The Beautiful, Breathtaking Natural Parks of Algeria

Algeria is located at the junction of two vast geographical areas: the Mediterranean region and the Sahara. The division of the relief into wide strips roughly oriented from west to east accentuates the contrasts between the various natural environments that follow one another from north to south.

In the south, the Sahara is very diverse, ranging from vast uniform expanses of rocky plateaus (hamadas du Draa) to depressions dotted with dunes (Grand Erg Occidental, Grand Erg Oriental), to the imposing mountain ranges of the far south, including the Hoggar, which rises to about 3,000 metres.

To the north, in the Maghreb region, two mountain ranges with marked reliefs surround the Interior High Plains, where there are a few isolated mountains (djebels) dominating vast depressions, often occupied by saltwater lakes (sebkhas).

The Tell region consists of small coastal or subcoastal plains (such as the Mitidja) alternating with relatively low, but steeply sloping mountain ranges, mixing elements of old massifs (such as Grande Kabylie) and fragments of sedimentary layers that folded, cracked and were raised several times during the Tertiary era.

Further south of the High Plains, on the edge of the Sahara, a second mountain range, the Saharan Atlas, has more regular folds in a rock mainly composed of limestone and marl.

A temperate climate as can be desired

The coastal regions enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with mild winters (around 12°C in Algiers) and bearable summers (around 25°C in the same city). Humidity is high and rainfall is relatively abundant, with an average of 762 mm per year concentrated in a few autumn and spring months. It rains more in Algiers than in Paris.

In summer, the weather is dominated by the rise of Saharan high pressure to the north. However, from autumn to spring, the weather deteriorates due to the southward movement of the temperate air flow in the Mediterranean or the arrival of polar air masses at altitude, which leads to disturbed and rainy weather conditions over Algeria, with a drop in temperatures. These conditions naturally vary depending on altitude and geographical location.

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Belezma National Park

Located in the wilaya of Batna, in the north-east of the country, the Belezma National Park is home to Mount Belezma, an imposing massif with tormented reliefs, narrow valleys and peaks exceeding 2,130 metres (Djebel Tichaou) and 2,178 metres (Djebel Refaâ).

Founded in 1984, Belezma National Park, like Gouraya National Park in Béjaia and Taza National Park in Jijel, was created due to the presence of vast expanses of Atlas cedars, its rich archaeological and historical heritage, and its diversity of wetland ecosystems in the north-northeast.

Belezma National Park – @Dilawb via Wikimedia Commons

Located in the east of northern Algeria, the Belezma National Park covers 26,250 hectares and represents an elongated territory, oriented southwest/northeast, near Batna. UNESCO designated the park as a biosphere reserve in June 2015, covering an area of 262.50 km².

Chrea National Park

Located 50 km south of Algiers, in the wilaya of Blida, the Chréa National Park is mainly mountainous, in the heart of the Blidéan massif. In addition to its ski resort in Chrea, it is home to huge cedar forests, as well as the Chiffa Gorge and Lake Dhaya in Tamesguida. The park also offers hiking opportunities.

Chrea National Park in the middle of winter

In terms of wildlife, cedar groves are home to an endangered population of Berber macaques, while plant species include cedar, holm oak, cork oak, cedar, Aleppo pine, holly, yew, and barberry. A variety of animals, including the Magot, Genet, Lynx, Striped Hyena, Mongoose, Porcupine, Golden Jackal, Fox, Boar, Otter and Weasel, as well as birds such as Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Griffon Vulture and Egyptian Vulture, inhabit the area. UNESCO recognized the park as a biosphere reserve in 2002.

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El-Kala National Park

Located near the town of El Kala in the northeastern Algerian wilaya of El-Tarf, El-Kala National Park was established in 1983, bordering the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Tunisian border to the east.

The park includes many lakes and is home to a unique ecosystem in the Mediterranean basin. It was classified as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1990. Covering an area of 80,000 hectares, it encompasses several lakes and marshes, forming part of the Kroumirie mountain range and comprising eight border municipalities.

The core area of the park is home to three lakes classified as wetlands of international importance according to the Unesco Ramsar Convention in 1983: Lake El Melah, Lake Oubeira and Lake Tonga.

Lake Tonga within El Kala National Park – @Hichemcky91 via Wikimedia Commons

As far as wildlife is concerned, the park is a wetland offering a combination of unique ecosystems of great ecological richness. The World Wildlife Fund has recorded 450 species of birds, 305 species of mammals, 193 species of fish, 138 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 40,000 plant specimens in this reservoir of Mediterranean biodiversity. The park was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1995.

Djurdjura National Park

Located in the wilaya of Bouira, in Kabylia, northern Algeria, the Djurdjura National Park is home to vast forests, gorges and chasms, where a wide variety of wildlife lives. It has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1997.

The main trees of the region are the Atlas cedar, the holm oak, the cork oak, the holly, the obtuse-leaved maple, the Montpellier maple, the field maple, the prunus avium, the zean oak, the black pine, the Aleppo pine and the yew. Among the mammals present are the Magot, the Cape Hare, the Wild Boar, the Striped Hyena, the Mongoose, the African Golden Wolf, the Egyptian Wolf, the Barbary Leopard, the Serval, the Genet, the Porcupine and the Weasel. 

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Djurdjura National Park

As far as birds are concerned, there are the Golden Eagle, the Griffon Vulture, the Bearded Vulture, the Egyptian Vulture, the Bonelli’s Eagle, the Kestrel, the Ferocious Hawk, the Tawny Owl, the Great Horned Owl, the Song Thrush, the Philomela Nightingale, the Red Crossbill, the Drain Thrush, the Green Woodpecker and the Hoopoe.

Gouraya National Park

Receiving around 1,200,000 visitors a year, mostly in the summer, Gouraya National Park is renowned for its sandy beaches, cliffs, and clear waters. Mount Gouraya, at 660 meters, dominates the park. The flora and fauna are varied, with the presence of the Berber macaque and the golden jackal living in the isolated forests. The park was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2004.

Located on the eastern coast of Kabylia, in the wilaya of Béjaia, Gouraya National Park has endemic plant diversity, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as a notable regional history. Occupying the entire commune of Béjaia, it covers an area of 2,080 hectares, with a marine area of 7,842 hectares and a lake, Lake Mézaia, with an area of 3 hectares. The park has a rich archaeological heritage, including 15 historical sites and 9 scenic sites.

A monkey in Gouraya National Park

The biodiversity of the park consists of 1709 species, of which 533 are flora and 1156 are fauna, including 67 protected species, including 20 invertebrates, 1 reptile, 10 mammals, 3 plants and 33 birds.

The marine area has 173 species of zooplankton, 164 zoobenthic species, 211 species of fish, 5 species of mammals, 55 species of phytoplankton and 72 phytobenthic species, 8 of which are considered “remarkable” according to the Red Book.

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Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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