Nature parks are protected areas of importance for wildlife, plantlife, geographical phenomena and or other unique biological considerations. They provide important habitat protections in a world increasingly threatened by overdevelopment; and while research is a big concern in any nature park, so is tourism! While the first nature park was established in England in 1821, the practice has spread around the globe. Looking for an escape from the city? Check out the best nature parks around the world!
Torres del Paine National Park
Chile’s renowned Torres del Paine National Park has been stunning visitors ever since the park’s founding in 1959. With glaciers, lakes, rivers, grasslands, plus its rare wildlife and iconic mountain peaks, Torres del Paine offers stunning landscapes at the foot of the American continent.
Yosemite National Park
While Yellowstone was the first national park in the US, Yosemite was the first instance in which public land was set aside for preservation – an event that took place in 1864 and which set the precedent for the National Parks system. Today, Yosemite is just about as beautiful as ever; with beloved landmarks like El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls, and its giant sequoias, Yosemite is worth a visit at least once in your life!
Victoria Falls National Park
Known alternatively as “the smoke that thunders”, Victoria Falls is the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, spanning 1.7 km with a height of 108m. But while it’s considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls National Park more than just a waterfall. Protecting a diverse range of flora and fauna, Victoria Falls National Park should be at the top of every nature enthusiast’s bucket list.
Fiordland National Park
One of the wonders of Oceania, New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park occupies a large swathe of the south-western coast of the South Island. The stunning glacier-carved fjords gave the park it’s name, but with a large number of threatened native animal species, as well as the largest remaining territory of untouched vegetation in the country, there are plenty of reasons to add Fiordland to your New Zealand itinerary.
Göreme National Park
An entity unto itself, Göreme National Park in central Anatolia is entirely unique. With a long history smackdab in the centre of competing empires, Göreme has a lot more to offer than your typical nature park. With incredible historic sites and distinctive geography, Göreme National Park should be a priority-destination for anyone Turkey-bound.
Jasper National Park
We’d be truly remiss if we didn’t include at least one of Canada’s many fine parks on this last. While the competition was stiff, Jasper takes top place. With over 11,000 square kilometres of mostly wilderness falling within its boundaries, including some of the finest scenery the Rockies have to offer (not to mention bears, wolves, elk, bighorn sheep, and many more species), Jasper National Park a great addition to any Canadian road trip.
Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve
Wildebeest migration. Need we say more? Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve, located respectively in Tanzania and Kenya, are two contiguous nature parks in East Africa. Tanzania’s Serengeti is by far the largest of the two; but taken together the two parks offer a variety of different landscapes and an incredible range of wildlife, not to mention one of the most famous annual migrations in the world!
Snowdonia National Park
When you think of the UK, the first thing to pop into your probably isn’t a nature park. But while there sure are a lot of people crammed into a relatively small country, there still remain a select number of relatively wild spaces to escape to away from civilization. One of the foremost among those is Snowdonia. Snowdonia National Park, located in northwestern Wales, evokes powerful feelings. With the largest mountain peaks outside of Scotland and over 100 lakes within the confines of the park, not to mention rare birds, feral goats, polecats and otters, Snowdonia offers a ticket back in time to an older side of Britain.
Galápagos National Park
Our next park needs no introduction. Made famous by Charles Darwin in his On the Origin of Species, the Galápagos Islands and Galápagos National Park remain the home of the many species made famous by the writings of the famous naturalist: iguanas, tortoises, finches, and more!
Namib Naukluft National Park
Including both parts of the Namib desert (believed to be the oldest desert on Earth) and the Naukluft mountain range (hence where the park derives its name), Namib Naukluft National Park in Namibia is one of the most unique nature parks on this list. The fact that it is the largest game park in Africa and fourth largest in the world is just one more thing it has going for it. Witness for yourself the remarkable number of plant and animal species able to thrive in this harsh but breathtaking environment.
Looking for more adventure opportunities in nature? Check out the best hiking trips around the world!
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