A very odd feature in the map outline of Namibia, the 450km Caprivi Strip ‘pan handle’ was added during the colonial era when Germany wanted access to a trade route along the Zambezi River to the Indian Ocean. The Caprivi was originally part of the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (Botswana) and was traded to the Germans by Queen Victoria in exchange for Zanzibar. It now serves as a transport artery between Namibia and the surrounding countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Higher rainfall together with the permanent Zambezi, Kwando, Chobe and Linyanti Rivers which flow through the Caprivi provide a dramatic contrast to the landscapes of the rest of Namibia, with lush vegetation and wetland animals such as hippo and crocodile.
Normally thought of as a more affordable alternative to the safaris on offer in nearby Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park (which we can include in itineraries), the Caprivi offers prolific birding (over 430 species in Namibia’s summer months) and rewarding river-based wildlife viewing. It is the best place in Namibia to find African wild dog and other species not normally found in the rest of Namibia such as buffalo, reedbuck, puku, sitatunga, red lechwe, tsessebe, sable and waterbuck.
Protected areas in the Caprivi include Mahango, Bwabwata (formerly Caprivi Game Park), Mudumu and Mamili National Parks.
Travelling through the Caprivi enables you to combine Namibia with Victoria Falls, visited both from Zambia and Zimbabwe. A desirable one-way routing would be to fly into Windhoek and fly out of Livingstone, Zambia, negating the need to return to Windhoek in order to return home.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by five countries to form the Kavango Zambezi (KaZa) Transfrontier Conservation Area which promises to incorporate 278,132 km2 of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to help re-establish wildlife migration routes. It will be the world’s largest conservation area, including 36 currently protected areas including the reserves in the Caprivi Strip.