Established in 1938, Garamba National Park is located in the Congo Democratic Republic in Africa. It is one of the continent’s oldest national parks and was primarily formed in order to protect the dwindling population of the northern white rhinoceros. The lands included in the Garamba National Park were the home of the world’s last known wild population of these rhinos. In the 1960s, the park has also embarked on an elephant domestication program wherein these naturally wild beasts were trained to be tourist-friendly and rideable. Garamba National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980. Military conflict in the surrounding areas and active hunting activity done by poachers has led to the park’s inclusion into UNESCO’s World Heritage Site Danger List as well.
The park is composed of savannahs, woodlands, grasslands, gallery forests, rivers, and swamps. Four large mammals, the elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, and the white rhinoceros, call this land their home. People visit Garamba National Park to witness these animals in their natural habitat, most especially the white rhinoceros. It is much larger than the black rhinoceros but it is harmless and rarer to find, as it is closer to extinction. The UNESCO site reports that there are thirty remaining white rhinoceros but the common consensus is that the animal is feared to be extinct.
Traveling around the Congo Democratic Republic is difficult as safe and reliable public transportation is virtually non-existent. Road conditions are very poor and are prone to turn into rivers during the rainy season. However, there are tour operators that offer their services to brave travelers who wish to embark on an extreme African safari adventure. Accommodations and some semblance of security are provided but nothing is guaranteed as armed conflict is still ongoing. In fact, in January 2009 the park was under attack from Ugandan rebels who left eight people dead, including two guards and two wives of park rangers.