Iona National Park (Parque Nacional do Iona)

Iona National Park (Parque Nacional do Iona)

Location: 70 km South of  Luanda Map

Area: 9,960 km²


Description of Iona National Park

Iona National Park is a protected reserve situated 70 km South of Angola capital of Luanda. Iona National Park is situated in the Namibe Province. It protects an area of 9,960 km². It is by far the largest national park in Angola. Before the Civil War broke out the park was rich in animal diversity and numbers. Today illegal hunting and poachers took their toll on local biodiversity. Government does try to invest in greater presence of the law, but it hardly makes any difference. Iona is also famous for its incredible rock formations.


The park is located in the southwestern part of the Namibe province between the Kuroka rivers, along which the northern border of the park passes, and Kunene. The park includes the mouth of the Kunene River and Baia dos Tigres Bay. The coastline is about 200 km long. Together with the Namib-Naukluft National Park and Skeleton Coast Park in Namibia, the park guards the coast with a total length of 1200 km and the Namib desert. The Kuroka River regularly dries up and leaves large lagoons, while at the mouth of the Kunene River there are many wetlands. Altitude reaches 800 meters in the area of ​​Posto do Iona and even greater values ​​in the Tchamalinde mountains. Precipitation ranges from 100 mm on the coast to 300 mm per year in the eastern part of the park. The area of ​​the park is 15150 km², which makes it one of the largest parks in the country, 25.28 km² of the park is the water area.

The park is located in the desert and semi-desert zone. The predominant vegetation are aristide, Stipagrostis, cissus, Salvador, Velvichia, Acacia and Kommifora, Schmidtia, Mopane. For the desert part, Odyssea and Sporobulus are characteristic.

The park is inhabited by such large mammals as black rhinoceros, mountain zebra (Equus zebra hartmannae), impala (Aepyceros melampus petersi), a hyena-like dog, brown hyena, cheetah and lion. The park is inhabited by birds characteristic of the Namib desert and the biomes Namib-Karoo and Kalahari-Highveld. 114 species of birds were recorded in the park. Among the rare birds, a flycatcher chasing, Red-sided Astrild, spectacled penguin, Cinderella gannet and whale tern, King tern (Thalasseus maximus albididorsalis). At least 58 species of waterfowl live in the park, including the saddle-billed yabiru, black stork, and small flamingo. The park is also inhabited by African marabou, African vulture, African eared vulture, ostrich, kestrel, Apus bradfieldi, Ethiopian swift (Apus horus toulsoni).

The park was established in 1957 to protect arid areas in the south-east of the country.