November 28

The Caprivi Strip: Is This Namibian Oasis Worth Visiting?


November 28, 2023

The Caprivi Strip in Namibia, renamed the Zambezi Region, although it hasn’t quite caught on yet, is an underrated destination. Its greenery will surprise you, given the rest of the country’s arid landscapes. But why should you visit this part of Namibia, and what can you expect to see and do here? Jump on a virtual tour with us as we show off its star attractions…

The Namushasha River Lodge

The Caprivi Strip is a serene setting, Image Credit: Namushasha River Lodge

Where is the Caprivi Strip Located? 

Namibia is huge – but more importantly, it’s the second least densely populated country in the world. Therefore, it’s the perfect place to slow down and switch off from modern distractions. But there’s a peculiar tongue-shaped region in the country's northeast region that’s especially alluring to the intrepid traveller…

Yes, this is the Caprivi Strip, sharing a border with four countries, namely
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Angola. So, it’s like the very heart of southern Africa’s star safari settings and the gateway to exploring them.

Elephant wonderland

You can call it an elephant wander-land, Image Credit: Namushasha River Lodge

The Caprivi Strip is almost like an oasis amid Namibia's famous desert-like landscapes. A green "belt" (hence, the "Strip" in its name), four renowned rivers also flow through the area, bringing with it lush landscapes and wildlife galore.

The Okavango, Chobe, Kwando and Zambezi Rivers are attractions in their own right, and their meeting place, the Caprivi Strip, is by no means an exception.

Views from the Nambwa Tented Camp

Marvel at the wildlife wandering freely, Image Credit: Nambwa Tented Camp

What is the Caprivi Strip Best Known for?

Your safari is only as good as its location, and as these go, the Caprivi Strip shines. It's very remote, in particular, the Nkasa Rupara National Park, that's only in recent years been made more accessible to travellers. However, this is exactly what makes it so alluring. With wildlife seeing this as pure paradise, as they can roam freely without any human interruptions, it makes safaris sensational.

Game drives in the Caprivi Strip

Game drives take you into the heart of this wild paradise, Image Credit: Namushasha River Lodge

Top Reasons to Visit the Caprivi Strip 

Now that you know a bit more about where the Caprivi Strip is located, here are some reasons you'll want to add it to your bucket list. Or, better yet, start planning your trip right now! There's no time like the present, after all.

Water Holes Everywhere 

With so many places where wildlife can quench their thirst, you can rest assured you'll find little pockets of safari scenes. In particular, you'll see hippos, crocodiles, elephants, lions, large herds of various antelope, and perhaps even the endangered African wild dog.  

Caprivi Strip elephants

Elephant gathering place and playground

Flourishing Flora and Fauna 

The Caprivi Strip naturally blossoms as a special flora and fauna region, a weaving world of wetlands, lush forests, papyrus trees, woodlands, tropical palms, and wide rivers. It's most spectacular because it stands in stark contrast to the rest of Namibia's desertscapes.

Lush forests in Caprivi Strip

A unique mix of flora and fauna, Image Credit: Nambwa Tented Lodge

Caprivi Cultures 

But it's not only the wildlife that benefits greatly from the abundance of water here. What makes the Caprivi Strip unique to the sparsely populated Namibia is that there are villages that settled around the rivers, giving you a special cultural feel.

Cultural experience in Africa humbles you, expanding your horizons and looking at life through a different lens. In the Caprivi Strip, life is sheltered from the big city lights, pollution, and daily modern issues. The Caprivi locals still live in harmony with Mother Nature, and the two largest tribes here are the Masubia and Mafwe people. Many of the lodges will offer you cultural experiences to gain insight into their daily lives.

Caprivi tribal dance

Learn more about the local way of life, Image Credit: Namushasha River Lodge

Unique Experiences

Does the idea of sleeping on a houseboat, well, float your boat? How about fishing? Or walking safaris to take in the hush punctuated with wildlife calls? Breakfast and sunset river cruises, bush dining...there's so much to look forward to!

Sunset views from a houseboat in the Caprivi Strip

Sunset from your very own houseboat villa, Image Credit: Namushasha River Villa

Wildlife-Rich Safari Game Reserves

There are five safari destinations in the Caprivi Strip, namely the Mahangu Game Reserve, the Bwabwata National Park (formerly called the Caprivi Game Park), Mudumu National Park, Nkasa Rupara National Park, and Mahango National Park. 

Nkasa Rupara is the country’s largest protected wetland, with the Kwando-Linyanti River system acting as a lifeline to the spectacular species you can spot here, whether growing on its banks, flying high in the sky, or roaming the vast plains. It’s often referred to as the “mini Okavango Delta”, so that should already paint you a picture of its watery, wildlife wonders! 

Another favourite safari destination of ours in the Caprivi Strip is Mahango Game Park, with wildlife like hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and a whole host of antelope dotting its magical forests and wetlands.

Walking safari at Nambwa Tented Camp

A walking safari is an immersive way to explore the Caprivi Strip, Image Credit: Nambwa Tented Camp

Interesting History and Location 

If the Caprivi Strip has an interesting history. The 280-mile panhandle was actually obtained because the Germans had the wrong idea about the Zambezi River...

Germany took over the area from Great Britain in 1890 in order to give Namibia access to the Zambezi River. It was then named the Caprivi Strip after Leo von Caprivi, the German chancellor at the time. However, they wrongly assumed that the Zambezi River would lead them to the Indian Ocean. But, they forgot about a little (or rather, massive) thing called Victoria Falls that made the waters non-navigable.

So, the fight was all for nothing. Or was it? Given how connected this area is and the life-giving waters that meet here, it makes sense then that this should be considered a hot commodity!

Exceptional Birding

Oh, fellow twitchers, you’ll be in feathery heaven here! With about 450 recorded bird species prevalent in the Caprivi Strip, you’ll be swishing your binoculars in all directions to catch a glimpse of as many as possible to tick off your list.

Given the woodlands and wetlands the strip is known for, it attracts various species. For example, the Pel's fishing owl, African skimmer, southern carmine bee-eater and slaty egret, to name just a few.

Muduma National Park in the Caprivi Strip, Namibia

Pretty-as-picture birds are all around in the Caprivi Strip region

Ready to Visit the Caprivi Strip? Let’s Go! 

Even if you’ve never heard of the Caprivi Strip until today, we’re almost certain you’re already feeling a tug at your heart to explore its gems with your own two eyes. Let’s make it happen for you.

All you have to do is reach out to our Travel Experts, and they’ll get to know you a bit better before tailoring your dream African safari! No two Rhino Africa safaris are the same, and you’ll love the attention to your needs, wants and no-nos. Let’s start planning! 

Featured Image Credit: Nambwa Tented Camp

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About the author 

Tania de Kock

Tania has always been an avid reader, which ultimately led to her life-long dream of becoming a best-selling author. She loves travelling, super spicy food, South African wine, and cats! When she's not reading with a glass of wine, you can find her at the nearest beach or camping, running or hiking in the mountains.

    • Hello Jose,

      Thank you for reading our post, Caprivi is such a beautiful Oasis – the expansiveness of Namibia is incredibly breathtaking.

      Hopefully we’ll hear from you when you’re making plans of your visit.

      Best regards

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