro are definitely worth a mention. They easily bear some of the hugest tusks seen anywhere in Africa. There are at least 20,000 of them at Ngorongoro. Huge Solitary Males can be seen in plenty.

One can also spot at Ngorongoro the classic 75-80 MPH dash of a magnificent cheetah as it chases a fleet -footed Thomson's Gazelle.

Finally, Ngorongoro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a great destination for wildlife lovers that has managed to remain unspoilt by human infiltration.

4. Tadoba Tiger Reserve, Chandrapur District, Maharashtra India :

Tadoba Tiger Reserve is located in Chandrapur district in Eastern Maharashtra. It is 160 Kms from Nagpur.

It is without a doubt a best kept secret of India.

Although, it was designated as a "Reserve" in 1955 it was not heard of until recently.

Tadoba Tiger Reserve is 626 square kilometres long and consists of dense teak and bamboo forests and a river which flows through it. Apart from Tigers, this Reserve is home to leopards, wild dogs, sloth bears, hyenas, and bison.

Tadoba Tiger Reserve has 70 plus magnificent Tigers. It is teeming with all kinds of wildlife. Sambar Stags can be seen locked in combat under jamun trees while tiger cubs can be seen frolicking in the water in the serene Telia Lake.

At the Devdoh Forest Range and Moharli Forest Range, one can see Breeding Tigresses in all their beauty and glory.

The Birth of 26 Tiger Cubs from 2010 till today proves that Tadoba Tiger Reserve has rich wildlife habitat and is the perfect breeding place for Tigers.

Tadoba Tiger Reserve was recently in the news for better wild cat conservation and also because its tigers will be radio collared soon to understand their behaviour.

5. Ivindo National Park, Gabon :

Ivindo protects Langoue Bai and spectacular Kongou and Mingouli Falls on the Ivindo River.

Langoue Bai, the hidden clearing discovered by eminent wildlife conservationist and ecologist ---- Mike Fay has concentrations of Forest Elephants that one can only dream of.

It is a gathering place for hundreds of Forest Elephants that likely had never encountered humans.

A rare clearing in a sea of Forest, the mile long "Langoue Bai" was carved out by Forest Elephants digging in the mud.

The pristine Equatorial Rain Forest surrounding Langoue Bai in the upper Ivindo River harbors big tusked Forest Elephants like never seen before.

Early Observations by Conservationists at Lagoue Bai indicate that Forest Elephants drawn to the Forest Clearing for succulent vegetation, water, and salt make some sort of seasonal migration away.

They disappear when the rains end.

Where have they gone ?? Our guess according to conservationists is that they come here during the dry season to the marshy, provident, flatlands of the Upper Djidji River.

It might be the last unprobed hideout of "Gabon's Biggest Tuskers".


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