W Regional Park
The W regional park, the largest park in West Africa, extends into the territory of three countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger) and is one of the largest Protected areas of Savannah from Africa. Tourist site, but especially wildlife protection site, the W Regional Park, covers a total area of 10302 km2.
In 1926, for the first time, the French colonial administration identified this savannah space as a refuge zone. Between 1952-1953, the W was classified Total Wildlife Reserve before being erected in National Park a year later in 1954. It is located 150 km southwest of Niamey, the capital. And represents the first transboundary park of French West Africa (FWA). It is a very important site from an ecological and economic point of view, and has more than 80% biodiversity in Niger. It is the last sanctuary in West Africa where a complex and exceptional biological diversity still survives, constituting the part of the regional set of Protected Areas of three (3) countries which includes a Nigerian, Burkina Faso and Beninese component .
This “W” complex owes its name to the W-shaped meanderings that characterize the Niger River in the vicinity of Karey Kopto (Niger). It is part of a larger complex called WAP (W-Arly-Pendjari) and has been protected since 2007 by the Ramsar Convention.
The Nigerian part is bounded on the east by the river Niger, on the north by the river Tapoa, on the south by the river Mekrou, on the west by the border between Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
In Benin, the park is located in the northern tip of the country and watered by the tributaries of the Niger River, which is the second largest river in Africa after the Nile. It enjoys a Sudanian climate and offers a great diversity of vegetation, such as gallery forests and savanna of all kinds.
In Burkina Faso, it is located in the extreme east of the country with average precipitation. It belongs to the Pendjari-Mekrou biogeographic sector, which is divided between the Volta basin in its southern part and the Niger basin in the north.
From the biological diversity point of view, the park’s floristic inventory has identified around 500 plant species divided into different plant formations, including shrub savannahs, wooded or wooded savannahs, grassy savannahs, and finally, the Cave forests and galleries.