Christoffelpark

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Christoffelpark is a national park, protected nature area and tourist attraction at the north-western end of the island of Curaçao surrounding Christoffelberg (Mt Christoffel).

Notable for its flora, fauna, culture and history, the park includes three former plantations, Plantage Savonet, Plantage Zorgvlied and Plantage Zevenbergen,[citation needed] a mine complex, Newton,[citation needed] and the island's highest point, Christoffelberg (1,239 feet (378 m)).[citation needed] The park covers almost 2000 hectares and has been part of Curaçao's national park system since 1978.[citation needed]

As of 2001 the park is run by the Carmabi Foundation (Caribbean Research and Management of Biodiversity)[citation needed] and can be explored by visitors by car, bike, horse or on foot.

History[edit]

Plantage Savonet in Christoffelpark is one of the earliest plantations to be founded on Curaçao.[citation needed][when?] As of 2011 the irrigation system is still reasonably intact.[citation needed] Attempts were made to cultivate aloe, indigofera, sorghum, corn, cotton, and beans. Cows, sheep, goats and poultry were also farmed on the plantation.[citation needed]

The plantation houses of Savonet and Zorgvlied (situated at the mountain side of the park) were built on the island in the eighteenth century.[citation needed] Of Zorgvlied only ruins remain. About 100 metres (330 ft) west of Zorgvlied ruins is the house of the 'bomba', the slave in charge of other slaves, and a 'slave-pole'.[citation needed]

Roads in the park were bitumised in 2004.[citation needed]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Chistoffelpark has more biodiversity than elsewhere on the island.[citation needed] Flora present in the park includes three pillar cacti species (datu, kadushi, and kadushi di pushi), divi-divi trees and exotic flowers.[citation needed] Cacti in the park reach up to ten feet high, and several extremely rare orchids, such as the lady of the night and Humboldt's schomburgkia, can be found blooming on them.[citation needed] Plant species occurring only in Christoffelpark include Myrcia curassavica, endemic to Curaçao, and Maytenus versluysii, endemic to Curaçao and Bonaire.[citation needed]

Fauna notable in the park includes mammals like the white-tailed deer, the cottontail, and several species of bats,[citation needed] birds like the rare white-tailed hawk, an endemic subspecies of barn owl (Tyto alba bargei), hummingbirds like the common emerald and the crimson topaz, and the endemic yellow oriole.[citation needed] Reptiles and insects are also well represented.[citation needed]

Tourism[edit]

As of 2011 Christoffelpark is open to visitors Monday to Sunday from 6am to 3pm, with no admittance after 1.30 pm. Commencement of climbing Mount Cristoffel is not allowed after 10am.[1]

There are eight hiking trails in the park, of which the Christoffel Mountain climb is the most challenging.[citation needed] Visitors are advised to attempt this climb early in the morning.[citation needed] There are four sealed road routes through the park. Organised park tours include a deer-spotting sunset tour, a pick-up safari, and the "Savonet history" tour.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Christoffelpark Curacao". Caribbean Research & Management of Biodiversity. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°20′00″N 69°07′00″W / 12.3333°N 69.1167°W / 12.3333; -69.1167