Iona-Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Park

In the far north-western corner of Namibia, the Skeleton Coast Park and Angola’s Iona National Park (Parque Nacional do Iona) meet at the Kunene River. The Namibian and Angolan governments have agreed to work together to develop a transfrontier park.


Iona, Angola’s oldest and largest national park, covers 15 150 km² and is known for its harsh desert scenery and spectacular mountains. The Namib Desert extends northwards into Iona and similar species to those found in Namibia’s Skeleton Coast Park and surrounding areas are found in Iona. These include the Welwitschia mirabilis plant and the black-faced impala. However, Iona has suffered from illegal poaching and the destruction of infrastructure, and the government needs to restore control and order over the park.


Increased co-operation between Namibia and Angola in developing the Iona-Skeleton Coast Transfrontier Park could lead to the establishment of a much larger TFCA that spans three countries along the Namib coast. Known as the Three Nations Namib Desert Transfrontier Conservation Area (TNND TFCA), this would include the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld TFCA to the south, the proposed Namib-Skeleton Coast National Park (NSNP) in Namibia and Iona in Angola. The NSNP would consist of the current Sperrgebiet National Park, the Namib-Naukluft Park, the proposed Walvis Bay/Swakopmund conservation area, the National West Coast Recreation Area upgraded to national park status, and the Skeleton Coast Park.


The NSNP would be the eighth-largest protected area in the world, and the sixth-largest terrestrial protected area and largest park in Africa, covering an area of 10.754 million hectares, or 107 540 km². Further, a new Marine Protected Area borders the proposed NSNP, and several private game reserves and communal area conservancies, which would add another 14 million hectares of land and sea managed for some form of conservation.