Iona National Park

Iona National Park or Parque Nacional do Iona is a conservation area of 15,200 sq kilometers (5,850 sq miles) in Namibe Province, Angola, with the Atlantic Ocean in the west and a steep slope in the East that marks the beginning of the interior highlands. The area includes wild hills, plains, mountains and rugged cliffs.

Iona National Park was declared a reserve in 1937, later upgraded to a national park in 1964 and in recent years a number of government and international projects have begun to rebuild the infrastructure. The area has the often-dry Curoca River but has a lagoon, while the Cunene River is permanent and has a swampy area at the end.

Xvlor Iona National Park Iona National Park

Iona is part of the northern Namib Desert and the only true desert in southern Africa also known as the Kaokoveld Desert that has been dry for 55-80 million years as the world's oldest desert. Atlantic Ocean in the west and the base of the Great Escarpment in the mountains of Tchamaline and Cafema in the east.

The cold and wet air of Benguela Current in the Atlantic Ocean creates a thick misty climate that is essential to meet the hot and dry air of the desert. The strong fog and strong currents have caused many shipwrecks throughout history. The beach is called Skeleton Coast where whales and seals are seen on the beach by sailors.

Iona National Park is adjacent to Skeleton Coast Park in Namibia adjacent to Namib-Naukluft National Park where the three protected areas form a sustainable block covering some 1,200 kilometers from the coastline of the Namib Desert and adjacent hills.


Vegetation in the national park includes sub-coastal steppes with wood and herbaceous components in grassland formations and is dominated by Acacia, Commiphora, Colophosphormum, Aristida, Schmidita, and Staria. Discontinued coastal steppes is associated with desert vegetation dominated by Aristida, Cissus, Salvadora, and Welwitschia. Desert with moving dunes is dominated by Odyssea and Sporobulus.

This park is the primary habitat for Welvitschia mirabilis is an endemic plant that is sometimes referred to as "living fossils". Plants get moisture from the ocean dew that rolls from the Atlantic. Dew is absorbed through the leaves rather than through the roots. Its unique habitat and climate in which Iona and the Kaokoveld Desert have a number of endemic animals, especially reptiles.

At least 63 species have been recorded in the ecoregion with 8 endemic species including 2 lizards, 3 geckos, and 3 skinks. The edge of the Cunene River in the south supports an important wetland area for bird migration. The South African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) has been seen in the park for the first time in 2010. Iona National Park

Xvlor Iona National Park

Location: Namibe Province, Angola.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Namibe Airport in Namibe City, then drive to Tombua Town, but take the left turn on the signboard marked Iona National Park and drive another 90 kilometers.

Advice: Cultural tours to Himba, Mucubal and Kimbundu communities who remain isolated and oblivious to the outside world.