Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking about national parks. However, this country is home to a surprising number of diverse and beautiful protected areas. From forests to wildlife reserves, Burkina Faso offers a unique and captivating experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Here is a list of national parks in Burkina Faso that you should add to your travel bucket list.
1. Arly National Park: Located in the southeastern part of Burkina Faso, Arly National Park is the country’s largest and most well-known protected area. It covers an impressive area of over 7,300 square kilometers and is part of a larger transboundary park that extends into Niger and Benin. With its vast savannahs, spanning plains, and rich wildlife, including elephants, lions, cheetahs, and over 300 bird species, Arly National Park offers a thrilling safari experience.
2. W National Park: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is shared between Burkina Faso, Niger, and Benin, forming one of the largest protected areas in West Africa. The park gets its name from the shape formed by the meandering Niger River, resembling a giant “W.” The Burkina Faso portion of the park is located in the southwestern region and is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and several monkey species. The park’s varied landscapes, from rivers and grasslands to gallery forests, make it an ideal place for nature enthusiasts.
3. Deux Balés National Park: Situated in the heart of Burkina Faso, Deux Balés National Park is known for its dense woodlands and rolling hills. The park is unique as it serves as a transition zone between the Sudanian savannah and the Guinea-Congolese rainforest. Walking through the park, visitors will encounter a multitude of wildlife, such as baboons, monkeys, antelopes, and numerous bird species. Deux Balés National Park also holds cultural significance, with local communities practicing traditional livelihoods and maintaining a harmonious coexistence with nature.
4. Singou Reserve: Tucked away in the northwest of Burkina Faso, Singou Reserve offers a different kind of wilderness experience. The reserve is known for its remarkable collection of ancient rock formations and diverse flora. These towering granite rocks create a dramatic landscape that is perfect for hiking and photography. Singou Reserve is also home to a variety of bird species and is a must-visit destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.
5. Burkina Faso Gourcy Natural Reserve: Located in the northwestern part of the country, this little-known reserve is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. The reserve boasts a remarkable ecosystem with a diverse range of habitats, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands. Visitors to Burkina Faso Gourcy Natural Reserve can expect to see an array of wildlife, including hippos, crocodiles, baboons, and numerous bird species. The reserve’s picturesque landscapes and tranquil atmosphere make it a perfect destination for those seeking solitude and a peaceful connection with nature.
Burkina Faso may not receive the same attention as other African countries when it comes to national parks, but that doesn’t mean it lacks natural treasures. These national parks and reserves provide visitors with unforgettable experiences, showcasing the country’s rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. So, if you’re planning a trip to West Africa and want to immerse yourself in nature’s beauty, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Burkina Faso’s national parks.