Namibia Travel Destination: Kavango
In the top right hand corner of Namibia touching the Caprivi Strip is the supple Kavango Region. Sharing its name and marking its northern border is the Okavango/Kavango River which separates Namibia from the Cuando Cubango Region in Angola. The east marks the only route in Namibia to the luscious Caprivi Strip via the Trans-Caprivi Highway and the south-east borders Botswana not too far from the famous Okavango Delta. It is a wild and untouched region and provides a fantastic stop-over point for numerous journeys.
The Kavango Region is named after its beautiful inhabitants that are a pleasure to meet. The Kavango people reside and make their living mostly along the Okavango River as only twenty percent of them live inland. There is some farming that happens along the river such as livestock and crops such as maize and pearl millet. The women weave incredible baskets and make beautiful clay pots and ornaments. A beautiful place to view these art works is the Ncumcara Community Forestry Craft Centre just outside of the town of Rundu. Fawena Kavango Basket Shop inside Rundu is another location to view or buy these intricate reed works. The Kavango men are also known to make stunning woodcarvings crafting drums, other musical instruments and furniture. They also make hollowed out canoes called watus in which you can join them for a river ride or fishing trip.
Previously being one whole, the Kavango region was recently split into two regions, namely the Kavango East and West. The west region is the more underdeveloped region and makes for a more course adventure. Nkurenkuru is the capital of the region and, along with a few other villages, is a former Finnish Mission Station and still houses a health care center. The east of Kavango provides many more establishments and activities. Nearby to the villages of Bagani and Divundu, there are many exciting national parks including the Buffalo Core Area in the Bwabwata National Park and the popular Mahango Game Park. In the vicinity are the breathtaking Popa Falls and it’s worth a visit to the little town of Andara to the Holy Family Parish, a pretty Roman Catholic Mission which also provides hostel accommodation.
Rundu is the biggest town in the Kavango Region and provides a good stop along the river to stock up on supplies and see what the local market has to offer. There are many relaxing riverine lodges to have a sundowner or stay the night. Just outside of Rundu lies a fascinating experience in the Mbunza Living Museum. Here you will be introduced and physically involved with the traditional culture and everyday life of the Kavango people. You can see the huts and how they hunt and will be shown their trades such as blacksmithing and fishing. You can even partake in traditional games and dances with the Kavango people. The museum is a truly authentic experience not to be missed.
You don’t have to look too far if you are looking for game while in Rundu, as you can take a day trip to the Mangetti National Park. Much larger in size than the Desert Leopard is the Monster Savannah Leopard and these are a rarity that are found in the Mangetti. Amongst other wildlife to be seen are the Cape eland, blue wildebeest, giraffe, impala, warthog and burchell zebra.
Receiving higher rainfall than any other area in Namibia, the Kavango is an underdeveloped land of potential. With the Kavango River it provides life to the surrounding areas and is a lush world waiting to be explored.