African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. We currently manage ten parks in seven countries: Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia – covering an expansive six million hectares.

Founded in 2000 in response to the dramatic decline of protected areas due to poor management and lack of funding, African Parks utilizes a clear, business approach to conserving Africa’s wildlife and remaining wild areas. While securing vast landscapes and carrying out all activities needed to protect the parks and their wildlife, we maintain a strong focus on economic development and poverty alleviation of surrounding communities in order to ensure our ultimate goal: that each park is ecologically, socially, and financially sustainable for the long term. 


By 2020, our goal is to manage 20 parks and protect more than 10 million hectares. Because of the geographic spread and representation of different ecosystems, this will be the most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks under one management across Africa. 


Watch a short film about Our Story here.

Elephants drinking at Zakouma National Park
Elephants drinking at Zakouma National Park © Michael Viljoen
© Dale Morris

We are facing a conservation crisis in Africa in which national parks and protected areas are being lost. 


Although there are more than 1,200 designated Protected Areas in Africa, many are just ‘paper parks’ and given current trends, it is unlikely that more than 60 parks larger than 100,000 hectares each will remain intact in the next 20 years. This is why the time is now to secure these critically threatened areas under the unique model of African Parks, to ensure that Africa’s wildlife and wild landscapes can survive long into the future. 


Akagera National Park, Rwanda
Akagera National Park, Rwanda © Horst Klemm

Africa’s wildlife and wild areas are under threat largely due to three main reasons: habitat loss and fragmentation due to the growing needs of the increasing human population; the illegal wildlife trade, a multi-billion dollar a year industry, driving the harrowing decline of elephants, rhinos and other species which is increasingly being carried out by well organised and heavily outfitted crime syndicates and even terrorist groups; and human-wildlife conflict which escalates as natural habitats are converted for development or agriculture. 

The degradation of these landscapes means that the ecosystem services on which humans depend are being lost forever. Competing forms of land use for an expanding human population, compounded by climate change, means that wildlife and their natural habitats are under serious threat and depend on well protected landscapes in order to survive.   


Mandate to Manage: 100% Accountability .


African Parks is unique in that we are the only non-governmental organisation in Africa, and possibly the world, that takes on direct responsibility for the management of these critical ecosystems. This is achieved through entering into long-term agreements, usually for 20 years, with governments to manage and finance their national parks. By management, we mean taking on the direct day-to-day responsibility for the entire area including all the activities required to preserve and sustain the park. 


Key species are reintroduced to the parks and closely monitored. © Jean Labuschagne

What Makes African Parks Unique?


  • We have long-term contractual mandates to manage national parks for 20 years or more.
  • Our role is not to advise or provide technical support, but to take direct responsibility for parks placed under our supervision.
  • We become responsible for all the law enforcement staff, making sure they are properly equipped and trained.
  • We reintroduce species that have become locally extinct and put in place ecological monitoring programmes.
  • We establish infrastructure such as roads and bridges, as well as workshops, headquarters and housing.



  • We become responsible for implementing community programmes to ensure that local people benefit from the existence of a national park and understand its value.
  • Our approach is based on tried and tested business principles.
  • We aim to achieve ecological sustainability, socio-economic acceptability and financial viability.
  • Where conditions allow, we stimulate the development of tourism enterprises as a means of increasing the economic and social impact that parks can have.
  • Thanks to our endowment, our administrative and overhead expenses are covered, so 100 percent of the funds received from financial partners are allocated to projects on the ground. 



African Parks maintains razor-sharp focus on our very clear mandate: the direct responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of protected areas. In a relatively short period of time, we have established proof of concept and have maintained a solid, and growing track record. We have:

  • Mandates signed for 10 protected areas in 7 countries covering 6 million hectares
  • The most amount of area under management by one conservation organisation in all of Africa
  • Largest counter-poaching force in Africa
  • An MOU committing us to the development of Ennedi in Chad
  • Nine additional parks under consideration
  • 1,400 employees in the field of which almost 600 are rangers, with only 16 in the Head Office
  • Reintroduced lions back to Rwanda in 2015, a species that had been extirpated from the country after the genocide
  • Stopped the decimation of Zakouma’s elephant population in Chad, a park that once had more than 4,000 elephants of which 90% were poached between 2002 and 2010.  Under African Parks management since 2010, of the remaining 450 elephants, only several have been lost, and there were zero poaching incidents between 2012-2015. The elephant population has stabilized and on the rise, and calves are being born again
  • Restored Majete Nature Reserve in Malawi in just ten years making it the country’s premiere wildlife sanctuary
Garamba National Park
Garamba National Park © Nuria Ortega

African Parks’ objective is to become the leading player in protected area management on the African continent by being the benchmark of management excellence and park sustainability. By 2020, African Parks aims to have responsibility for a portfolio of 20 parks covering an area of 10 million hectares. Because of the geographic spread and representation of different ecosystems, this will be one of the most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks in the world.




Our conservation progress would not be possible without the funding support we receive from Governments, multi-lateral institutions, conservation organisations, family foundations and individuals. We would like to thank our strategic partners for enabling us to make substantial and a long-term impact on wildlife conservation in Africa.

These donations have been critical in helping us accomplish our track record to date, through the implementation of effective management plans and conservation strategies year after year. This allows us to plan for the future, and to make a real impact. 

Strategic Partners

These funders constitute our core funding partners at either an institutional or a park level. They commit to African Parks on a multi-year basis and are contributing an annual amount of US$500,000 or more to African Parks.


The late Paul Fentener van Vlissingen provided the bulk of the initial funding that established African Parks in 2003. In 2010 Alicia and Tannetta Fentener van Vlissingen committed a further €25 million to the African Parks Endowment Fund in accordance with their father’s final wishes. Income from this fund is earmarked for African Parks’ overhead costs, allowing new donor contributions to be allocated directly to the parks. 


The European Union is an economic and political partnership between 28 European countries. The EU has been our strategic funding partner since 2009 and has provided over EUR 18m in funding since. The institution currently provides the majority of funding for Garamba, Zakouma and Odzala. 


The Dutch Postcode Lottery is a Netherlands charitable lottery that supports 95 charity organisations worldwide and has given a total of given €4.7 billion to charities in total. Since 2010, the Dutch Postcode Lottery has been a major funder of African Parks. Most of the funding has been unrestricted allowing African Parks to allocate it where it is needed most. To date African Parks received €8.6 million from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, including an Extra Award of €2.6 million for the restoration of Liwonde and Nkhotakota at the 2016 Goed Geld Gala. 


The mission of WWF (the World Wide Fund for Nature) is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. In 2007, WWF -The Netherlands entered into a 10 year partnership with African Parks to develop the African Parks management model across Africa. 


Adessium Foundation is a private and independent grant making foundation, based in the Netherlands. Adessium Foundation aspires to a society that encourages people to live in harmony with each other and with their environments. The Foundation works to achieve a balanced society characterized by integrity, a balance between people and nature, and social harmony. Adessium has played a noteworthy role in funding new project development, special projects and unanticipated events across the African Parks portfolio.


The Walton Family Foundation (WFF) is a philanthropic organisation with a strong focus on conservation and biodiversity protection. Samuel Robson "Rob” Walton, son of WFF founders Sam and Helen Walton, is a keen supporter of African Parks and was one of the founding donors.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a government agency whose mission is to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. Grants were awarded to African Parks and have been applied to anti-poaching activities in Zakouma and Garamba National Parks, monitoring programs in Odzala–Kokoua National Park and Sustainable Nature Management of the Chinko Project.

The Wildcat Foundation

The Wildcat Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation whose purpose is to help save and provide for the long-term conservation of endangered wildlife and wild places in Africa. It believes traditional wildlife protection paradigms are inadequate to deal with today’s poaching and trafficking problems, and it seeks and supports innovative new approaches.