Located in the northeast stretch of Namibia, is the incomparable Caprivi Game Park. Recently referred to as the Bwabwata National Park, the area is predominantly a fascinating network of rivers, wetlands and densely wooded mopane and Kalahari forests. Covering an impressive 6,274 square kilometres of swampy landscape bordered by rivers, Caprivi is one of Namibia’s scenic areas. A series of bubbling rapids called Popa Falls on the Okavango River is a popular highlight of visiting the park.
Sandwiched in between Zambia and Botswana, in the fingerlike protrusion of the captivating Caprivi Strip, the Caprivi Game Park is a perfect destination for a unique safari experience. Caprivi offers a similar game viewing experience to the famous Etosha National Park, but it also has species that don’t occur within Nambia’s interior, namely Nile crocodiles and hippos.
Game drives, boat cruises and fishing expeditions are the major drawcards of the area, but its claim to fame is that the protectorate has been declared a Lion Conservation Unit. Predator viewing is at an all-time high in this area, and the big five thrive in this region. The gateway airport to the Caprivi Strip is the Katima Mulilo Airport, easily accessible from Windhoek’s Eros Airport. The gateway safari airport is easily accessible from the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls.
Local tour operators offer motorised boat trips, game drives and guided walks into the park. The year-round lush vegetation is ideal for photography, even if wildlife sightings are low.
There are three community-operated campsites within the heart of the park, all fully-equipped for campers. Most mid-range and luxury accommodation options line the banks of the river.
This wildlife-rich region is a trans-boundary link for animals moving throughout Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. The park is a haven for the big five, in particular lion and leopard. Other notorious predators include spotted hyena, African wild dog and cheetah.
Elephants, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, tsessebe, wildebeest, sitatunga, zebra, red lechwe, roan, sable and hippo, are just a few of the other species to spot while on safari. The woodland forests carpeted with Zambezi teak, Kalahari mopane and wild seringa provide a perfect sanctuary for game and food source for herbivores.
There are over 340 species of bird in the region, and notable species such as Dickinson’s kestrel, wattled crane, white-backed night heron, barred owlet, Bennett’s woodpecker, Rufous-bellied heron and woodpeckers are well-supported. Of course, the revered Pel’s fishing-owl has also made its presence known. Wildlife can be transient, which means there are definite times of year to visit.
From December to March is the rainy season, which means wildlife is dispersed. This is the summer period, and although game viewing is not at its best, the birding is fantastic during this period. The best time to visit is between May to October, which is the dry winter season. Wildlife tends to congregate around waterholes and at riverbanks during the dry season.
The main activities in the park focus on game viewing and birdwatching. Because the area is within the Zambezi basin, the most popular safaris take place on the waterways. Visits to the rumbling rapids of the Popa Falls are encouraged, and so is a cultural experience in the local village.
Local tour operators offer motorised boat trips, game drives and guided walks into the park. The year-round lush vegetation is ideal for photography, even if wildlife sightings are low. It is quite possible to self-drive through the park on the well-mapped out roads, but a 4WD is needed to navigate the area.
There are three community-operated campsites within the heart of the park, all fully-equipped for campers. Most mid-range and luxury accommodation options line the banks of the river, offering unsurpassed views of the waterways. Thatched lodges and canvas-tented accommodation sit under a canopy of trees in the area, giving rise to exceptional hideaways in incredible locations.