Namibia Travel Destination: Bwabwata National Park
Lush, green vegetation, dense trees, free flowing rivers and magnificent animals around every corner. This is the Caprivi Strip and beautiful untrained Bwabwata National Park makes up one of the largest parts.
The Caprivi Strip being a peculiarly shaped piece of land, the Bwabwata National Park is sandwiched between the Okavango River to the west and the Kwando River to the East. The country bordering the National Park to the North is the former Portuguese colony of Angola and down South is the landlocked country of Botswana.
Formally the Caprivi Game Reserve, Bwabwata is the largest of three National Parks inside the Caprivi Strip area and is a combination of five different areas. All the way to the Caprivi side of the park, along the Kwando River is the West Caprivi or Sususwe triangle also known as the Kwando Core area. This area, situated along the river, boasts a wildlife rich environment in which you are bound to see four of the big five. Being an untouched environment it is only accessible by 4×4 and as you make your way to the Nambwa lodge you are bound to see elegant impala, lots of stunning Kudu and beautiful big elephants. Be on the look-out for wildebeests, buffalo, elephants and families of hippopotami. This area is also home to rare buck and you might see a lion or even a rare leopard. Another adventure nearby is to drive to horseshoe lagoon where the river makes a ‘U’ shape. Here you are bound to see elephants by the dozen as well as different buck and a diverse array of birdlife. Right nearby is the village of Kangola which offers game drives, nature walks and fishing. An exceptional sun downer includes taking a boat ride on the river and viewing hippos and crocodiles in the water as well as plenty of birdlife.
Another beautiful area that makes up the Bwabwata National Park is the other end of the park, the Buffalo Core area nearby the village of Divundu on the Okavango River. Full of lush vegetation and the river, the wildlife is plentiful. Apart from buffalos, of course, you are bound to run into large heard of elephants as well as different types of antelope. Warthogs, kudu and impala can be spotted as you come across the ruins of an old South African army base. Especially along the bustling Okavango River there are plenty of beautiful lodges to stay or camp at. You can take a safari drive or boat cruise or just relax by the river and fish or read a book.
The Mahango Game Reserve, on the opposite side of the Okavango River is the third component of the Bwabwana National Park. The scenic Popa Falls is the fourth and the last is the old West Caprivi Game Reserve which was just incorporated into the whole. The name Bwabwata is fitting as it means ‘the sound of bubbling water’. The park is rich in water as it has a unique old dune system that rain water fills up drainage lines and creates natural pans that last well into the dry seasons. This Park is also very special because they have made astounding long-term conservation efforts where not only the animals but also the local people benefit from ecotourism and therefore has the nickname of ‘The People’s Park’. Conservation has been improved as the animal numbers have grown immensely and they even reintroduced rare species of antelope – the sitatunga and the red lechwe. They also have a no-borders policy with the surrounding countries where the animals are free to roam wherever they like.
The Bwabwata National Park is a must-see as few other areas in the world can offer such an authentic old-school safari experience with the possibility to see so much and such a variety of stunning game, natural vegetation and beautiful birdlife.