Monday, October 20, 2014

Interesting Facts About the Caprivi/Zambezi Region

Northern Namibia is generally very lush, watered by a generous annual rainfall. East of Owamboland – which means northeast of Grootfontein – lie the regions of Kavango and Caprivi / Zambezi.

The Khaudum Game Park, is only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle. It is far better to travel in this park with at least two vehicles, as the sand is very thick and it is a rather remote area. The park is home to herds of elephants, roan, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), blue wildebeest, wild dog and lion. A lush water-fed area, the narrow extension of land known as the Caprivi Strip protrudes eastwards from the extreme north-east of Namibia, adjoining Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia.
Northeastern Namibia and into the Caprivi is a mosaic of woodlands, riverine forests, swamps and. rivers. Off-the-beaten track destinations include the Nyae-Nyae area, the ancestral home of the Ju/'hoansi San. Formerly known as Eastern Bushmanland. The area is four-by-four country ONLY.

Some 200 kilometres east of Rundu lies one of the scenic highlights the Caprivi, the Popa Falls. Actually, they are rapids rather than waterfalls. Here, the Okavango breaks through a four metre high rocky intrusion in its riverbed. The falls lie amidst enthrallingly beautiful nature. Here you also find the most scenic campground in the north of Namibia although there are a number of lodges with campsites as well.
Within this area there are also 3 community campsites, 4 upmarket lodges, a craft market and two traditional villages. The Mamili National Park is a watery wonderland of wildlife, islands, river channels and wetlands. The two large Islands are Nkasa & Lupala and are on the Kwando / Linyati rivers. During dry season the Islands can be reached by road, but after the rains 90% of the area becomes flooded, cutting them off from the mainland.

Across from Muduma on the other side of the kwando river is the Horseshoe area, which has two community campsites. They are both excellent and the area is full of game as well. ONLY 4 x 4 can be used.

Muduma National Park (also only 4x4) is approx 100.000 hect of dense savannah and mopane woodlands with the Kwando river as its western boundary and Botswana on the other side. The Kwando river stems from Angola and changes its name as it goes along, ending in the Chobe, which then enters into the Zambezi. {mosimage}The Chobe at Ngoma Border fl flows both ways, the reason being that the Zambezi when in flood pushes the Chobe water back along the banks of Namibia and Botswana.

Two destinations accessible by sedan car are the Mahango Game Park and Popa Falls, a series of rapids, where the Kavango river breaks through a four metre high rocky intrusion in its riverbed. The falls lie amidst enthrallingly beautiful nature. The park offers outstanding birding and is also renowned for its large numbers of elephant, red lechwe, sable, roan, buffalo, blue wildebeest and gemsbok (oryx).

The small town of Katima Mulilo at the eastern end of Caprivi offers some attractive lodges and has an airport, a hospital, some petrol stations, grocery stores and a street market with crafts, traditional baskets woven from grass, wood carvings, jewellery and clothes. The Caprivi Strip's nerve-centre, Katima Mulilo, is closer to Lusaka, Harare or Gaborone than it is to Windhoek, and in many ways this region is more like the countries which surround it than like the rest of Namibia.

The area is highly populated with scattered settlements of subsistence farmers cultivating Mahangu and other crops, tending their cattle, or living off freshwater fish. Unlike much of the rest of Namibia, the Kavango and Caprivi regions feel like most Westerners' image of Africa. You'll see lots of circular huts, small kraals, animals and people carrying water on their heads. By the roadside are stalls selling vegetables, fruit, or woodcarvings, and in the parks you'll find buffalo hiding in the thick vegetation.
Note the different designs of the rondavels and villages as you travel through. Some are identical to those in eastern Zimbabwe, while others resemble the fenced-in kraals in Botswana. Even the local language used in the schools, the Caprivi's lingua franca, is the Lozi language – as spoken by the Lozi people of Zambia.

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