They’re toothy. They’re scaly. And they get the worst reputation. We’ve all seen crocodiles up front in zoos lying in the sun like sunbathing slugs, but did you know it’s so much different when you see them in their native habitat? Africa is home to the largest concentration of the Nile crocodile that can be found lurking in shallow waters. So build up that courage and enter if you dare. This list will take you the various stomping grounds (well, maybe not stomping) where tourists can delight in seeing the fanged reptile giants floating in the wild. Here’s where to find Nile crocodiles in Africa.
Murchison Falls Park – Uganda
One of the best places to see the Nile crocodiles is in Uganda, namely Murchison Falls Park, where some of the reptiles are transplants. Word has it, problematic crocodiles are removed by the Uganda Wildlife Authority from areas that are too close to villagers and transported to this park. Today, visitors can admire them (from afar).
Queen Elizabeth Park – Rwanda
God save the queen (from this crocodile). A portion of this park also spills into Uganda in the scenic Ruwenzori Mountains and savanna grasslands where the scaly animals love to call it their permanent home. Most tourists flock to this park to see the famous mountain gorillas but the crocodiles are real stars of this park, too.
Kruger Park – South Africa
Kruger Park is one of South Africa’s most popular park to see “The Big Five,” but crocodiles are just as exciting to see sharing the same rivers as the hippos (they are surprisingly tolerant of each other). Today, visitors can admire the scaly creatures from afar with with locked doors in their safari jeeps.
Ankarana National Park – Madagascar
Step inside this national park and you’ll feel as if you’re stumbled upon the set of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Located in northern Madagascar, this park is surrounded by 150-million year old limestone rocks, allowing visitors to get a stunning view of nature while enjoying the lemur’s worst nightmares slithering in the water.
Maasai Mara River – Kenya and Tanzania
This river is 245 miles long stretching out into two countries and its rich riverbank draws all sorts of wildlife — lucky for the crocodiles. Hordes of wildebeests are seen migrating by the thousands past the river, turning the area into an all-you-can-eat buffet in this crocodile-infested water. If you happen to see a feasting on your trip to this river, don’t feel bad, it’s all part of the cycle of life.
Okavango Delta – Botswana
Here’s a reason why you should be afraid of them. In the Okavango Delta, locals and wildlife authorities were starting to wonder why they weren’t seeing much of the crocodiles lately until recently they’ve discovered that the reptiles have systematically built an underground network of tunnels where they lay hidden for most of the time, waiting for the right moment to attack. Alert the press! They’re getting smarter!
Nechisar National Park – Ethiopia
Head down to Lake Chamo and you’ll find hundreds (if not thousands) of the crocodiles sunbathing in inch-deep water. The longest documented crocodile found in this lake is up to 18 feet and guests will notice a majority of the reptiles are incredibly large and thick, thanks to the area’s healthy population of wildlife that makes the lake’s happy hour a day-long event.
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