Pendjari National Park (Parc National de la Pendjari) in Benin is a conservation stronghold in West Africa, which forms part of a critically important triad of national parks and reserves where 90% of the West African lion population remains. It is named after Pendjari river that flows in the park area and creates natural border between Benin and Burkina Faso (in the north).
Pendjari is known as the best place to spot wild animals in the whole region of West Africa. Although it cannot be rated as high as any other wild park in East Africa or South Africa in terms of density and diversity of wildlife, Pendjari National Park is worth visiting when traveling to Benin or neighbouring countries.
Pendjari National Park is one of the most recent parks and the first within West Africa to fall under management of African Parks. The park spans an area of 4,800 km2 it is a primary component of the larger 35,000km2 transnational W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) complex, which is spread across three countries: Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.
This is the largest remaining intact ecosystem in West Africa and the last refuge for the region’s largest population of elephants and critically endangered West African lion, of which fewer than 400 adults remain and 100 live in Pendjari. Pendjari’s expansive landscape contains important wetlands, which is critical for a number of local species including cheetahs, buffalo, hippopotamus, Nile crocodile and more than 460 avian species. Western lions, elephants and buffalos can be easily found, while leopards and wild dogs are harder to observe. The reserve is also home to 10 species of antelopes, including korrigum, Western hartebeest and Western roan antelope.
The Atakora range that stretches the in north western part of the country makes this part of Benin the most scenic and provides wonderful diverse views. The reserve covers a diversity of plant formations such as grass, shrubs, woodland and forested savannahs, as well as open forests and gallery forests. It is renowned for its rich fauna and a great variety of bird species.
When to go on Safari in Pendjari National Park
The chances of mammal sightings are very much dependent upon the season and also the length of stay. Like every national park in Africa, Pendjari also has its best time to visit. Although the gate to the park is open throughout the year, a visit to the park during some months of the year should definitely be avoided.
- January – February: best time to visit – dried vegetation, clear views (visibility can depend on the strength of harmattan), bearable temperatures. Because there is no rainfall, animals are forced to gather at water sources; which means chances of spotting different (big) mammals are much higher during these two months.
- March: the hottest month – the scorching sun can be unbearable, although views are clear due to the dried grass.
- April – October: rainy season – therefore muddy or even impassable roads (especially in July and August), lush vegetation, bad views.
- November – December: dry season – but still lush vegetation, which makes it difficult to spot animals hidden in the grass and treetops etc.
About Origins Safaris
At Origins Safaris we are passionate about wildlife, cultural heritage, adventure and exploration. We customize each and every safari to your personal requirements and expectations, ensuring an exclusive, unique and authentic experience every time.
Origins Safaris is a family business, founded in 1963 by Don and Margaret Turner. It is managed today by two subsequent generations of the family, and predominantly by Don’s son, Steve. We are so much more than just a travel broker – our years of experience, professionalism and reliability means that we go the all important extra mile, to make sure your dream safari is safe, memorable, educational and most of all great fun. We are renowned for our meticulous safari planning from start to finish, and the highest standards of natural history interpretation.
Contact us on www.originsafaris.com for more information and pertinent itinerary advice.
Origins Safaris – Authentic African Experiences Since 1963.