The Waza Biosphere Reserve is located in the Chad depression in the extreme north of Cameroon. The area is characterized by low relief without any permanent rivers, with rocky outcrops around Waza village rising to over 500 metres. Lake Chad once covered part of the area, while today the Yaéré floodplains with perennial grasses are vital to the carrying capacity of the Waza region.
The fauna is rich and varied with large numbers of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), elephant (Loxodonta africana), aardvark (Orycteropus afer) and warthog (Phacochoerus aethiopicus). Many animals move to the Yaéré plains towards the end of the dry season.
Surface: 71,592.56 ha
- Core area(s): 17,242.37 ha (marine 11,198.55 ha; land 6,043.82 ha)
- Buffer zone(s): 11,769.92 ha (marine 10,323.18 ha; land 1,446.74 ha)
- Transition zone(s): 42,580.27 ha (marine 36,081.76 ha; land 6,498.51 ha)
Location: 1°36’N – 7°23’E
The Waza Biosphere Reserve is located in the Chad depression in the extreme north of Cameroon. The region is limited to the south by the Yagoua-Limani dunes, representing the ancient limit of Lake Chad. It has a semi-arid climate characterized by three seasons: a rainy season from the months of June to October, a cold dry season from November to February, and a warm dry season lasting from March to June.
The vegetation comprises open combretaceous shrub savanna, Anogeissus leiocarpus woodland on sandy soil, Lannea humilis open grass savanna and Acacia seyal tree savanna on black clay soils which are saturated with water in the rainy season. The latter vegetation type is slowly spreading as the area gradually dries out. The Yaéré floodplains with perennial grasses are vital to the carrying capacity of the Waza region.
The fauna in the reserve is very rich and diverse and includes animals such as elephant (Loxodonta Africana), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and leopard (Panthera pardus), and more than 300 bird species, including the Nubian bustard (Neotis nuba), great white pelican (Pelicanus onocrotalus) and marabou (Leptoptilos crumenifer). Several threatened or endangered species are also to be found in the reserve, including the Korrigum (Damaliscus korrigum korrigum), pale fox (Vulpes pallida) and the last population of Kordofan giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum).
The reserve also contains the Ramsar Site Waza Logone Floodplains.
The buffer zone is home to 19 small villages with approximately 4,000 inhabitants of different ethnic origin. The main economic activity among the Bornouan is agriculture, while the Kotoko and Mousgoum practise fishery and agriculture. For the Pheul and the Chadian Arabs, animal husbandry is the main economic activity.
The Waza National Park was founded in 1934 and is one of the oldest national parks on the African continent. Today, tourism is playing an increasingly important role in the park.
Last updated: October 2019