Bwabwata National Park
Caprivi - Namibia
The Bwabwata National (formerly the Caprivi Game Park) is known as 'a people's park' as it supports both large wildlife and human populations. This special arrangement benefits mankind and the animal kingdom equally, with conservation and rural community development both coming out as as winners from sharing this spectacular area. Community game guards and resource monitors have been put in place, not only as a long-term conservation initiative, but to improve the quality of life for local Caprivian people, who now have new opportunities in ecotourism.
Namibian wildlife also benefits from this protection with a steady increase in numbers, and this is highlighted by the relocating and restocking of rare species, such as sitatunga and red lechwe. This forward thinking should be applauded and Bwabwaa National Park now enjoys a stability not dreamed of only a few years ago.
The park is 6,100km² and extends for about 180km from the Kavango River in the west to the Kwando River in the east. Access is easy as the park is located 200km east of Rundu or approximately 100km west of Katima Mulilo. The deciduous woodlands are dominated by trees such as wild seringa, copalwood and Zambezi teak. While the park is sanctuary to 35 large and numerous small game species, visitors are not likely to see many of these animals, as unfortunately vehicles are restricted to the road between Kavango and Eastern Caprivi. Animals likely to be seen though are elephant, roan and kudu; buffalo occur towards the west and as many as 339 bird species have been recorded in West Caprivi.
One of the best times in the year for excellent and reliable game watching is in October. It can be incredibly hot, but as it's been months since any rainfall, game concentrates on the last remaining waterholes along the Kwando River. A favourite is Horseshoe, as the name suggests, a large perennial oxbow lake with picturesque white-sand beaches, surrounded by Zambezi teak woodlands. Bwabwata is named after a village in the reserve and means 'the sound of bubbling water.'
Most of the tourist infrastructure are on the periphery of the park including recommended lodges such as Ngepi Camp, 14kms from Divundu, and Ndhovu Lodge near Bagani. Nunda Safari Lodge is also a favourite base for travellers.
An upmarket lodge and spa on the banks of the Kavango River. The only traditional luxury lodge on this stretch of river
Small lodge situated close to the town of Rundu
Another lodge close to Rundu, offers good fishing
Situated on the banks of the river (hence the name) in Rundu
Situated close to the Mahangu Park in west Caprivi - this is an excellent stop-over between Namibia, Maun (in Botswana) and the Victoria Falls
A rustic river side campsite and lodge offering excellent value for money. A lively bar and restaurant ensures this appeals to the younger or more socially inclined traveller
Close to Popa Falls and the Mahango Reserve this lodge offers stunning river views
Refreshingly, and surprisingly for the area, this lodge does not have the word 'River' as part of its name. Do not be misled it is situated on the banks of the river opposite the Caprivi Game Park (Bwabwata National Park)
Close to the Popa Falls (a series of rapids on the Kavango River), this rest camp was renovated in 2013
on the Kavango River banks this lodge offers plenty of water based activities
Near the village of Divundu, this small but wonderfully managed lodge is a perennial favourite of ours. Lovely wooden chalets, with large decks overlook the river. Those wanting to experience the river can choose from fishing and sunset river cruises
On a beautiful plot of indigenous plants and trees overlooking the river
One of the best lodges for birders visiting Namibia - but also great for fishing, chilling or generally becoming part of the family (the family consists of a host of creatures including goats, otters and guinefowls all lovingly adopted by the owners)
A small lodge a short distance east of Rundu. The rooms have river views and guests can choose from a range of activities