Expert Reviews – Bwabwata NP

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An Exciting Park for the Future
Overall rating

The recently proclaimed Bwabwata National Park is Namibia’s newest wildlife sanctuary, protecting a precious chunk of wilderness sandwiched between the Kavango and Kwando rivers. Moulded from an amalgamation of the old West Caprivi Game Park and Mahango National Park, it now forms the Caprivi’s largest conservation area. The park is still littered with the remnants of the bush war and game drives regularly pass by discarded military equipment: harsh reminders of a torrid time in the park’s history. The trans-Caprivi highway also bisects this park. Still in its infancy and with some way to go before it will rival Southern Africa’s finest safari destinations, I was nonetheless impressed by its raw potential. After-all, any park that contains two of Southern Africa’s premier rivers is definitely destined for future greatness. All the main wildlife and feline species are found here, but it will take some time for their numbers to build up and the animals to become more habituated to tourists. On my most recent visit, as we drove past Horseshoe Bend towards the sound of grunting hippos from neighbouring Pelican Pan, a leopard slipped across the track ahead. In the instant I glimpsed Africa’s elusive feline, I was overcome by a feeling that nature was rebounding and reclaiming her realm.

The Return of Bwabwata
Overall rating

During the troubles in Angola, the animal population in this park was in freefall as poaching was pursued unabated. Now that peace has returned to Angola, protection has returned to Bwabwata. There are five main sectors to the park - I suggest heading to Mahango Game Reserve. Made up of a large floodplain it is a magnet for elephants and I saw plenty splashing about in the water when I dropped by.

Wedged between Zambia and Botswana and accessible from both, Bwabwata would take a long time to explore if you wanted to tackle the whole park - but there are some good camping options. The benefit of spending time here is that you are off the tourist radar. Don’t expect to see all the Big 5 though, rehabilitation of animal populations will take time.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.3/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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