Upemba National Park lies suitably in the southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is one of larger national parks in DR Congo and straddles within Katanga province. Due its expansive size, this park boasts of its biodiversity that are confined within its varied habitats including the scenic lakes, wetlands, savanna, riparian forests, swamps, marshes, woodlands and others. The other unique tourist attractions for you to explore in this park include the beautiful Kiobo waterfalls and the rocky outcrops. This park also features as one of the UNESCO biodiversity reserves in DR Congo. It boasts of its breathtaking landscape which comes with variety of antelope species and other wildlife species. It derived its name from Lake Upemba which borders it to the west. Upemba National Park extends up to 11730 square kilometers and this makes it one of the largest parks.
This park was gazetted in 1939 and since its creation like other protected areas in Africa, it has been affected by poaching and settlement activities something that has led to decrease in its wildlife species. However, it is a host to more than 1800 plant species, several bird species and not to forget many fish species that thrive within its water bodies. Its habitats vary and range from Afro-montane grassland and forests which are found at higher elevation especially within the Kibara Mountains, miombo woodlands and tropical rainforest to marshes, wetlands, streams, lakes with riparian zones at the lower altitude. Its water bodies features vast swamps with papyrus, water caltrop, Nile lettuce.
The varied fish species thrive within its lakes, rivers, swamps and wetlands and they include more than 30 cyprinidae, mormyridae, barbus alestidae, cichlidae and Mochokidae. For bird lovers, the notable bird species to sight at while on tour in this park include the rare shoebill, wattled cranes, spotted ground thrush a mention but a few.
What to do while on safari in Upemba National Park
There are varied safari activities for you to take part while on a Congo safari through Upemba National Park and they include among others;
Game viewing is remarkably one of the best and thrilling wildlife experiences that you need not to miss out while on safari in Upemba National Park. While on game drive, expect to spot out wildlife species like buffaloes, birds, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, lions, impalas a mention but a few.
Besides mammal species, this park also boasts of its diverse avifaunal species that thrive within its diverse habitats. While on birding tour in Upemba National Park expect to spot bird such as paradise, fire finch, chestnut owlet, Dickinson’s kestrel, wattled crane, shoebill, Angola lark, cisticola, miombo rock thrush, flycatchers, honey guide greenbuls, racket tailed roller, sparrow weaver’s bee-eaters, spotted thrush, souza shrike and others.
This park features 10 fishing lakes and 4 of them are run by the park fishermen and normally charged with a fishing fee each year and the main fishing months start from March to November.
Others include cultural visit in any of the many villages which are around the park, hiking through its mountains or the stunning waterfalls.
Accommodation in Upemba National Park
This park has many areas for visitor overnight stay and they range from luxury lodges, campsite to bandas.
When to visit to Upemba National Park
When you think of paying a visit to Upemba National Park, the dry season should be at the back of your mind as this is more ideal for one to explore the natural wonders in this park. The dry season in this park usually kick starts from October to January.
How to get to Upemba National Park
Visitors on Congo safari to Upemba National Park can get to this park from Lubumbashi one of the capitals of Katanga approximately 400 kilometers away from the park. It is surrounded by Zambia and Angola. Alternatively, you can opt for air transportation via Lubumbashi airport. It can also be reached via Lake Tanganyika from Tanzania side.
In conclusion, Upemba National Park is one of Congo’s most stunning national parks you need to explore in depth while on safari in Africa. Pay a visit to this park and get the best of bird sights and incredible wildlife species.