Photo Credit: Paul Souders
The Caprivi Strip: Namibia's Beautiful Ecotourism Paradise
Namibia is one of the most fascinating and diverse countries. Known for having the highest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei and for Etosha National Park— one of the world’s greatest conservation areas— the southern African country is on the bucket list of many travelers. But, once you are there, you should include the Caprivi Strip in your itinerary.
In fact, the Caprivi Strip presents a stark contrast to the rest of Namibia. This tropical strip of land is both fringed and crossed by wide rivers, including the Zambezi, Kavango (Okavango), Chobe and Linyanti. With an abundance of water and surrounded by a huge green vegetation, this region— located in the country’s northwest region— offers over 280 miles of landscape similar to neighboring Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Also known as the Zambezi, the Caprivi Strip region was disputed within the country’s civil war (1994-1999). Today, it is a destination for those looking for intense contact with nature and also a rich fauna. There you will see wild elephants, crocodiles, buffaloes and hippos that use the area as a passage to other regions of Southern Africa.
To visit the Caprivi Strip is not complicated. Several tour companies offer excursions into the region; while self-drive itineraries are perfect for the more adventurous. There’s only one main road that passes through the length of the strip from Rundu to Katima Mulilo— the B8.
For those who choose an overland trip through Southern Africa, the Caprivi has three international border posts: Wenela Border Control (near Katima Mulilo, entry into Zambia) Mohembo Border Control (near Divundu, entry into Botswana) Ngoma Bridge Border Control (near Ngoma, entry into Botswana).
A tour of the region is perfect for those who are on their way to Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. During the journey to Victoria Falls, by land or water, you can visit Namibian national parks and reserves, including Bwabwata National Park (where Mahango Game Park is located), Mudumu National Park, Nkasa Rupara National Park (formerly Mamili National Park) and Popa Falls Reserve.
Mahango Game Park is located near the Okavango River, which runs from Botswana through a narrow strip of water into Namibian territory. There, you can see all the great animals in the region, including buffaloes, hippos, elephants and crocodiles, as well as a wide variety of birds.
Next to the park, a large reserve area also stands out: Popa Falls Reserve. The reserve is a good starting point for exploring the region and also for accommodations, as there are no options for lodges and campsites in Mahango. Both regions are accessible by regular car and the lodges and campsites offer game drives and river safaris. It is the easiest and most affordable way for anyone wanting to visit the Caprivi Strip.