Yes, you did understand it right. That IS the name of the park, just like that: W of the Niger. “W” the letter itself. This comes from the particular itinerary that river Niger creates as it flows through Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso states, shaped as a “W”, in fact. It stretches over 10.000 sq km . And – even though the National Park was established in 1954 – it has always been populated. Humans and animals live side by side in this environment of rare beauty that includes a small part of Burkina Faso as well.
One of the largest National Parks in Africa and the largest in West Africa, this protected reserve is also a UN Heritage site since 1996. The largest part of the park is in Niger, the remaining is divided between Benin and Burkina Faso. A safari in W of the Niger National Park includes animals, wild environments but also farmers villages and archaeological sites to visit. A large part of West African soul and tradition is expressed by the park and its territory. Just come and find it out!
What to see at the W of the Niger
The W of the Niger is a land of water. The rivers Niger and Mekrou, the smaller channels, the ponds, the creeks make it a wetland and some areas are also malarial zones. But along the great river’s banks you will admire over 450 species of plants and trees, forming forests, grassland and bush. Many beautiful flowers can be admired along the way, including the Niger Orchids. As you walk along the Park’s paths, you will admire animals too.
W of the Niger is home to elephants of course, especially within the Burkina Faso borders, and to buffalos and hippopotami. This is the best place for also admiring leopards, lions and cheetahs. Giraffes live along the “W” territories as well, and they share their grassy itineraries with wild dogs and baboons. As for birds, this National Park is perfect for birdwatchers looking for migrating birds.
What to do at the W of the Niger
Safari and game viewing are the main things to do, at the W of the Niger National Park. You will have the chance to choose among 4-wheel drive safari, which allows you to explore large parts of the land and get closer to animals. Or you can go on foot trekking, of course with the help of local guides: this allows you to enter the animals’ habitat and take better photos.
Birdwatching is the kind of activity you must do by walking, on foot treks and following the experts guides and rangers of the place. Otherwise, try the exciting boat safari. Go floating down Niger or Mekrou rivers and admire the whole landscape, though you cannot approach all animals. You can also book some specific safaris, for example to see the great migration of mammals and birds at specific periods of the year.
If you like, you will admire local people as they live their everyday life. Or explore the many archaeological sites spread all over the river’s way.
More information about the National Park
To get to the park from Burkina Faso’s capital city, Ougadougou, you shall drive for 5 hours . You will follow the only highway connecting the nation to Niger state. Or you can fly from Ougadougou airport to Niamey (Niger) and take a bus from there to Tapoa, the closest town to the main entrance, on a 2-hour trip.
You shall pay in order to visit W of the Niger National Park. Adults pay a ticket of 10,000 CFA, kids pay 5,000. Children under 7 years old enter for free.