Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, USA (Hawaii):
The largest national park in the world – Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
Thinking of the world largest national park, taking into consideration some characteristics features, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, should come into mind. It was established in 2006 and encompasses over 1.5 million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean – an area larger than all the national parks of the United States combined.
The name Papahānaumokuākea commemorates the union of Papahānaumoku and Wākea, two honoured Hawaiian ancestors. The area is seen sanctified by native Hawaiians – a place from which all life originates, and also serves as where spirits return to after death.
It encompases 2,200 km of coast around coral islands, shoals, and banks, this biggest park in the world hosts a staggering diversity of coral, fish, birds, marine mammals, many endemic to the Hawaiian archipelago.
2. Northeast Greenland National Park, Greenlan:
Iceberg at Northeast Greenland National Park
Iceberg at Northeast Greenland Natonal park was created in 1974,it was later enlarged in 1988 to its present size, as aresult becomes the largest land national park in the world. If the Park were to be a country, it would be the 31st largest country in the world – in between Egypt and Tanzania.
There are a lot of wildlife in the park whch includes plenty of mammals, including around 40% of the world’s total population of musk oxen. Furthermore, there are arctic fox, stoat, collared lemming, and arctic hare, with many polar bears and walrus found around the coastal regions, and a wide variety of seal and whale species in the surrounding waters.
3. The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Angola:
The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area is estimated to be twice the size of the United Kingdom. It lies in the river basins of the Kavango and Zambezi, and stretches across five Southern African countries – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The entire park is richly endowed with a diversity of widllife, coupled with dense ecosystem that put it in the frontline among the world best place to enjoy safari. It also has distinctive features that make it out standing among other parks – these include the Okavango Delta (the world’s largest inland delta) and the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls.
4. Phoenix Islands Protected Area, Republic of Kiribati:
Coral reef at Phoenix Islands Protected Area
The Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA) is a huge tract of marine and land ecosystems in the Southern Pacific Ocean, surrounding the Kiribati group of islands known as Phoenix Island Group. The area is isolated owing to the fact that it is a crucial habitat for migratory species as they traverse the Pacific Ocean, and as such is on the UNESCO World Heritage List
PIPA has approximately 800 known animal species, together with 14 seamounts presumed to be underwater extinct volcanoes. Also present is about 200 coral species, 500 fish species, 18 marine mammals, and 44 species of birds.
5. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia:
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Aerial view)
The park is located off the coast of Queensland in North-Eastern Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system – made up of 900 islands and almost 3,000 individual reefs covering over 2,00 kilometers. The park is quite large and also has distinctive features from the air, making it visible from space.
The size and location of the park makes it abode for a marvellous assemblage of sea life –with over 1,500 fish species, 125 species of sharks and rays, 30 whale species, 17 species of sea snake, six turtle species, and a large dugong population, as well as plenty of giant saltwater crocodiles. More than 5,000 molluscs recorded to be in the park, along with 400 species of hard and soft coral. It is because of these varieties of plant and animal lives that made Great Barrier Reef Marine Park a World Heritage Site and also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
6. Galapagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador:
Hammerhead hunting fish at the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador
Galapagos Marine Reserve is one of the world’s largest marine reserves, apart fom that, due to its location in relation to the equator, it is also one of the most biologically diverse marine areas in the world. Galapagos lies 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador and covers 133,000 square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean around the Galapagos Islands.
It is made up of several different landscape including underwater volcanoes, mountains, cliffs and coral below sea level, and wetlands and lagoons at sea level. These biological communities are home to over 2,900 recorded animal species which include whales, dolphins, albatrosses, sharks, sea lions, penguins, fur seals, rays, cormorants, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and tropical fish.
7. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, South Africa, Mozambique & Zimbabwe:
Dry river bank in the great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) joins together a number of national parks that has border with the following countries – South Africa (Kruger National Park), Mozambique (Limpopo National Park), Zimbabwe (Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary, and Malipati Safari Area).
The park comprises of a huge area of the lowland savanna bisected by the Lebombo Mountains and includes five major African river systems. All of these territory habour an estimated number of about 500 bird species, 147 mammals, 116 reptiles, 49 species of fish, and 34 species of frogs and toads. These aforementioned characteristics makes it one of the world’s premier safari destinations.
8. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, USA (Alaska):
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is located in north-eastern Alaska. It came into existence in 1980 and is the largest national wildlife refuge in the USA. The Arctic National Wildlife supports the most diverse collection of animal and plant life found in the Arctic Circle – in this Circle, the northern coast consists of the barrier islands, river deltas, coastal lagoons, and salt marshes, all providing habitats for migratory waterbirds and shorebirds.
The centre of the reserve is an abode for herds of caribou, muskoxen, and migratory birds – including flocks of tens of thousands of snow geese which stopover during September to feed before migrating south.
9. Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Canada:
Geese at Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Canada.
The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge is located in the southwestern Alaska. It is situated on the bank the Alaska`s two largest rivers – the rivers Yukon and Kuskokwim – covering the delta of the two largest river and extending to the Bering Sea, incorporating some nearby volcanic islands.
It has abundant of wildlife and holds up one of the largest concentrations of waterbirds in the world. The narrow strip of coast is the most productive goose nesting habitat in Alaska. In additonn, the drier uplands are inhabited by brown and black bears, caribou, moose, wolves, coyote, lynx and musk oxen. The refuge is also home to around 25,000 Yup’ik Eskimos living in village settlements on a subsistence lifestyle.
10. Queen Maud Gulf Migratory Bird Sanctuary, Canada:
Queen Maud Migratory Bird Sanctuary
This Sanctuary is the most protected area in Canada. It was established in 1961 to give protection to the largest varieties of geese found in any North American nesting area.
Right from the beginning – and coupled with the size – the sanctuary has become an important area for the many other species of migratory birds and wildlife it reinforces. This includes over 2 million white geese (over 90% of the world’s Ross’s goose and 8% of the Canadian snow goose), tundra swan, and many species of waterfowl, shorebirds, and land birds.
11. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania:
Wildebeest herd at Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
The name of this reserve is derived from the great explorer and hunter Frederick Courtney Selous. The Selous Game Reserve is located in southern Tanzania and is Africa’s largest game reserve –three times the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, and twice the size of the Serengeti National Park.
The reserve is relatively unaffected by human activity. Because of the diversity of the wildlife, UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site in 1982. Some of the distinctive features include one of the most significant concentrations of elephant and black rhinoceros in Africa, alongside high numbers of cheetah, giraffe, crocodile, and hippo.
12. Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve, US (Alaska):
Views of Wrangell-St Elias National Park & Preserve.
Wrangell St. Elias National Park is the largest national park in the United States. It is estimated to be around six times the size of Yellowstone National Park – and rises from sea level up to 18,008 feet at the peak of Mount St Elias, the second-highest mountain in the USA.
About 4 major mountain ranges intersect in Wrangell; indicating a wide variety of natural features including mountain peaks, glaciers, volcanoes, rivers, and boreal forests. Roughly 70% of the park is designated and managed as wilderness.
13. Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana:
Sunset at Central Kalahari Reserve
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) is an inexorable, harsh terrain covering a large expanse of central Botswana. It’s still relatively unreachable and remote couple with very little human impact – it witnesses only a handful of visitors each year. The reserve is more or less a desert but there are grasslands that make it home to wildlife species including giraffes, cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyenas. Looking for remote safari where peace of mind is guaranteed and you are also to be on your own with the wildlife, CKGR is second to none!
14. Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia:
Oryx at Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia.
Namib-Naukluft National Park is the Namibia’s largest national park covering about 49,000km sq. The Namib Naukluft National Parl in the Namib Naukluft desert is one of the most intensely studied – and oldest – deserts on earth. It consist of mountains, sand seas, moonscapes, and riverbeds, each morning and evening the sun paints the never-ending dunes around Sossusvlei in dramatic hues and shadows – a sight not to be missed and also a sight to behold.
Majority of the park is not habited but there has been a human presence since early Stone Age man passed through, leaving behind stone hand axes. The park provides very occasional hunting grounds for African tribe, the San people nowadays and also permanent base for the Topnaar people in 13 small villages along the lower Kuideb River.
15. Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada:
Wood Buffalo National Park –This is the Canada’s largest national park. It was set up in 1922 to protect the last free-roaming herds of wood bison. Designated by UNESCO World Heritage Site for the biological diversity of the Peace-Athabasca Delta – one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world – including one of the only known natural nesting sites of the whooping crane in 1983. Other wildlife in the park include wolves, moose, black bears, and beavers.