Namibia’s Caprivi Strip
There is another side to Namibia which is greener, with wide rivers running through it and giant trees fringing the banks. This is home to about 70% of Namibia’s population and a fruitful land that supports both the people and its diverse bird and wildlife. This itinerary is a self drive one but could just as easily be a fly in or guided tour option. It also lends itself to combining with a visit to the Victoria Falls.
Day 1: Okonjima
Day 2: Rundu
Day 3: Mahango
Day 6: Mudumu/Lianshulu
Day 8: Katimo Mulilo
Day 9: River Cruise
Day 11: Victoria Falls or Windhoek
This itinerary captures some of the iconic but less visited attractions of Northern Namibia. All along the river the giant trees and fast flowing waters attract a host of wildlife and birds. It is also home to 70% on Namibia’s population giving you the chance to meet and learn about the culture of Namibians.
Pick up your vehicle and drive due north to Okonjima, the home of the Africat Foundation and a farm that has now become a leading animal conservation point in Namibia. Join in one of the activities that are on offer here, such as leopard tracking, learning about Africat or a night drive.
1 night Okonjima
A long drive as you head due north until you reach Rundu which on the Kavango River and the border with Angola. Your stay will be overlooking the river and a cruise will bring the first of the crocodiles that you see. Local fishermen will be out with their nets and the different sized kingfishers coursing up and down the waters. Being on the river at sundown is a magical way to end the day.
You are now in a birder’s paradise with about 450 species found here.
1 night at Gondwana Hakusembe River Lodge
Today’s journey is a relatively short one but very different from other drives in Namibia in that you will pass through many villages, well tended fields and see so many more people. Ensure that you have a picnic lunch at the Popa Falls which is more of a cascade than falls but just as interesting. The shade from the big riverside trees will be welcome. Your destination is a lodge based on the river in or close to Mahango Game Park.
Explore this Park both by boat from the lodge or in a vehicle to make the most of your time here. Pods of hippo will be in the river close to the lodge and you could have otters rummaging about outside your room. Explore Bwabwata National Park (formerly Buffalo Park) which is not easy to find but well worth the effort. Good numbers of elephant and buffalo are found here as well as herds of roan and sable antelope. This area was the Special Forces area of the Apartheid regime and you come across deserted buildings and very overgrown cemeteries.
3 nights at Lianshulu Lodge
Cross over the narrow Caprivi Game Park that is sandwiched between Zambia and Botswana watching out for game along the way. Your next stop is at the other end of the Strip in Mudumu National Park which has the Kwando River as its border. Again your stay will be besides the river and with a bigger Park to explore, the chance of seeing plenty of the same kind of game. Mudumu does also have sitatunga antelope living in the marsh areas. Take time to visit Nkasa Lupala National Park which has the feel of the Okavango Delta to it with oxbow lakes, channels, reed beds and islands particularly in the flood season.
2 nights at Camp Kwando
Drive to Katima Mulilo and have a final night in the Caprivi Strip in one of the lodges along the river.
1 night at Caprivi Mutoya Lodge
Drop off your vehicle at the airport and catch a flight to Victoria Falls, You have the option of either the Zambian side of the Falls or the Zimbabwe side. The latter has the biggest and most scenic portion of the Falls although the Devil’s Pool and Livingstone Island are on the Zambian side. The choice is down to what you want to see and do here. For those that like an adrenalin rush then the Zim side offers white water rafting (at certain times of the year), bungee jumping and a host of other such attractions. Both offer wild life experiences and perhaps finish your river odyssey with a night or two on a river boat cruising.
2 nights on the Zambezi Queen or Hotel at Victoria Falls
Quietly following a pair of otters as they forage through the river banks and islands of the river. Hearing them whistling to each other and their excited cries when they find something to eat is fascinating. Then having to give way to a male hippo as we encroached upon his territory and he objected with a charge through the water.
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