There are 13 regions in Namibia, but of these onlythe Caprivi boasts 6 ethnic tribes – Subia, Yeyi, Mafwe, San, Tortela and Mbukushu. Amazingly, they have adapted a Zambian language – Lozi – as a common medium of communication. The Caprivi is also the only region that shares its borders with 4 other countries – Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, all members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The Caprivi regional capital is the town of Katima Mulilo, which is located on the Zambezi River. There are no other major towns in the area, although it is fairly densely populated and travellers will encounter numerous villages.
Another huge drawcard is that the Caprivi is surrounded by 4 perennial rivers – Chobe, Kwando, Linyanti and the mighty Zambezi! For years this area was the domain of the South African Army – wildlife suffered as a result- but with soldiers long gone, wildlife populations have recovered. These waterfront areas combine riverine forests with vast wetlands, attracting over 600 species of bird, 4 of the big 5 (less rhino) as well as boasting 4 National Parks – Bwabwata, Mamili, Mudumu and Mahango. Nearly 200 kinds of flora, shrubs, trees and fruits, complement the wildlife and amazing geography.
So it shouldn't come as a surprise looking at a map, to learn that the Caprivi Region has a unique history. Until the end of the 19th Century it was known as Itenge and was under the rule of the Lozi Kings. In the late 1800's the strip of land was administered as part of the British protectorate of Bechuanaland (Botswana) until 1890 when Germany laid claim to the British administered island of Zanzibar, to which Britain objected. The dispute was settled by the Berlin Conference in 1890, when Queen Victoria waved her magic wand and acquired Zanzibar, and Germany settled for the territory which became known as the Caprivi Strip; named after German Chancellor, General Count Georg Leo von Caprivi di Caprara di Montecuccoli. (He was great in Titanic with Kate Winslett!)
The German motivation behind the swap was to acquire a strip of land linking German South-West Africa with the Zambezi River, thus providing easy access to Tanganyika (Tanzania) and ultimately the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately for the Germans, the British colonization of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe and Zambia) stopped them well upstream of Victoria Falls, which proved a considerable barrier to navigation on the Zambezi. (Not the old British colonial treaty chestnut again!) During WWI the Caprivi Strip again came under British rule and was governed as part of Bechuanaland, but it received little attention and became known as a lawless frontier. (Reputations can be hard to shake off!) Nowadays most people who live in the Caprivi, survive as subsistence farmers, who make their living on the banks of the Zambezi, Kwando, Linyati and Chobe Rivers.
For those arriving in Victoria Falls it is worth considering car hire in Zimbabwe as this makes travelling around the country much easier.
On the Kwando River, perfectly situated to visit the Mamili & Mudumu Reserves
Just outside the town of Katima Mulilo lies this small river front lodge. The accommodation is rustic, the food awesome and the situation idyllic - resulting in some of the best value for money accommodation in Namibia
Explore the Chobe & Zambezi River on an adventurous houseboat holiday
Overlooking the vast Chobe floodplain's from its situation in the east Caprivi this lodge has a lot to offer visitors
One of the best lodges in this area has accommodation in both traditional land based units as well as on two houseboats.
This is the only place in the world where four countries meet. A wonderful Chobe destination with eight luxury chalets.
A self catering family oriented lodge which offers excellent fishing opportunities
Traditionally one of the east Caprivi's most popular lodges has recently been re-opened
Situated on an island in the Kwando river around 4km from the trans-Caprivi highway
A popular and well appointed lodge near Kongola
Brand new lodge in east Caprivi - ideal for exploring the wetlands of the Mamili National Park
situated on three small islands this is an ultra-luxurious Chobe destination, with four suites, each with plunge pool and private guiding
A small luxurious houseboat, offers awesome game viewing, bird watching & fishing expereinces on the Chobe & Zambezi Rivers
in the Bwabwata National Park this is a perfect land and water camp with six luxury suites, each with private plunge pool
Close to the town of Katima Mulilo in the east Caprivi
A luxurious house boat on the Chobe River
In the far eastern Caprivi this lodge offers lots of water based activities on both the Chobe & Zambezi Rivers