The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Niokolo-Koba -Senegal

Map showing the location of Senegal's Niokolo-Koba National Park world heritage site in the Guinea woodlands of West Africa  In Danger Since 2007

Area: 9,130 km2

Inscribed: 1981

Criteria: (x) biodiversity

Values: This is an extensive Guinea savanna woodland site, bordering the Gambia river, with a good variety of habitats, ranging in altitude from around 30 to 360 metres. A remnant population of Derby's eland still exists, as well as a diversity of other fauna and flora, including distinct types (such as the Guinea baboon) that are restricted to the western part of west Africa.

The substantial populations of large mammals that existed at the time of listing, including all the giraffe, and most of the elephants have been lost to poaching. 



Slideshow of the Niokolo-Koba National Park/world heritage site.

Impressions (based on visits in February 2006 and January 2007): As for Parc W, this site represents a rather degraded ecosystem, with few of the large mammals that once characterised the site. Whilst there is still a wealth of bird life, a pleasant variety of habitats, and a few large mammals to be seen (notably red-flanked duiker, kob, waterbuck, warthog, oribi, patas monkey and Guinea baboon, together with hippo and crocodiles in the river), it will require an enormous amount of investment, over a prolonged period, to restore this site to its former glory. Visitors to West Africa, who have not experienced any of the better-known game parks of eastern and southern Africa will find plenty of interest, but this park is unlikely to attract international visitors seeking an African wildlife safari experience as a primary travel objective.

Management challenges: During the 90s the Senegalese and Guinean authorities initiated a major EU-financed project, supporting management of Niokolo-Koba National Park and the adjoining Guinean park of Bandiar. This was apparently able to stop (and even reverse) the downward slide in large mammal populations, and some of the more common species have been able to recover. But this project came to an end, and the Senegalese authorities have been unable to maintain the infrastructure, or sustain many of the recurrent activities - so roads have reverted to bush, causeways across the river have been washed away, and a guard training school has been abandoned and overgrown. This provides a vivid illustration of the consequences of the stop-start nature of short-term aid projects, which are sadly all too common. Niokolo-Koba National Park (and all other world heritage sites) needs sustained finance for an extended period, if it's ‘outstanding universal values' are ever going to be restored. Longer term pressures, for cotton growing and other land uses, are likely to increase pressure on the site, unless it can demonstrate that it still retains the global significance for which it was listed, and the support of the international community.

Niokolo-Koba National Park Illustrated Guidebook Cover




Visitor information: An excellent full-colour richly-illustrated guidebook to the park was produced under the EU-financed project of support to Niokolo-Koba and the neighbouring Badiar park across the border in Guinea.  This provides a number of excellent maps, showing the road network and major attractions, as well as descriptions of the main habitats and the animals and plants that frequent them.  This 20-page french language publication is no longer in print, but a pdf version can be downloaded here.


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Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description | Official UNESCO Site Details | Birdlife IBA       

A boat trip along the Gambia river within the Niokolo-Koba National Park world heritage site in Senegal can be a rewarding experience for visitorsRiverine gallery forest along the Gambia river in the Niokolo-Koba National Park world heritage site in SenegalThe dry woodlands on Mount Assirik still support a remnant population of west African chimpanzees within the Niokolo-Koba National Park world heritage site (Senegal)Old ox-bow lakes and seasonally flooded areas close to the Gambia river provide important dry season grazing for wildlife in the Niokolo-Koba National Park world heritage site in Senegal



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