W National Park

Together, W and Pendjari National Parks form a significant portion of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a globally significant transboundary landscape representing the largest intact wild ecosystem in West Africa.

Together with Pendjari National Park, W National Park (WNP) forms a significant portion of the W-Arly-Pendjari (WAP) Complex, a globally significant 26,361 km² transboundary protected area, representing West Africa’s largest intact wild ecosystem. Named after the shape of the Niger River in its northernmost section bordering the Niger portion of the protected area, W National Park is an anchoring component of the WAP Complex. Pendjari and W national parks are connected to a network of protected areas that straddle Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger.

While declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this remote region has suffered from a historical lack of management and financial resources. In turn increasing human population and rising militant extremism in the region placed natural resources under pressure. Acknowledging progress made by African Parks in Pendjari National Park, the Benin Government made a significant, long-term commitment in securing W National Park in partnership with African Parks to ensure the protection of biodiversity and the sustainability of the ecosystem for the benefit of the country’s people and wildlife. In June 2020, the Benin portion of the park, spanning almost 7,000 km2, officially came under African Parks’ management.

The WAP Complex conserves a landscape of savannah, gallery forest and undulating plateau with thorny scrub in the north, and is drained by two large river systems, the Mékrou and Alibori, which form part of the Niger River basin. The area is refuge to the only viable populations of West African lion, cheetah and korrigum antelope remaining in West Africa, in addition to many other species.

W Highlights

  • The WAP Complex is the largest protected and intact ecosystem in West Africa with a high diversity of fauna and flora.
  • Ranger teams in W work to support local communities and protect wildlife as they help to create stability in and around the park
  • Several species are represented in the Complex as the last viable populations, including north-west African cheetah, West African lion subpopulation, and korrigum.
  • Sustainable livelihood generation now includes beekeeping, shea harvesting and fishing.


In June 2020, African Parks signed an initial 10-year management agreement with the Republic of Benin to manage W National Park, the second park in the country to enter the portfolio after Pendjari National Park which forms part of the same transfrontier park, W-Arly-Pendjari Complex.

View Partners