Kavango - Namibia
Bordering on Angola in the Kavango region of northeastern Namibia, lies the town of Rundu. Although not a particularly scenic town it is situated on the Kavango River and does offer some beautiful river views. This rapidly growing town is the administrative center and main economic hub of the Kavango region. The area produces mahangu (millet), cattle, goats and wood carvings.
Due to it's close proximity to Angola, Rundu has a slight Portuguese influence. The closest large towns are Katima Mulilo, around 500km's to the east, and Grootfontein, 250km's south west. This remote location makes Rundu an obvious refueling stop and also makes the lodges in and around the town and ideal stop over. Many tourists use Rundu as a stopover when heading to or from The Etosha National Park and on to the Caprivi Strip, Bwabwata National Park, Mudumu National Park, the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. All bus services between Windhoek and Victoria Falls, Livingstone and Harare also pass through Rundu.
It is thought the town of Rundu developed as a meeting point for local men seeking work. From here they would be bussed as cheap labour to farms & mines in central Namibia. This exodus of young locals from the Kavango region to urban centres is still prevalent today.
With the expansion of tourism into the area one of the most important local industries has become wood carving. Useful items such as wooden spoons and bowls as well as masks & ornaments are carved at a variety of locations in and around Rundu. Around 30km east of Rundu at the Sambyu Museum there is a collection of Kavango & Angolan crafts, the items are dominated by wood carvings but also include stone implements.
In Rundu itself at the Mbungura Woodcraft Co-operative visitors can see carvers at work as well as purchase a variety of carvings. Some of the skills used in the carving have been handed down through the generations resulting in quality items, but with the growing demand generated for these items by an expanding tourist market many items are mass produced and lack the quality found in older pieces.
An upmarket lodge and spa on the banks of the Kavango 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
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, this rest camp offers very basic accommodation
on the Kavango River banks this lodge offers plenty of water based activities
A new lodge on the banks of the Kavango River, near the village of Divundu, offering mokoro trips, 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
A small lodge a short distance east of Rundu. The rooms have river views and guests can choose from a range of activities