Well, it’s not exactly one thousand… But still, Cameroon is known worldwide for the sheer amount of parks: it’s roughly as big as Sweden but its territory includes 11 national parks, with one extra wildlife reserve (Douala Edéa) and one faunal reserve (Dja), 3 wildlife parks and dozens of other protected areas, both in the South and the North of the country.
Such a forward-thinking attitude was established very early in the history of Cameroon: its first national park dates back to the age of the French colonial administration, in 1932. Two more followed while the area was under the colonial rule, however, the majority of these parks date back to the 1980s. As one can imagine, they attract a large number of visitors every year, among them are scholars and researchers who are keen to study a particular ecosystem which is believed to have remained the same since the last 400 years, roughly.
The Most Important National Parks in Cameroon
- Faro National Park: close to the Nigerian border, it is the largest national park in Cameroon and was established in 1947. It used to be home to the rare Black Rhinoceros, but it is unclear whether this species is now extinct due to illegal hunting.
- Waza National Park: one of the richest areas in terms of biodiversity, it hosts hundreds of different plants and dozens of endangered animal species, among them the warthog, Impala, and hyena.
- Boumba Bek National Park: this particular park hosts the highest number of elephants in the whole of Cameroon. For this reason, poaching and illegal hunting are not allowed in these parts.
- Campo Ma’an National Park: one of the most recently established national parks, its very existence is under threat due to the intense human activities on the perimeter of the park: poaching is one of them, but agriculture is also a factor, with locals entering the borders of Campo Ma’an and logging and burning the savanna.