Iona National Park Angola, Africa

Country Angola
Established 1964
Region Kumene Region
IUCN Category National Park (CAT II)
Project Size 15,150 km²
Population 3,300
Biome Namib-Karoo and Kalahari Highveld
Key Species South African oryx, springbuck, Hartmann’s zebra, ostrich
Conservation Relevance Key Biodiveristy Area, Important Bird Area
Managing Authority African Parks on behalf of the Angola Ministry of Environment & the National Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation
Partner African Parks
Funding Partner Rob and Melani Walton Foundation
Where the Kaokoveld Desert Meets the Skeleton Coast

Legacy Landscapes Fund Project Candidate | Status 05/2021

Iona National Park is situated in the southwest corner of Angola in the oldest desert in the world. It is contiguous to the Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia, creating one of the largest transfrontier conservation areas on the planet.

This special ecosystem has high endemism, with many reptiles, plant, and bird species occurring only in this eco-region. Key terrestrial faunal species include the South African oryx, springbuck, Hartmann’s zebra, ostrich, cheetah, leopard, and brown hyena, although the latter three predators are found in fairly low numbers.

Iona is recognized as an “Important Bird Area” with at least 150 species recorded. The Kaokoveld Desert and the Namib desert (covering the largest area of the park) are recognized as “globally remarkable” in terms of their biological diversity and are mentioned by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as centers of floral endemism.

Key Threats

  • Human-wildlife conflicts over land and water access
  • Impacts of climate change
  • Unsustainable grazing practices and other human activities along the periphery and inside the park

Key Activities

  • Improve management of the park
  • Promote community engagement and development
  • Develop integrated land use planning for sustainable co-existence between traditional communities and wildlife
  • Promote sustainable tourism options

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© Martin Rickelton / African Parks
© Martin Rickelton / African Parks