Geoparks Africa
World Heritage Sites

Kenya and Tanzania are missing from latest list as UNESCO announces new Geoparks in twelve countries

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has just announced a total of 18 new Geopark sites around the globe, which China getting a lion share of them.

But none of the latest geological sites are located in Africa. 

The aspiring new sites on the continent that have not yet been endorsed but remain on waiting list include the Arusha-Meru in Tanzania and Baringo of Kenya.

Now, during the 219th Meeting held in Paris, France, the UNESCO Executive Board endorsed the addition of 18 Geopark sites.

These were listed in the official press release of 27 March 2024. African sites were however missing on the lineup.

All the same, the new sites now bring the total number of global Geoparks to 213 and these are found in 48 countries.

Ranging from dinosaur fossils in Brazil to the soaring monasteries of Meteora, each of the new 18 geological sites presents a particular region’s natural, cultural and intangible heritage.

The newly designated UNESCO Global Geoparks are found in France, China, Brazil, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Hungary, Greece, Polanda, Spain and Portugal among other places.

Belgium and the Kingdom of the Netherlands

1. Schelde Delta UNESCO Global Geopark

Schelde Delta UNESCO Global Geopark holds a unique geological position between the sinking North Sea Basin and the rising Brabant Massif.

Brazil

2. Uberaba UNESCO Global Geopark

Located within South America’s second largest biome, in southeast Brazil, lies the Uberaba UNESCO Global Geopark.

China

3. Enshi Grand Canyon-Tenglongdong Cave UNESCO Global Geopark

Enshi Grand Canyon-Tenglongdong Cave UNESCO Global Geopark lies southwest of Hubei Province. The geopark is home to world-famous erosion and dissolution landscapes and the rich cultural heritage of the Tujia, Miao, and Dong ethnic minority groups.

4. Linxia UNESCO Global Geopark

Linxia UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the Gansu Province. It features a landscape characterized by mid-high mountains, hills, and basins. The area played a significant role in China’s early historical and cultural development.

5. Longyan UNESCO Global Geopark

Longyan UNESCO Global Geopark offers a geological record of tectonic evolution in southeast China covering a period of approximately 300 million years.

6. Mount Changbaishan UNESCO Global Geopark

Located in the southeast Jilin Province, Mount Changbaishan UNESCO Global Geopark is like an open-air classroom for volcanism, with dramatic landforms and diverse rock types that document significant multiphase eruptions.

7. Wugongshan UNESCO Global Geopark

Wugongshan UNESCO Global Geopark is located at the junction of three cities, Pingxiang, Yichun, and Ji’an, in the west of Jiangxi Province.

8. Xingyi UNESCO Global Geopark

Located in Guizhou Province, Xingyi UNESCO Global Geopark is a geological treasure trove with imposing natural scenery, such as the Malinghe River Gorge, bursting with over 100 cascading waterfalls during periods of heavy rain.

Croatia

9. Biokovo-Imotski Lakes UNESCO Global Geopark

The Biokovo-Imotski Lakes UNESCO Global Geopark is situated in central Dalmatia. It sits at a unique intersection of Mediterranean and Central European landscapes and cultures.

Denmark

10. The South Fyn Archipelago UNESCO Global Geopark

The South Fyn Archipelago UNESCO Global Geopark in the central and southern parts of the country encompasses both terrestrial and marine zones that transcribe approximately 800,000 years of geological history.

Finland

11. Impact Crater Lake – Lappajärvi UNESCO Global Geopark

Impact Crater Lake – Lappajärvi UNESCO Global Geopark is located in South Ostrobothnia, which is west of the country.

France

12. Armorique UNESCO Global Geopark

From the vertical cliffs of the Crozon Peninsula to the Arrée Mountains, the Armorique UNESCO Global Geopark offers a journey through more than 500 million years of geological history.

13. Normandie-Maine UNESCO Global Geopark

Normandie-Maine UNESCO Global Geopark lies within a peaceful pastoral region that is rich in hamlets, villages and meadows and reaches into the departments of both Normandy and the Pays de la Loire.

Greece

14. Meteora Pyli UNESCO Global Geopark

Nestled within the picturesque Thessaly region at the centre of mainland Greece, the Meteora Pyli UNESCO Global Geopark is famed for the towering Meteora sandstone columns that reach heights of up to 300 metres.

Hungary

15. Bükk Region UNESCO Global Geopark

The Bükk Region UNESCO Global Geopark in northern Hungary lies in one of the country’s most complex geological environments. It comprises a near-continuous sedimentary sequence spanning more than 300 million years, punctuated by periods of volcanic activity.

Poland

16. Land of Extinct Volcanoes UNESCO Global Geopark

Situated in the scenic southwest, the Land of Extinct Volcanoes UNESCO Global Geopark encompasses the Kaczawskie Mountains and surrounding foothills.

Portugal

17. Oeste UNESCO Global Geopark

The Oeste UNESCO Global Geopark, located along Portugal’s central west coast, encompasses over 72 kilometres of Atlantic coastline, with more than 15 kilometres of sandy beaches.

Spain

18. Calatrava Volcanoes. Ciudad Real UNESCO Global Geopark

Calatrava Volcanoes. Ciudad Real UNESCO Global Geopark is situated southwest of the autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain.

Geoparks in Africa

So far, the continent remains with the only two Geopark Sites, the M’Goun of Morocco and Ngorongoro-Lengai in Northern Tanzania.