About Caprivi Strip
The Caprivi Strip is that long strip of land you see protruding from Namibia’s northeast corner when you look at a map. Yet it’s a stand-out feature of the country from more than a geographic perspective.
Unlike the rest of the country, the Caprivi is a lush area with abundant water, wetlands, and forests, with the highest rainfall in the country.
The Caprivi Strip juts out along the Zambezi River, with the Kwando, Linyanti, and Chobe Rivers making up its other borders. It shares these rivers with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, and Angola.
Rundu, on the Angolan border is the only sizeable town in this area, but there are a few small villages like Katima Mulilo, the capital of the Zambezi region, dotted about.
Originally, the Lozi Kings ruled the Caprivi area, then known as Itenge. Later, it became part of the British Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1885.
The German Chancellor, Leo von Caprivi, undertook negotiations with the British Empire to secure this strip of land for German South West Africa. Germany eventually surrendered Zanzibar to the Crown in 1890 in exchange for it.
Initially, the chancellor thought the Zambezi might give the country access to the ocean, but he didn’t take the Victoria Falls into consideration leaving Caprivi inaccessible and remote during the rainy season.
In 1940, Caprivi was placed under the control of South Africa, and it became a part of the South West Africa Administration in 1981.
Due to its location between major international waterways, the Caprivi Strip has long been plagued by military action and disputes.
- It was a base for the ANCs operations against the South African Government from 1965 to 1994
- It was involved in the Rhodesian Bush War and Angolan Civil War from 1970 to 1979
- Was the source of a long-standing dispute between Botswana and Namibia over its southern boundary.
When Namibia achieved independence in 1990, Caprivi entered a transitional period until 1992 when it became one of Namibia’s 13 political regions.
In 1999, the International Court of Justice eventually ruled in Botswana’s favor over the location of the border. A year later, the Caprivi Liberation Army attempted to wrest the Caprivi Strip from the Namibian government, but the Namibian armed forces put an end to this within a few days.
Today it’s settled into a peaceful natural rhythm with a strong focus on conservation. There are no game fences in the area, allowing the wildlife to roam freely between international boundaries.
When you visit the Caprivi strip, you’ll find all kinds of accommodation available from rustic bush camps to elegant riverside lodges.
There are four major game reserves in the area, namely Mudumu, Mamili, Lizauli, and Bwabwata.
Each of these offers safari tents, cabins, and lodges for its guests, and there are a few other accommodation options in the area, too.
Some notable ones include Shametu River Lodge, Namushasha River Camping, Divava Okavango Lodge & Spa, White Sands Lodge, and Chobe River Campsite.
The most popular activities include game-viewing safaris, mokoro rides, hiking, walking safaris, tiger fishing, bird watching, and river cruises.
This area abounds with cultural experiences as many of the local Masubia, Mayeyi, Matotela, Mafwe, and Mashi people still embrace their traditional ways. The Living Museum provides a peek at the Mafwe way of life, while local communities welcome you to the Lizauli Village.
There are abundant watery attractions in the Caprivi area including Popa Falls and Impalila Island in Botswana.
You can also enjoy access to the Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls, and Okavango Delta.
Fauna and Flora
The abundance of permanent water in the Caprivi is a major drawcard for a huge diversity of animals and birds.
It’s the only place in Namibia where you can see both crocodiles and hippos, as well as sought after species like the buffalo, lion, puku, Cape Hunting dogs, hyenas, roan antelope, and leopard. There are huge numbers of elephants in the Caprivi, too.
The bird count in Caprivi exceeds 400 species, and its home to 70% of all the avian species of Namibia. Some notable birds include carmine bee eaters, fire crowned bishops, Schalow’s turaco, African fish eagles and more.
You’ll also get to see some of the more common animals like wildebeest, zebra, impala and giraffe as well as many smaller creatures like mongoose, meerkats, ground squirrels, pangolins, and porcupines.
The best time to visit the Caprivi Strip is between May and October. At this time, game viewing is at its best and the days are mild and sunny.
Despite its remoteness, it’s relatively easy to reach the Caprivi, especially if you travel with a tour operator.
There is only one road in and out of the Caprivi, the B8 from Katima Mulilo to Rundu.
You can also access the Caprivi via the Wenela border post from Zambia, and Mohembo Border Post or Ngoma Bridge from Botswana.
Windhoek is about 1 226 km from Katima Mulilo.
Here’s how to get there:
- Take the B1 from Windhoek towards Otjiwarongo
- Proceed on the B1 to Otavi
- Take the B8 at Otavi towards Grootfontein and then Rundu
- Stay on the B8 until you reach your destination
You can also fly from Eros Airport, near Arebbusch Travel Lodge, to Mpacha and follow the B8 from there.
Experience the Best of Namibia
Namibia offers a grand showcase of outstanding adventures and dramatic scenery, so why not try Something new on your next trip to the country.
Our travel guide has many exciting ideas to inspire your travels. Read some of our articles and remember, Arebbusch Travel Lodge is the ideal place to start your visit to Namibia.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.