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Iona National Park is one of the parks and reserves from the block of protected areas on the Atlantic Ocean coast. This continuous block stretches from the Namibian border parks of Namib-Naukluft National Park and the Skeleton coast National Park both making sections of the vast Namib Desert.
Iona Angola Park was gazetted as in 19376 as a national park previously considered as only was a nature reserve. It is spread over an area of 5, 840sq km ranking as the largest national park in Angola. There are several areas that make up the entire park with reserves and protected areas such as the Cunene river banks and delta, Baia dosTigres and more than 200km of the ocean coast.
In the east Posto do Iona defines the skyline at 800m above sea level and Tchamalinde Mountains as well. These and more features make the bio-diverse eco-system of Iona Park. The desert and semi-desert regions are basically made up of grasslands, mopane woodlands, patches of savannah, desert dunes and the calcrete plains.
The park receives an estimated 100-300mm of rainfall every year which nourishes the grasslands for every season.
Iona National Park is located south west of the city of Namibe-200km from Nimbe town. The western border of the park is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean while the south is noted by the meandering waters of the Cunene river. In the north, Curoca River forms a lush park border.
Despite the increase in poaching and illegal hunting, this Angola national park has stood to the glory of game paradise. Some of the animals in the park include the springbok, ostrich, kudu, zebra, klipspringer, impala, Quelengue and rare sights of the cheetah among other smaller mammals.
There are several species of birds in the park, many found at the Curoca river banks and in the woodlands. More than 114 birds are recorded in the park with regular sights like Ludwig bustard, Cape Gannet, Lesser flamingo, Rueppel’s parrot, Gray Lark, African penguin and the Cindrella waxbill among others
Besides the wildlife, there unique flora of Iona National park is amazing. The Welwitschia Mirabilis, one of the oldest species of plants in the world is found in the park. The sand dunes, coastal pans and the river basin are splendid sites for hiking safaris and photographic adventures.
The Himba, Kimbundu and Mucubal people are some of the Angolan tribes living in the areas around Iona National park. Many of the people are farmers and livestock herders who have lived in this habitat for more than 1000 years