Hoge Kempen National Park – A Journey Into Tranquility

hoge kempen national park

A visit to Hoge Kempen National Park is a great way to immerse yourself in Belgium’s pristine nature.

From tranquil walks along serene lakeshores to thrilling bike rides through dense forests – this national park truly has something for every nature lover seeking solace away from bustling city life.

Tourism in Hoge Kempen National Park

Hoge Kempen National Park is a popular destination for tourists seeking to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy outdoor activities. With its vast expanse of heathland, woodlands, and lakes, the park offers a wide range of recreational opportunities for visitors.


Hiking enthusiasts can explore the numerous trails that wind through the park, providing breathtaking views of the diverse landscape. The well-maintained trails cater to all levels of fitness and offer an opportunity to discover hidden gems within the park.


For those interested in wildlife observation, Hoge Kempen National Park is home to a rich variety of animal species. Visitors may encounter iconic animals such as

  • deer
  • boars
  • foxes

One of the notable animals found in the Hoge Kempen National Park is the European wildcat (Felis silvestris). This elusive feline prefers dense forests and woodlands, where it hunts small mammals such as rabbits and mice. Although rarely seen due to its nocturnal habits, signs of its presence can be observed through tracks or scat left behind.

Another fascinating inhabitant of the national park is the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus). These graceful herbivores are commonly spotted grazing in open areas or browsing on shrubs and tree foliage. With their reddish-brown coat and prominent white rump patch, they blend seamlessly into their surroundings. Visitors may catch glimpses of them during early mornings or late evenings when they venture out to feed.

Birdwatchers will also find joy in exploring the avian diversity within Hoge Kempen National Park. Species like the Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) can be spotted perched high up on trees or rock formations, while smaller birds like blackcaps (Sylvia Atricapilla) flit about among bushes and thickets. Their melodious songs fill the air during the breeding season, adding an enchanting soundtrack to any visit to this natural treasure trove.


Hoge Kempen National Park provides excellent facilities for cycling enthusiasts. With over 200 kilometers (124 miles) of dedicated cycling paths crisscrossing through forests and heathlands, cyclists can indulge in scenic rides while enjoying fresh air and stunning natural surroundings. Whether it’s a leisurely family ride or an adrenaline-pumping mountain biking adventure, there are options available for everyone.

Geography of Hoge Kempen National Park

The Hoge Kempen National Park is located in the northeastern part of Belgium, spanning across the provinces of Limburg and Liège. It covers an area of approximately 57 square kilometers and is characterized by its diverse landscape. The park consists mainly of heathland, forests, and water bodies such as lakes and ponds.

One notable feature of the Hoge Kempen National Park is its extensive heathland, which accounts for more than half of its total area. These heathlands are home to a variety of plant species, including heather, gorse, and bilberry. They provide a unique habitat for several rare animal species like European nightjars and smooth snakes.

In addition to the heathlands, the park also encompasses dense forests that are predominantly composed of oak and pine trees.

History of Hoge Kempen National Park

The history of Hoge Kempen National Park can be traced back to the early 20th century when it was primarily used for coal mining. The region surrounding the park was rich in coal deposits, and extensive mining operations took place from the late 1800s until the mid-1980s. This industrial activity had a significant impact on the landscape, resulting in large-scale deforestation and habitat destruction.

However, following the closure of the mines, efforts were made to restore and conserve this precious natural area. In 2006, Hoge Kempen National Park was officially established as Belgium’s first national park. Covering an area of over 12,000 hectares, it is now home to diverse ecosystems including heathlands, forests, and water bodies.

Since its establishment as a national park, various conservation initiatives have been implemented to protect and preserve its unique biodiversity. These include reforestation programs aimed at restoring native tree species such as oak and birch. Additionally, measures have been taken to reintroduce animal species that were once abundant in the area but became locally extinct due to human activities.

Amidst ongoing challenges such as climate change and increasing visitor numbers, Hoge Kempen National Park continues to play a crucial role in preserving Belgium’s natural heritage. Through sustainable tourism practices and ongoing conservation efforts supported by local communities and stakeholders alike, this remarkable park stands as a testament to nature’s resilience and our collective responsibility towards its protection.

What animals are in the Hoge Kempen National Park?

The Hoge Kempen National Park is home to a diverse range of animal species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. The park’s varied habitats provide shelter and food sources for numerous creatures, ensuring their survival in this protected area.

With such a rich assortment of animals calling Hoge Kempen National Park their home, visitors have ample opportunities for wildlife encounters throughout their exploration. From rare wildcats to elegant deer and captivating birdlife, these creatures contribute to the ecological tapestry that makes this national park so special.

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