Zakouma National Park

Travel to the fascinating protected area of the Zakouma National Park and enjoy the lush landscapes and diverse wildlife of this place in the heart of Chad. Discover the secrets and wonders of this natural sanctuary, where vast plains meet dense forests and winding rivers, creating a unique and pristine environment. From majestic elephants to an incredible variety of birds and reptiles, the park harbors extraordinary biodiversity that captivates nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike. Join us on this exploration and let yourself be amazed by its unparalleled beauty.

Geographical Location

Zakouma National Park is situated in the Barh el Gazel region, in southeastern Chad. Its geographical coordinates are (10°47′N 19°35′E). It borders the Sarh and Am Timan regions, covering an area of just over 3,000 square kilometers.

Zakouma National Park

Zakouma is a wildlife sanctuary, renowned for its unique biodiversity and picturesque landscape, which blends savannas, riparian forests, and vast plains. Over the years, the park has played a crucial role in the protection and conservation of numerous species, offering a secure refuge for endangered animals.

History of Zakouma National Park

The history of Zakouma National Park dates back to 1963 when it was declared a national park by a Presidential Decree of Chad, granting it the highest form of protection under the laws of the Republic of Chad. Over the years, the park has faced significant challenges and changes, including poaching and armed conflicts in the region. However, thanks to conservation efforts and international collaborations, the park has managed to recover and maintain its status as an important wildlife sanctuary.


Zakouma National Park experiences a climate characterized by highly contrasting wet and dry seasons. During the months of June to October, heavy rains and floodwaters from Sudan affect a large part of the park. This rainy season is crucial as it replenishes water sources and creates favorable conditions for wildlife. During this period, the avifauna and fauna gather in large flocks and herds around receding water bodies and floodplains, creating an impressive spectacle for wildlife observers. In contrast, the dry months are when wildlife concentrates around remaining water sources, providing an exceptional opportunity to observe animals in their full splendor.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Zakouma National Park is part of the extensive RAMSAR site "Bahr Aouk and Salamat Floodplains", internationally recognized for its importance as a stopover for migratory birds and as a breeding area for birds and fish.

Biodiversity and Wildlife

Zakouma National Park is home to an incredible wealth of biodiversity, with a variety of species adapted to the diverse ecosystems present in the area. Life in the park is influenced by the wet and dry seasons, which exhibit strong contrasts in climate.


The park is home to emblematic species such as African elephants, which are the most iconic animals, as well as African buffalos, lions, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, and cheetahs. The impressive elephants of Zakouma are one of the main attractions, and their population has experienced a notable increase thanks to conservation efforts. Additionally, the park serves as a refuge for various antelope species, such as greater kudu, waterbuck, and oribi, gracefully moving through the open plains.


With an incredible number of bird species recorded, Zakouma National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers. From raptors like the martial eagle and kestrel to colorful bee-eaters and elegant pelicans, the avian diversity in the park is astonishing. During the migration season, numerous waterfowl visit the park’s rivers and lakes, adding even more charm to its avian fauna.


The park is home to a variety of fascinating reptiles, including several species of crocodiles and aquatic turtles. Snakes, such as the Seba’s python and the Egyptian cobra, also call Zakouma home. These reptiles play a vital role in the ecosystem, maintaining the natural balance and contributing to the park’s biodiversity.


The flora of Zakouma National Park is equally impressive, featuring a combination of savannas, riparian forests, and shrubland areas. In the open plains, you can find grasses and herbs that provide food for the park’s herbivores. Additionally, the wooded areas are populated by trees such as acacias and baobabs, which offer shade and shelter for the wildlife.

Conservation and Protection Efforts

Threats to Conservation

Zakouma National Park has faced significant conservation challenges, with poaching being one of the major threats. The illegal hunting of elephants for their ivory has had a devastating impact on the park’s elephant populations in the past. Additionally, armed conflicts in the region have hindered protection and surveillance efforts in the park.

Conservation Programs

To address conservation threats, comprehensive programs have been implemented in Zakouma National Park. These programs include the hiring and training of park rangers, the use of surveillance technologies such as camera traps and monitoring systems, as well as collaboration with international organizations and local communities to promote conservation and community involvement in park protection. Measures have also been established to combat poaching, such as surveillance patrols and strengthened law enforcement.

International Collaborations

Zakouma National Park has received support and collaboration from various international organizations in its conservation efforts. These partnerships include training programs, technical assistance, and financing to strengthen park management and promote wildlife conservation. Collaborative work with organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other institutions has been crucial for the success of protection initiatives in Zakouma.

Tourism in Zakouma National Park

Activities and Experiences for Visitors

Visitors to Zakouma National Park have the opportunity to enjoy a range of activities and experiences. This includes safaris in off-road vehicles, birdwatching, boat rides along the park’s rivers, and guided nature walks. Photography enthusiasts will also find Zakouma a perfect setting to capture the beauty and wildlife in its natural state.


A safari tour in a four-wheel-drive vehicle will surely offer sightings of red-necked ostrich, Abyssinian roller, African grey hornbill, and northern ground hornbill, Abyssinian ground hornbill, European bee-eater, gray-backed fiscal shrike, red-cheeked cordon-bleu, red-billed quelea, red-necked falcon, red-throated bee-eater, red-winged lark, rufous-crowned roller, rufous-tailed scrub robin, Senegal coucal, speckle-fronted weaver, spotted thick-knee, steppe eagle, tawny eagle, and white-rumped vulture.
The diversity of bird species allows for many types of sightings, including the Rüppell’s griffon vulture, Clapperton’s francolin, guinea fowl, Denham’s bustard, Arabian and Nubian bustards, laughing and collared doves, rose-ringed parakeet, northern carmine bee-eater, little and green bee-eaters, yellow-billed and spotted-backed weavers, chestnut-bellied sandgrouse, black and white-headed buffalo weavers, blue-cheeked bee-eater, northern carmine bee-eater, little and green bee-eaters, yellow-billed and spotted-backed weavers, yellow-fronted canary, African pied wagtail, chestnut-crowned sparrow-weaver, and brown-rumped babbler.

The massive flocks of red-billed quelea move between the trees to and from water and their roosts, with spectacular sightings of raptors attacking the swirling masses at the water’s edge.

Recommended Visiting Season

The best time to visit Zakouma National Park is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. During these months, the weather is milder, and wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to observe. However, it is essential to consider the weather conditions and check for updated details before planning the trip.

Regulations and Guidelines for Visitors

To preserve the ecosystem and ensure the safety of visitors and wildlife, regulations and guidelines are enforced in Zakouma National Park. This includes following the directions of park rangers, respecting speed limits, and not interfering with animals in their natural habitat. Visitors are also required to obtain permits and pay the corresponding entrance fees.

Accommodation and Tourist Services

There are accommodation options ranging from basic campsites to luxurious lodges and safari tents. These establishments offer amenities and services for visitors, including meals, local guides, and organized activities. It is essential to book in advance and check availability according to the season.

Impact of Tourism on the Local Economy

Tourism has played a significant role in the economic development of local communities. The tourism industry has created jobs in sectors such as hospitality, tour guiding, and crafts. Additionally, the revenue generated by tourism contributes to funding conservation programs and park maintenance.

Challenges and Prospects for the Future

Despite conservation efforts, Zakouma National Park continues to face challenges in ensuring the long-term protection of its biodiversity. Poaching and human pressure remain concerns, and it is crucial to continue strengthening protection measures and raising awareness about the importance of preserving this valuable ecosystem.
However, Zakouma National Park has promising prospects. Conservation efforts and international collaboration have shown positive results, such as the increase in the elephant population and the recovery of other threatened species. Moreover, sustainable tourism can play a key role in generating income for park protection and local development.

To ensure a prosperous future, it is necessary to maintain commitment to conservation, strengthen anti-poaching actions, and promote responsible tourism that respects the natural environment and benefits local communities. Only through effective management and continued collaboration can this natural treasure be preserved for future generations.

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