National parks are home to some of the most astounding natural wonders in the world. Read on to find out more about top national parks and what you should not miss while you’re there!
TOP 1 Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Torres Del Paine National Park lies in Patagonia, Chile. A captivating point about Torres Del Paine National Park is the diversity of landforms and lifeforms found there. It is home to snow-capped mountains, ice fields, emerald lagoons, golden pampa grasslands, and quiet river villages. One such village is the “pueblito” Serrano, which is the gateway to Torres Del Paine and a tranquil place where tourists can fish, ride horses and experience a slice of local life. Must-visits include the Mirador Las Torres, Mirador Cuernos, Lake Grey and Nordenskjold Lake.
TOP 2 Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Spanning 1.5 million hectares, the Serengeti National Park is also known as “the place where the land moves on forever” by the Maasai. Its inhabitants include countless gnus, zebras, gazelles, lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, baboons, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and many more, on top of more than 350 species of birds. The Serengeti National Park is the site of the largest and longest overland migration on earth which can observed in late May, June and November. Don’t miss the Seronera, Ngorongoro Crater, and of course the great migration.
TOP 3 Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland
Vatnajökull (translated as Vatna Glacier) is a vast ice field at Southeastern Iceland which is also the largest national park in Europe. The landforms found here are otherworldly. Walk through blue ice caves, black sand beaches, pouring waterfalls and lush green fields, and explore the Ásbyrgi canyon, Svartifoss Waterfall and Hvannadalshnúkur mountain (Iceland’s highest peak). The presence of many volcanoes throughout the ice field provides meltwater which feed many rivers such as Thjórs, Skjálfandafljót and Jökulsá á Fjöllum. Don’t miss these natural wonders in the land of ice and fire!
TOP 4 Banff National Park, Canada
Scenes from Banff National Park are like wallpapers on your desktops. Mountains, glaciers, wetlands, meadows and picturesque lakes make every shot beautiful no matter which angle you take it from. The sight of Moraine Lake against a backdrop of the Mountains of the Ten Peaks has become a must-take photograph for all visitors. Besides this, do check out Lake Louise, Icefields Parkway, Johnston Canyon and the interesting range of alpines and conifers in the region.
TOP 5 Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Fiordland National Park at the Southern tip of New Zealand’s South Island is home to spectacular waterfalls, snow-capped peaks and breathtaking fiords, including the famous Milford Sound. Fiords are U-shaped glacier-carved valleys that have been flooded by the sea. Fourteen fiords line the Southwest corner of South Island and they were 100,000 years in making. You can hike, bike and kayak around the breathtaking fiords and adore the cliffs, waterfalls and caves. Must-visits include Milford Sound, Te Anau Glowworm Caves and The Chasm Walk.
TOP 6 Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
Mention Plitvice Lakes National Park, and images of turquoise lakes and numerous small waterfalls lining cliffs will come to mind. The 50 acres of forest and lake is a World Heritage Site that is home to a variety of flora and fauna. It looks vastly different in different seasons – covered with greenery in summer and dazzling with frozen waterfalls in winter. Must-visits include Veliki Slap (one of the biggest and prettiest series of waterfalls), Mali Buk (waterfalls that fall into an emerald lake) and The Lower Lakes.
TOP 7 Grand Canyon National Park, USA
The Grand Canyon needs no introduction. The acres of canyons separated by the Colorado River are so vast and majestic that it is said to be noticeable from the moon. Distinct layered bands of colourful rock can be seen on the canyons, revealing millions of years of geologic history. It is divided into several rims from which you can plan your expedition. Things to do there include hiking, bicycling, river trips and photography. Be sure to go on the Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail and Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower.
TOP 8 Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in Southwest Kenya and is one of the most significant wildlife reserves in Africa. Swarms of wilderbeest trail the plains during the migration, which is a magnificent sight to watch. If you are lucky, you will be able to catch predators such as lions, hyenas, jackals hunting down preys such as wildebeests and zebras. Wildebeests are also at risk of being eaten up by crocodiles when they cross the river during the migration. Make your way to the Mara River, Ol Kinyei Conservancy and Olare Orok Conservancy while keeping your eyes peeled on the wildlife at all times!
TOP 9 Jiuzhaigou National Park, China
Jiuzhaigou (translated as “Nine-Village Valley”) National Park is known for its colourful lakes and flora in high-altitude valleys. These lakes form the landscape together with mountains, waterfalls and forested slopes. The colourful foliage during autumn further enhances the beauty of the landscape, making it more breathtaking than ever. Hence, autumn is the best season to visit Jiuzhaigou National Park. It is not advisable to visit during winter as the weather is harsh. Hiking and photography and popular activities here.
TOP 10 Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
Kilimanjaro is Africa’s tallest peak at 5,896m. It is also a volcano and has snow-capped peaks. The Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania comprises Mount Kilimanjaro and its surrounding plains, spanning more than 75,000 hectares altogether. The mountain is encircled by forest and plains with the characteristic snowy peak looming over the savannah. There are 5 main vegetation zones on the mountain: lower slopes, montane forest, heath and moorland, alpine desert and summit (arranged from lowest to highest). Many mammals reside in the park, including several endangered species.
Photo credits: KimKim, unesco-gforpcrossing.blogspot.com, Viator, POPSUGAR, International Adviser, Gem Tours & Travels, Conde Nast Traveler, TripAdvisor, Akisoto, Northern Fox Adventures
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