Indiana Jones could not have dreamed of a more beautiful place. Niokolo Koba is the largest reserve in Western Africa.
The ultimate sanctuary for Sahelian fauna, the park offers, from November to June, 600 km of track to admire lions, baboons, black crowned cranes, hippopotami or even crocodile. Patience and a love of animals will be your main allies: nevertheless, a pair of binoculars and good advice from an experienced guide will ensure unforgettable moments, being at one with nature that is thousands of years old, preserved and still rarely visited.
Niokolo-Koba was declared a Senegalese national park in 1954, expanded in 1969, and it was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1981 as a UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve.
In 2007 it was added to the UNESCO List of Endangered World Heritage sites.
The park lies in an upland region through which the upper stretch of the Gambia River flows, towards the northwestern border of Guinea.
The Biosphere park itself covers some 9,130 sq. kilometres, in a great arc running from Upper Casamance/Kolda Region at the Guinea-Bissau border into the Tambacounda Region to within a hundred kilometers of the Guinean border near the southeast corner of Senegal. Its altitude ranges from 16m to 311m.
Most of the park is woodland savanna and semi-arid Soudanese forest, with large areas of wooded wetlands and seasonal wetlands. The park contains over 1,500 species of plants and 78% of the gallery forest in Senegal.
The national park is known for its wildlife. The government of Senegal estimates the park contains 20 species of amphibian, 60 species of fish, 38 species of reptile (of which four are tortoises). There are some 80 mammal species. These included (as of 2005) an estimated 11,000 buffalo, 6,000 hippos, 400 western giant eland, 50 elephants, 120 lions, 150 chimpanzees, 3,000 waterbuck, 2000 common duiker, an unknown number of red colobus (Colobus badius rufomitratus) and a few rare leopards and african wild dogs (Lycaon pictus).
Around 330 species of birds have been sighted in the park, notably the Great bustard, Black Crowned Crane, Southern Ground-hornbill (Bucorvus cafer) , Martial Eagle, Bateleur (Terathopius ecaudatus), and White-faced Duck (Dendrocygna viduata).