Being established in 1938 makes it one of the oldest national parks in Africa and it is located in the Northeastern direction of Democratic Republic of Congo covering an area of 4,900 square kilometers. The park is a UNESCO-designated world heritage site lying in the transition center zone between two centers of endemism (Guinea-Congolian and Guinean –Sudanese savanna) of which the two bio-geographic zones support an abundance of wildlife though have currently experienced population declines in the past years because of the high rates of poaching.
The park is composed of savanna grasslands with a low density of acacias and some of the Park’s grasses can grow as high as 10 feet. One of the places that should not miss on your itinerary as you are going for gorilla safaris in Congo’s Virunga National Park and Kahuzi Biega National Park for mountain gorilla and lowland gorilla trekking respectively.
Garamba National Park is a habitat to numerous faunal species such as; buffaloes, giant forest hogs, giraffes, elephants, hyenas, hippopotamuses, lions, and different antelope species. The park consists of the only remaining population of giraffes (the Kordofan subspecies) which is estimated to number less than 50 individuals and one of the country’s largest remaining populations of elephants.
The park is a perfect destination for both wildlife lovers and bird enthusiasts since there are about 286 bird species including the secretary birds in the park plus many other bird species. Elephants in the Park are considered a hybrid of the African savanna and African forest subspecies though heavy poaching has reduced the park’s elephant population in the recent decades.
The park’s major challenge is poaching which has led to the decrease of elephants in the Park. There were almost 2,800 elephants in 2011 and in 2017 there were estimated to be fewer than 2,000 elephants in Garamba which is a significant decline from the approximately 20,000 elephants reported in the 1960s and 1970s. News spread all over the world when 22 elephants were killed in 2012 and in 2014 poachers still killed 68 of Garamba’s elephants within two months.
Poaching has been a major threat to the Park’s wildlife though the government of Congo is fighting very hard to stop or at least minimize the act of poaching. However, though poaching has led to a tremendous decline of elephant populations, the Park still harbors them in high amounts and game viewers will be able to spot them.
Reported giraffe population sizes have varied but show a general decline and currently there are 46 giraffes in the park. Poaching is the greatest threat to Garamba’s wildlife populations but due to the favorable and supportive government of Congo and foreign aid from various countries there is hope of the Park to be free from poachers and other threats of the Park. Residing the largest land mammals such as elephants, rhinos and hippos plus herds of giraffes makes Garamba national park a suitable place for wildlife safaris.
For every tourist will feel more comfortable and enjoy his or her safari when there are good accommodations around the Park and some of the best accommodations in the Park include; Garamba Safari Lodge: most of the Park’s visitors are invited to stay at Garamba Lodge which overlooks the Dungu River and is likely the most beautiful and luxurious property in all of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The luxury camp consists of ten immaculate chalets and an impressive central lodge building plus restaurant. The lodge has some of the most lavish and attractive tourist facilities in Central Africa.