Caprivi – Including Mudumu, Nkasa Rupara & Bwabwata National Parks
Caprivi is a region of Namibia located in the extreme north-east of the country bordering Botswana, Angola, Zambia and even touching on the tip of Zimbabwe at a point where four countries meet. It is a 450 km strip of land from west to east and varies between 30 and 100 kms wide. Caprivi is very different to the rest of Namibia, a region bisected by the Kwando River and bounded by the large rivers of Kavango, Zambezi and the Kwando / Linyanti / Chobe system. The wetlands and floodplains along the southern border of Caprivi are a paradise to behold and an area frequented by all big African mammal species. Huge conservation initiatives have resulted in renewed wildlife activity in this area.
Several lodges and luxury safari houseboats on the Chobe River opposite Chobe National Park offer excellent facilities and activities such as boat cruises, game viewing and cultural excursions.
Mudumu National Park
Mudumu National Park is located 30 kms south of the village of Kongola in the middle of the Caprivi Region. It is 1,000 sq. kms in size and comprises tranquil lagoons, narrow flowing channels and stupendous riverine forests, sharing its western border with the Kwando River. The remainder of the park is an impressive expanse of dense savanna and mopane woodland, home to small populations of sitatunga and red lechwe, while spotted neck otter, hippo and Nile crocodile inhabit the waterways. Mudumu is a place of predators, lion roam, leopard and hyena hunt at night and packs of African wild dogs are now raising litters in the park. You will also see elephant, buffalo, roan, sable, kudu, impala, oribi and zebra as you drive through thick mopane forest and over wide floodplains, past swamps of papyrus and temporary lakes, inundated with wildlife and waterfowl. There are well over 430 species of bird recorded, including cranes, storks, ibis and jacana, a fascinating sight to behold, as they race across lily beds on broad webbed feet.
The Park is undeveloped but several lodges on the periphery offer accommodation and wildlife activities . The roads are difficult to negotiate, especially in the rainy season but with increasingly more game being attracted back to this area, gameviewing can be very rewarding.
Nkasa Rupara National Park
Nkasa Rupara National Park (formerly Mamili National Park) is 320 sq. kms in size and is located south of Mudumu National Park. Its southern border is the Kwando River which also marks the southern border of the Caprivi Strip. The terrain is largely swampland and floodplains and resembles the Okavango Delta. It is the largest wetland area with conservation status in Namibia and protects the flora and fauna living within a complex channel of reed beds, lakes and islands that make up the Linyanti swamps. Spectacular herds of elephant, buffalo, red lechwe and reedbuck are among the highlights of any game-viewing experience. The waters are also home to 5m long crocodiles and families of hippo which venture onto the floodplains at night to feed. During the rainy season, areas of the park can become flooded and inaccessible, and yet it remains a sanctuary for birds. With more species of birds recorded here than anywhere else in Namibia, the Park is a bird-watcher’s paradise.
It is an extraordinary piece of wilderness, waiting to be explored. Lush marshes, dense savanna and high river reeds mean that travelling through the area is a dream for 4×4 enthusiasts. During the dry winter months, large herds of elephant congregate on Nkasa and Lupala islands. But for much of the year, the park is awash with floodwater. Game drives go through the edge of deep pools and close to rivers where crocodiles lie in wait. Nearby buffalo or elephant may be crossing the river.
Visitors should be aware that they must be completely self-sufficient in terms of water, food and fuel. There are no facilities or accommodation but it is a beautiful area and gameviewing can be rewarding, especially in the dry season.
Bwabwata National Park
Bwabwata was created from the Caprivi Game Park and Mahango Game Reserve and is 6,100 sq. kms in size, located between the Kavango and Kwando River section of Caprivi. It is a “people’s park”, combining wildlife and community conservation and opens old migration routes of large mammals between Botswana and Angola. These conservation intiatives will allow an increase in wildlife in the area under the custodianship of local communities and benefit tourism greatly.
Caprivi is a growing tourist area that will offer diverse and exciting wildlife experiences to complement those of Etosha National Park and the desert adapted wildlife of Kaokoland and Damaraland.