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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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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