Africa’s outstanding national parks and nature reserves rank as the world’s best, with Kruger National Park frequently labeled as the globe’s number one wildlife reserve. There are few better places to enjoy the ‘big five’ than Kruger, with the park easily explored by hire car.
The biodiversity of the Amazon Basin, however, outshines Africa’s best national parks, with thousands of species protected at the Central Amazon Conservation Complex. For an altogether different national park experience, head for Australia’s Uluru or Kakadu national parks, where aboriginal culture can be observed and bushwalks taken.
Kruger National Park, South Africa Easily accessed from Johannesburg, Kruger National Park ranks as one of the world’s finest parks, with its superb wildlife, guest lodges and scenery. As one of the best places on Earth to see the ‘big five’, Kruger offers visitors the chance to get up close to leopards, rhinos, lions, elephants and hippos. Touring the park by private hire car is the best way to see the sights.
Chobe National Park, Botswana Spanning four diverse eco-systems in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta, Botswana’s Chobe offers safaris through the Kalahari Desert and other areas. A more affordable option than some of Africa’s other parks, the Chobe features no fewer animals or birds.
Uluru National Park, Australia Of sacred significant to the aborigines, Uluru National Park is home to Uluru, the largest monolith on Earth. Also known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is the focus point of the park, but bushwalking and wildlife spotting are also highlights.
Central Amazon Conservation Complex The remarkable Amazon Basin stretches for more than six million hectares, with the Central Amazon Conservation Complex being just a small, protected part of this area. The unique animal and plant species that reside here make it the most bio-diverse area in the world.
Iguazú National Park, Argentina Argentina’s Iguazú National Park is home to the world-famous Iguazú Falls, one of the country’s most beautiful sights. Featuring sub-tropical jungle and a number of endangered species such as anteaters and jaguars, this park should not be missed.
Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia Resting on peninsular Malaysia’s east coast, Taman Negara means ‘national park’ in Malay and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Walk through rainforest, spot wild animals, float along winding waterways and enjoy scenic views at this popular Asian nature spot.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Tennessee, US The most visited national park in the US is scheduled to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009 and draws visitors with its well-preserved pioneer log cabins, scenic Appalachian train journey and picturesque views.
Kanha National Park, India A popular choice among tourists wanting to catch sight of tigers and leopards in the wild, Kanha is often labeled as Asia’s best national park. Designated as a wildlife sanctuary, the park is home to birds, hyena, buffalo and the rare swamp deer in addition to the main attraction, the big cats.
Swiss National Park, Switzerland In contrast to the national parks of Africa, Asia and South America, the Swiss National Park offers a pleasantly cool alpine climate. The park is equipped with a number of scenic trails that allow tourists to access the local wildlife.
Banff National Park - Alberta, Canada This pretty year-round park is a haven for winter sports enthusiasts in the winter season and a playground for campers and hikers in summer. Ranking as Canada’s oldest and most visited national park, Banff is an unspoiled natural paradise.