Upemba & Kundelungu National Park Complex

These two parks cover an area of approximately 24,600km2 of spectacular wilderness in Katanga Province of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Upemba National Park, with legal protection since 1939, is one of the oldest in Africa. The park is linked to Kundelungu National Park and a number of game reserves, together forming a massive mosaic of protected areas. Upemba and Kundelungu boast a wide diversity of habitats, including a full transitional gradient from highland steppe through miombo woodland to both wooded and grassland savannah. There are numerous rivers, waterfalls, wetlands and gallery forests. The Lufira River and Lake Upemba, both within park boundaries, form a critical watershed for the region as well as the source of the mighty Congo River.

The parks’ wildlife populations suffered during the Congo war, and subsequent neglect of the parks and illegal poaching enabled bushmeat hunting to further decrease wildlife numbers. Nevertheless, many species remain and the park is a refuge for the last savannah elephants in Katanga as well as the last zebras in DRC. Other notable species include endemic Upemba lechwe, roan antelope, black sable, buffalo, leopard, giant ground hornbill and many other bird species.

The Congolese Wildlife Authority (ICCN) appointed Rob Muir as Park Director to manage the two parks collectively. It signed a Private-Public Partnership with his organisation, Forgotten Parks Foundation (FPF), delegating management responsibility to the foundation for the next 15 years. Under this agreement Forgotten Parks is responsible for the management, monitoring and protection of the two parks, as well as for developing sustainable financing mechanisms to meet the on-going management costs.