The Caprivi is a narrow strip of land in the far northeast of Namibia,
about 400 kilometres long. Germany exchanged the area with the United
Kingdom for Zanzibar in 1890. It was named after the German chancellor
of the time, Graf von Caprivi, who signed the contract with the
The Caprivi Highway tar road was built to replace
the corrugated dirt road, which was hardly passable during the rainy
season. Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Chobe National Park in Botswana,
both popular tourist destinations in the north, are now easily accessible.
Some 200 kilometres east of Rundu lies one of the scenic highlights
of Namibia in the western part of the Caprivi, the Popa
Falls. They are rapids rather than waterfalls. Here, the
Okavango River breaks through a four metre high rocky intrusion
in its riverbed and tumbles down a series of rocky plateaus.
The main town of the Caprivi is the small town of Katima
Mulilo at the eastern tip. Katima is on the banks of the
Zambesi River and ohas some attractive lodges and places to stay
along the river front. It also has an airport, a hospital, some
petrol stations, grocery stores and a streetmarket with arts &
crafts, traditional baskets woven from grass, wood carvings, jewellery
There is a border post to Zambia in Katima, which,
due to the new Zambezi bridge at Wanella, is great for tourists
wanting to go to Zambia and Victoria Falls. If you are heading for
Botswana or Zimbabwe, follow the B8 to Ngoma Bridge.
The Caprivi belongs to the tropical climate zone and receives high
rainfalls during the rainy season (December to March). This, together
with the high temperatures, results in a high humidity factor. Malaria
prophylactic is strongly recommended for the Caprivi.
The Caprivi is the wettest region in Namibia with its high rainfall
and a number of major rivers like the Okavango, Kwando and Zambesi;
all of them originating from Angola and draining an enormous area.
There are also some smaller rivers like the Linyanti and the Chobe.
The abundance of water in the Caprivi sustains a large variety
of animal and bird species. Especially numerous are the elephants,
though not easily spotted through the dense vegetation. The wildlife
is being protected in a couple of reserves (Bwabwata, Mudumu, Lizauli,
Mamili). There are no fences, so the animals can roam freely across
the borders of the neighbouring countries of Botswana and Zambia.
The Chobe National Park in Botswana, bordering the Caprivi in the
south, is especially excellent for game viewing.
Crossing the Border to Zambia
The border post near Wanella (Wenella) lies 4 km north of Katima
Mulilo. On the Zambia side it is called Sesheke. You get the required
visa directly at the border post.
Since 2004, the Zambesi River can be comfortably crossed via the
new bridge. The road to Livingstone at the Victoria Falls
is tarred all the way, but drive slowly. The 193 km from
Sesheke to Livingstone at the Victoria Falls can easily take you
4 hours. The roads in Zambia are generally disastrous, especially
when travelling in the rainy season. A 4x4 is useful.
If you want to get to Victoria Falls, you can still go through
Botswana (border post at Ngoma Bridge) and Zimbabwe, despite the
present problems in Zimbabwe. However, take enough fuel and food
and be prepared for long waiting times at the border.
Bwabwata National Park
The entire Western Caprivi today is a game reserve. In the year
2002 the former Mahango Game Park and the Western Caprivi Game Park
were joined to the new Bwabwata National Park. The park stretches
from the rivers Okavango and Kwando, covering an area of more than
5000 square kms. Over 8000 elephants as well as buffalo, hippos,
many antelope species, hyenas, lions and leopards inhabit this area.
No permit is needed for using the Trans Caprivi Highway. But there
are also no fences! So keep your eyes open!
The Popa Waterfalls lie 210 km east of Rundu at the Okavango river.
There are a number of rapids, surrounded by stunning nature. Petrol
is normally available in Bagani Bridge or in Mukwe, 17 kilometres
to the west.
Etosha Park Lodges
|25km from Etosha west
from R80 per person
Etosha Safari Camp
Ongava Reserve Lodges
Mondjila Tented Camp
!Uris Safari Lodge
Etosha Gateway Camp