Hingol National Park is the largest national park in Pakistan, located in the Makran coastal region. It stretches along the Makran coast in southwestern Balochistan and is shared by three districts i.e Gwadar, Lasbela and Awaran.
The park covers an area of about 6,100 square kilometres and contains a variety of topographic features. It is one of the largest national parks in Pakistan and was established in 1988. It is located 190 km from Karachi.
Hingol National Park contains six distinct ecosystems as well as both desert and plains regions, making it especially unique among the Pakistan's national parks. Unique rock formations draw tourists from all over the country, especially since the completion of the Makran Coastal Highway in 2004.
The park is bordered by a dense forest to the north, a barren mountain range to the south, and the Hingol River tributary, which is home to thousands of migratory birds and swamp crocodiles. The Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea are also to the south.Unique rock formations draw tourists from all over the country, especially since the completion of the Makran Coastal Highway in 2004.
Hingol National Park is a natural sanctuary for endangered wildlife in Pakistan. It is home to about 257 plant and 289 animal species, including 35 mammals, aquatic animals, amphibians, reptiles and migratory birds, including hundreds of rare species. Marsh crocodiles are regularly spotted on the coastline adjacent to Hingol National Park, and there are an estimated 60 crocodiles in various places.
The Hingol Bay is home to a large number of other aquatic life including Indo-Pacific dolphins and green & olive turtles, and various rare species of fish and turtles live in the coastal areas adjacent to Hingol National Park. These turtles come to the beach every night in August to lay their eggs at night. Increasing plastic pollution on the shores made it difficult for them to dig, so the female turtles left without laying eggs. Since then, the number of these turtles on the shores of Sindh and Balochistan has dropped significantly.
One of the hallmarks of Hingol National Park is a rock called the Princess of Hope. Seen from afar, it looks like a statue of a tall woman looking for something in the distant horizon. When the famous Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie came to Pakistan on a UN goodwill mission in 2004, this rock became the center of her attention and she named her 'Princess of Hope' or Princess of Hope. It is said that it was not created by man but by ocean winds and erosion.
The Balochistan Sphinx, also known as the "Lion of Balochistan" or Abul-Hol, is a natural rock structure that bears resemblance to a sphinx and is visible from the Buzi Pass section of the Makran Coastal Highway.
Mud volcanoes ranging in height from 800 to 1500 feet are abundant in Hingol National Park, mostly in the Mid-Hor area. According to Muhammad Hanif Bhatti, a well-known traveler from Karachi, when he first saw the Chandra Gupta mudflat in Hingol National Park in 2010 he was amazed by the beauty and uniqueness of this natural process. At the time, the volcano was difficult to reach, but since the completion of the highway visitors to the mud volcanoes have increased significantly.
Hinglaj Mata mandir, or Nani Mandir, is one of the most important Hindu shrines in Pakistan and the site of a pilgrimage that brings over 250,000 people to its location at the center Hingol National Park every spring.
The Kali Mata temple in a cave in the Hanglaj Valley is said to be 200,000 years old. The annual festival is attended by 20,000 to 30,000 people and is organized by a committee of leading Hindus from Sindh and Balochistan. There are only four passenger compartments, so most pilgrims stay in tents, while many have to stay under trees or in the hot sun. Apart from accommodation, the most difficult for the pilgrims who come here is to climb the Chandra Gup Mt. Muslim tourists are allowed to enter the temple only after undergoing a rigorous identification process.
The beach adjacent to Kand Malir on the last corner of Hingol National Park, also known as 'Virgin Beach', was added to the list of Asia's 50 Most Beautiful Beaches in 2018. The deserts, high mountains and volcanoes along this golden coast add to the tourist attraction, but unlike other beaches in Pakistan, much of the tourist activity has not yet begun here.
Traveling along the Makran Coastal Highway, one can easily reach Sapat Beach in Boji Koh, another enchanting beach in Balochistan. The Hingol National Park Management Team consists of more than 20 members, including the Wildlife Pakistan, the Provincial Department of Livestock, Environment and Tourism. But with the Balochistan provincial government managing the park, many areas still need reform.