Parks Beyond Borders: Ireland's Best National Parks, Germany Funds Namibian Parks, Rain Damage in Canada And Kenya

killarney roadkillarney hike

The "top five" national parks in Ireland is open for debate, but Killarney National Park is always a favorite for motoring tiny scenic roads and hiking through gushing gorges. Photos by Randy Johnson.

Top Five National Parks In Ireland

This is prime time for visiting national parks in Ireland and the Website of a private guided tour company has posted a nice round up to get you thinking (even if Ireland Chauffeur Travel’s services aren’t in your budget).

The site says, “Whether you are a serious hiker, enjoy walking, or are just looking for the perfect picnic spot, Ireland’s unique National Parks offer clubs and families the perfect day out.” Here’s their list with some select plusses for each park...

1. Wicklow Mountains National Park
This mountainous park is just a short drive from Dublin so folks who are only visiting the Irish capital can actually slip a national park into the trip. “With its network of nine walkways, Wicklow Mountains National Park offers walkers and nature lovers a view into the heart of Irelands thriving deer and bird species.”

2. Killarney National Park
Located in southwestern Ireland near Cork, “Killarney National Park has a fantastic back drop of woods mountains and waterfalls.” The site recommends the “surfaced tracks in the Muckross, Knockreer and Ross Island areas of the park.”

3. Connemara National Park
Northwest of Galway on the west coast, “Connemara National Park is very well suited for more experienced hikers. ... Diamond Hill is a challenging climb and well worth the view sites.”

4. Ballycroy National Park

On the northwest coast of County Mayo, Ballycroy surrounds Tullaghan Bay and Bog Natural Heritage Area where “the Nephin Beg mountain range is the newest National Park in Ireland. This remote and unspoilt park will guarantee good hiking and lengthy walks.”

5. Burren National Park

South of Galway, Burren National Park’s “bare stone hills are the main feature,” says the site. “Neolithic monuments surrounded by beautiful plant life ensure that the 123km Burren Way route will be an unforgettable experience.”

Germany Invests in Namibian National Parks

New infrastructure development in the Susuwe and Ngenda park stations in the Bwabwata and Mudumu national parks of Namibia comes in part through the generosity of Germany. The German Development Bank and the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism are teaming up to jointly spend N$37.4 million Namibian dollars.

An article in the Awesome Africa blog said the investment was “co-financed by the German government,” with the Germans having “availed N$27.7 million, while the Namibian government availed N$9.7 million for the development.” The blog called it continuing to invest in Namibia’s “tourism sector, which is viewed as one of Namibia's main GDP growing sectors.”

“The infrastructure development includes park offices, visitor facilities and staff housing and support services such as roads, water and electricity. Since Namibia is looking at new tourism destinations, it is unleashing the potential of some of its best-kept secrets such as the Bwabwata and Mudumu national parks, by developing it.”

At the ground-breaking ceremony of the infrastructure development of the two park stations Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah said, "These parks have the potential to bring in maximum yields for the country as they offer new areas and routes for tourists to explore, which means they have a great potential of generating new tourism product packages."

“According to the minister, the tourism potential of the northeastern parts of Namibia are only just being tapped.” The blog says the area has “beautiful floodplains, river scenery, riparian woodlands, mopane forests and savannah mosaics,” and that “elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard can be found in this park, as well as the zebra, giraffe, eland wildebeest, impala,” and other animals.

The blog said outgoing German Ambassador, Egon Kochanke, said “well designed and carefully planned park stations are important preconditions for effective park management,” which leads to “preservation of biodiversity” but also forms a “base for sustainable economic use of the parks” and “increased tourism and job creation. I want to assure you that the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany remains committed to this sector and to your ministry's endeavours towards economic development and nature conservation."

The article described the two parks as “part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Park (KAZA), which includes lands in neighbouring countries," including Botswana. The diplomat said the German government is supporting “KAZA with another N$200 million,” and “believes that the transfrontier area is an extremely important initiative in times of climate change, particularly for the benefit of people living in these five countries.”

Canadians Assess Damage After Heavy Rains and Snow

In an article for 660 News, Kevin Usselman wrote that “officials with Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks are scrambling to assess the damage left behind following a record snowfall and three times the regular amount of rain in June.”

Omar McDadi, Parks Canada Public Relations and Communications Officer, said the “northern part of Kootenay suffered the most damage with pathways, campgrounds and roads and bridges impacted.” The floods caused by melting snow and heavy rain has brought a "once-in-a-generation year" for damage to as many as 10 bridges and other facilities that need to be stabilized before the visitor season.

McDadi said, “Chancellor Peak campground in Yoho National Park is expected to remain closed for the rest of the summer tourist season." The wet weather has caused problems at a wide variety of park visitor sites. Best bet—check Web sites for Alberta Parks and Parks Canada before setting out on your park trip.

Heavy Rain Disrupts Wildlife in Kenya

An article by Rita Damary in the AllAfrica Web site says rains have caused a major rise in the level of Lake Nakuru in Lake Nakuru National Park. Thousands of flamingoes have migrated to other lakes, but the park’s deputy senior warden Joseph Dadacha said “the number of both local and international tourists visiting the lake is on the increase. We have never experienced this kind of water level, not even during El nino rains," Dadacha said.

The rains and water level surge were blamed on “climate change” with the lake up “by three metres.” All the fresh water flowing into the Nakuru “might have diluted the salinity of the water, hence reducing production of algae that is food for the birds. Dadacha said the birds migrate to salty lakes where they will get food and return to Nakuru when conditions improve. He said since the flooding only about 10,000 lesser flamingoes out of 400,000 are in the lake.”

The deputy warden said, “Animals like Columbus monkeys, Reed Bucks and Impalas will relocate to other parts of the park not affected.”

Comments

Thank you for the mention. Most of our tours take in at least three of Irelands National Parks.

The most popular we cover are Killarney, Burren & Connemara.

See You in Ireland someday !!!

Great Website !!