Garamba National Park
Garamba National Park is among the oldest national parks in Africa. It was gazetted in 1938. The park is located in Orientale Province, north east of Democratic Republic of Congo and it borders with South Sudan. In 1980, the park was designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO due to its great biodiversity and huge wildlife species.
Garamba National Park covers an area size of 5200 km2 and it is administered by African Parks, which is a non-profit organization that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in Africa and also the Institute Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN).
The Park is famous for being a home to herds of elephants and the Kordofan giraffe. Initially it used to host a number of white rhinos however, due to extensive poaching during the Congo civil wars, white rhinos reduced and by 2008, the last white rhinos in Garamba National Park were killed by poachers!
The park is however still rich in biodiversity regardless of civil unrests. It is characterized by savannah grasslands, papyrus, tropical rainforests, rocky outcrops and marshlands with dotted inselbergs.
Various rivers cross through the park such as River Dungu and River Garamba; these act as a source of water to animals. The park has a diversity of wildlife ranging from large herds of elephants, giant forest hogs, buffaloes, duikers, hyenas, waterbucks, mangoose, bush pigs, golden cats, vervet monkeys, De Braza monkey, Olive baboons, Kordofan giraffes and over 1000 tree species of which about 5% are endemic to the park.
Besides animals, the park is a home to over 340 bird species such as squaco heron, knob billed ducks, fishing eagle, white backed pelicans, pied kingfisher, spur winged plovers, water thick knee, black crake, wattled plovers, long tailed cormorant, white faced whistling among others.
Tourism Activities In Garamba National Park
A number of tourism activities take place in Garamba national park in the DR Congo. These activities include;
Garamba National Park has over 550 bird species that can be spotted on a birding safari and tour. These species of birds include; the pled kingfisher, white backed pelicans, long tailed cormorants, knob billed ducks, wattled plovers, black crake, and spur winged plovers among so many others. The park has migratory and endemic bird species that would make one’s bird watching experience in Garamba Park memorable. You are advised to carry good binoculars, bird guide book and other birding gears.
Wildlife viewing in Garamba National Park is among the best amazing tourism activities done by most visitors of the park. Expect to see a number of wildlife species such as bush elephants, buffaloes, Kordofan giraffes, antelopes, mongoose, hippos, forest hogs, golden cats, warthogs, olive baboons, vervet monkeys among so many others and on a lucky day, you may spot a lion.
Guided nature walks
The Garamba national park harbors a wide range of fauna and flora with over 1000 tree species, herds of wildlife and bird species which are best explored on foot during guided nature walks. The park has well developed trails, passing through amazing vegetation cover, forests and rivers in the park. Be ready to encounter various animals like mongoose, butterflies, different plant species, hippos and several primates.
Fishing can be done from river Garamba in Garamba national park. Common fish species caught in the river include; Momyrus, Distichodus, Clarias, Hydrocynus, Alestes, Synodontis, Lates niloticus, and various tilapia. Tourists looking for this activity should carry their fishing gears.
Garamba national park offers fantastic boat cruise safaris to see both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. The safari is adventurous and rewarding, often done along Garamba River and River Dungu. You will meet several hippos and variety of bird species as well and beautiful riverine vegetation.
Best Time to Visit Garamba National Park
Are you looking for the best time to travel to DR Congo to visit Garamba national park? Yes, this is the best national park in DR Congo to see herds of elephants on a safari and it can be visited throughout the year however, it always advisable to go for park excursions during the dry season when the connecting roads and trucks in the park are dry and passable hence making movement of the travelers easier than the wet season. In the dry season, the vegetation tends to be shorter to enable visitors spot animals from a distance. The dry season usually runs from June to September and from December to February.
The park can be accessed by both air and road. The most convenient way to the park is by air transport, guests normally charter domestic flight to Aru and before proceeding to Nagero which is the launch point for safaris in the park. Some guests opt to drive to the park by road and they spend the entire day shuttling over amazing sceneries including crossing through Congolese Rainforest.
Accommodation in Garamba national park
The park has a number of accommodation properties ranging from budget, mid-range and luxury Travelers book and stay in lodges like La Trompette hotel, Garamba Lodge, New Cosmos hotel, among others. Garamba Lodge overlooks the Dungu River and it is very beautiful and luxurious property with ten immaculate chalets and an impressive main building and restaurant.
The food at Garamba lodge is great and the rates for accommodation is inclusive of all meals ie breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lodge also has a well-stocked bar destined at the main lodge.
There is a huge pool of hippos less than half a km from the lodge where baby hippos play and all guided nature walks are free. Game drives and aerial safaris start from here.
Get in touch with a reputable local and knowledgeable travel agency to help you plan for a safari to Garamba National Park.