Quiçama National Park, Angola

One of Africas largest, emptiest and most surreal wildlife parks situated 70km (43.5mi) south of Luanda, is Angola’s most accessible and well-stocked wildlife park. This huge swathe of coastal savannah punctuated by gnarly baobab trees is home to elephants, water buffalo, indigenous palanca antelopes and a precarious population of nesting sea turtles.

Inaugurated as a nature reserve in 1938 and upgraded to a national park in 1957, Kissama remains at the forefront of Angola’s wildlife regeneration efforts despite of years of poaching and neglect during the civil war. It’s thanks largely to a pioneering relief project known as Operation Noah’s Ark. This extraordinary scheme, run in partnership between the Kissama foundation and the Angolan government seeks to rehabilitate the park by importing elephants from game reserves in South Africa and Botswana. After four years of planning, Kissama received its first stock of air-lifted animals in 2000 when 16 elephants were flown in on a Russian cargo plane from South Africa. One year later and the park was topped up with a further stock of 16 elephants, 12 zebras, 12 ostriches, 14 wildebeests and four giraffes.

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