Most of the tourists arriving in Namibia, check in to Windhoek accommodation before heading out for further explorations.

Windhoek is a great place to put your feet up for a while, stock up on provisions or even catch up on Namibian culture before departing for Etosha National Park, Swakopmund or even the Fish River Canyon. Less often, these travelers are en route to the Caprivi Strip.

Bwabwata National Park is one of the attractions to be found in this lush Namibian wildlife paradise.

Bwabwata National Park

This 627 400 ha National Park is a little-known gem which extends for 180km between the Kavango River in the west and Kwando River in the east.

Bwabwata National Park has become known as the ‘people’s park’ – a champion of the local communities, conservation and ethical tourism.

The park consists of 2 main tourist areas; the Mahango Core Area which borders the Kavango River, and the Kwando Core Area on the Kwando Area. You need a separate permit for each of these although they are part of the same National Park.

Wildlife of Bwabwata

Bwabwata National park is home to a surprising variety of wildlife considering its size when compared to giants like Etosha National Park. There are 105 mammal species and 71 different kinds of reptiles resident in the park.

You will find all your regular favorites in this National Park.  Along with more than 400 species of birds you will see elephant, lion, leopard, crocodile, wildebeest and buffalo.

These animals are best enjoyed during the dry summer months when they are concentrated around the Kwando River.

During October, the best place to see game is around Horseshoe oxbow lake.

Conservation Efforts

More importantly, Bwabwata has recently re-introduced red lechwe (antelope) and sitatunga (swamp-dwelling antelope) to its folds and reports steadily growing numbers of these rare creatures.

The Kavango River and Mahango area in Western Bwabwata are an avian hotspot and official internationally Important Bird Area. Several globally threatened birds are found here.

Driving Around Bwabwata

The park is mostly contained within its rivers and is unfenced except for the southern boundary with Botswana.

Two public roads run through the park, namely:

  • The Trans-Caprivi Highway (B8) between Rundu and Katima Mulilo, which links Namibia to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • The C48 which runs in a north south direction through Mahango to Botswana.

You need a permit to travel on any of the side roads leading from these main thoroughfares.

You will find no shortage of community-run campsites and lodges in the vicinity to show you around on game drives, walks and boat safaris.

Places to stay in and around Bwabwata National Park

There are 3 community-run campsites located within the park.

These are:

  • N//goabacha (Mahango Core Area) – Rustic campsites on the Kavango River
  • Nambwa (Kwando Core Area) – the only lodge in the park, featuring 10 luxury safari tents
  • Bum Hill (Kwando Core Area) – a very rustic campsite for the true adventurer

Proceeds from these parks are used to benefit the local conservancies directly.

Outside of the park you will find more luxurious offerings. These facilities offer day trips into the park on foot and by means of a safari vehicle.

A trip to Bwabwata National Park offers an old-school African adventure, perfect for the 4×4 enthusiast and those who love undisturbed nature.