5 new parks and reserves around the world

Posted on 27 January 2020

If you’ve already visited all of South Africa’s 19 national parks, ticked off a number of nature reserves and travelled far and wide to take in the other natural wonders in parks around the world, you’ll be happy to know that there are five new parks and reserves that offer awesome nature escapes.

1. Doi Chong National Park, Thailand

Doi Chong National Park was opened in April 2019 and is the most recent of five newly introduced Thai parks, increasing the Southeast-Asian country’s count to 133 parks. Situated in the province of Lampang in northern Thailand, Doi Chong offers mountain views and camping spots with pretty lake views. The park is home to a host of wildlife including the common palm civet, the northern red muntjac deer and northern treeshrew. Covering an area of 346km², Doi Chong’s highest point is Doi Jong, 1,379m above sea level. Thailand hopes to introduce more than 20 new parks over the next two decades to expand its protected forest areas.


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2. White Sands, USA

New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument was recently declared a national park, bringing the States’ total to 62 national parks. White Sands comprises the world’s largest gypsum dune fields, made from a mineral that normally dissolves in water. Despite the desert-like conditions, White Sands supports a variety of fauna and flora. Visitors to the new park can take in its unique and arresting ‘dunescapes’ while cycling, tackling one of its hiking trails, going for a dune drive or even camping.

Also read: White Sands declared new national park in America


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3. Iberá National Park, Argentina

As if you needed any more reasons to visit Argentina, Iberá National Park, opened in 2018, is a wetland wonder. It’s the place to go if you want to see cute capybaras, the world’s largest living rodents.

This marshland in northeastern Argentina is also home to over 350 bird species and wildlife ranging from jaguars and alligators to black howler monkeys. The park land was donated and established as a conservation project, adding 160,000 hectares to the adjoining Iberá Provincial Park.


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4. Nyerere National Park, Tanzania

The ‘new’ Nyerere National Park, which came about after the Tanzanian government opted to split the vast Selous Game Reserve in two, is worth a mention. The new park, which covers over 30,000km², is still part of the Selous Game Reserve. The creation of Nyerere was shrouded in controversy, and the splitting of the reserve to create a new park is expected to affect the reserve’s unique wild ecology and its UNESCO status amid plans to build a hydroelectric power station on the Rufiji River in the larger portion of the Selous reserve – now known as Nyerere National Park.


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5. Umngeni Valley Nature Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal

The 900-hectare Umngeni Valley, with its base at the popular Howick Falls, was granted official nature reserve status in 2019 by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa).

The Umngeni Valley Nature Reserve has varied vegetation and habitats, and includes the Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, KZN Hinterland Thornveld and Southern KZN Moist Grassland.


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A beautiful morning at Umngeni Valley! #outdooreducation #wearepeoplecaringfortheearth #WESSA

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Watch this space:

  • The Olifants River Estuary along the West Coast of South Africa is in the process of becoming a provincial nature reserve to protect the region’s biodiversity from the mining activity that could disrupt the ecosystem.
  • Israel plans to open seven new nature reserves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Feature image: WESSA Umngeni Valley via Facebook

Also read:

3 of the world’s top 100 golf course are in SA



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