All around the world, national parks hold amazing treasures. They’re home to vast forests and alluring volcanoes, diverse animal groups and fabulous coastlines. But if you’re looking for something a little different, these national parks below have something unique to offer – which one would you most love to visit?
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see the Big 5 in Africa, then watching the Great migration should be next on your animal bucketlist. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is the only place on Earth where you can watch millions of animals start their migration and cross the Grumeti River, an event that’s considered one of the Great Migration’s must-sees.
Vast, impressive ice-scapes are the iconic mark of Wrangell National Park, a stretch of icy land that is bigger than Switzerland. But what makes this national park stand out is that it actually makes up a portion of the world’s biggest non-polar ice field. One of its glaciers, Malaspina, is also bigger than Rhode Island. That’s a heck of a lot of ice!
We’ve all head of Mt. Everest, but did you know that it is actually located in the Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal? Everest, of course, attributes the park with the unique privilege of containing the highest point above sea level in the entire world. In Sagarmatha, you can also spot some of the world’s rarest animals, such as snow leopards, red pandas and Himalayan black bears.
Thailand is usually known for its beautiful beaches and amazing temples, but national parks abound in Thailand too. Towards the south, the Khao Sok National Park is unique for one reason: It’s home to the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia. While it can grow to up to a metre tall, it unfortunately doesn’t smell very good and apparently gives off a scent like off meat! Believe it or not, this national park is also more diverse (and older) than the Amazon Jungle.
An entire National Park dedicated to luxurious hot springs? Yes, indeed! Although this park is officially run by the US National Parks Service, it is actually located in the city of Hot Springs, an urban area in Arkansas. As you might’ve guessed, bathing in a natural hot spring here is a must-do and many other bathhouse sights are popular here too. Somehow, though, we don’t think this is what Dorothy meant when she said they weren’t in Kansas anymore…
A popular volcano-lover’s spot, the Timanfaya National Park on the Spanish island of Lanzarote is not your usual national park. Instead of amazing forests and beautiful coastlines, this park contains a vast stretch of black and red craters and mountains that are entirely made up of volcanic soil. From the top of Montana Rajada, you’ll be able to see red solidified seas of lava spread over the land, creating a landscape that is somewhat akin to being on Mars.
Yellowstone is known to stand out on the National Park scale for its features like ice fogs and ghost trees, but did you know that it is also home to the world’s biggest volcano? Located underneath the ground, this super volcano keeps scientists on their toes, especially since many predict that if it were to erupt, it would reduce the global temperature of the earth and send ash as far as the American east coast. Yikes!
What’s unique about the Mammoth Cave National Park? It’s full of mammoth caves, duh! Seriously – this unique National Park holds the longest known cave system on the planet and extends for over 600 km. Flowing alongside Green River, the park offers visitor tours on a regular basis and for travellers and scientists, it’s one of the few ways today to truly “get inside” the planet Earth.
Rarely do you come across a national park that has been carved over time by a glacier, but on the southern tip of New Zealand, the Fiordland National Park is set to impress. Complete with breathtaking mountains, valleys, lakes, fiords and rainforests, this diverse park is a World Heritage Area – and thanks to Peter Jackson, it’s the only place in the world where you can truly feel like you’re in Lord of the Rings.
Photo credits: Hochgeladen von Dlanglois, David Dennis, Tom Weber, Quadell, Finnur Malmquist, Ultratomio, Nikodem Nijaki, Huebi, Corey Seeman, Southgeist