Bicauri National Park

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Bicuari/Huila National Park
Bicuar National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Map showing the location of Bicuari/Huila National Park
Map showing the location of Bicuari/Huila National Park
Nearest cityLubango
Coordinates15°17′23″S 14°48′26″E / 15.28977489°S 14.80722216°E / -15.28977489; 14.80722216Coordinates: 15°17′23″S 14°48′26″E / 15.28977489°S 14.80722216°E / -15.28977489; 14.80722216
Area7900 km2

Bicuari National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional do Bicuar; also called Bicuar National Park or Bikuar/Huila National Park) is a national park in Angola. It is located in the south-west region of the country on the Huila Plateau, about 120 km SE of Lubango. The park is an area of sandy hills and shrub thicket character. The climate is tropical semi-arid. Bicuar was established as a hunting reserve in 1938, and reformed as a national park in 1964. Historically known for its large mammals, such as the black buffalo, the park suffered heavily in the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002). During this time the animals were mostly or entirely exterminated, but the Angolan Government is now undertaking efforts to rebuild the infrastructure and resettle the animals.[1]

Natural features[edit]

The park is bordered on the east by the Cunene River, one of the few perennial rivers in the region. The dominant vegetation is described as Angolan miombo woodlands and Angolan mopane woodlands, an area of savanna and woodlands on the plateau east of the coastal hills.[2] Portions of the park are seasonally wet or wetland swamps and dambo grasslands.[3]

The Bicuar stands at the northern end of a distinct ecoregion known as the Angolan mopane woodland.[4] The area is known for high species richness, variable rainfall, and the importance of mopane trees to the animals and people of the region.

The climate of Bicuari is described under the Köppen climate classification system as Temperate highland tropical climate with dry winters (Cwb), and the warmest months temperatures averaging below 22 °C. Average rainfall is 600–800 mm/year.[5]

Animal life[edit]

The area has historically been known for large herds of common antelopes, elephants, and other large mammals. All species populations are believed to have been severely reduced during the war (the park was reportedly used as a practice artillery range), poaching, and human encroachment. Since cessation of hostilities, work has begun by the Huila provincial government to rebuild the infrastructure of the park to attract and protect animals.

As of 2013, it has been reported that some of the large mammals are returning to Bicuar. The park administrator noted that "We are happy with the return of herds of elephants into the municipalities of Quipungo, Matala and Gambos, as the animals are recognising their habitat and are reproducing inside the park.".[6] Besides elephants, the park also reportedly supports antelopes, elands, gnus and zebras.[7]


  1. ^ "Framework Report on Angola's Biodiversity, 2009" (PDF). Republic of Angola, Ministry of Environment, 2004. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "118/119 Biodiversity and Tropical Forest Assessment for Angola" (PDF). USAID, May 2008. Retrieved 2014-10-30.
  3. ^ "Wetlands 5.1, Angola" (PDF). Wetlands International, Ramsar Sites Information Service, p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-12.
  4. ^ "Angolan Mopane Woodland". Ecoregions, World Wildlife Fund. Archived from the original on 2014-11-29.
  5. ^ "Climate of the Kunene Basin". Kunene River Awareness Kit. Archived from the original on 2011-12-09.
  6. ^ "Animals Return to Bicuar National Park". Agence Angla Press, February 13, 2013.
  7. ^ "Tourism in Angola". Republic of Angola, Embassy of Angola, Washington DC.

External links[edit]