Expert Reviews – Mudumu NP
Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.
Kwando is King
The Kwando River is surely the best part of this oft-overlooked little park in the Zambezi Region. The watercourse provides an endless stream of great wildlife sightings and superb birding opportunities in beautiful surroundings. From the explosion of colour as a colony of carmine bee-eaters takes fright and erupts from their cliff-side nesting holes to a dazzle of zebra drinking alongside a herd of thirsty elephants, my wildlife encounters here have always been reminiscent of the quintessential African safari. However, what I like most is that the crystal-clear water of the Kwando River affords visitors the unique opportunity to sight wildlife below the surface and an all-time highlight for me was sitting on the edge of a boat observing a small hippo pod, clearly visible down below, as they slept contently on the river bottom. All the top carnivores occur here, but predator-viewing is unreliable, so if it’s big cats you’re after, then it would be better to head to Etosha or even neighbouring Nkasa Rupara.
Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
Best for guided bird-watching or boat safaris on the Kwando floodplains
Lying in a wide river catchment area of Eastern Caprivi, Mudumu is accessed on sandy (muddy in the wet) tracks, and while we found it heavy-going in places, it was a pleasant drive through mopane woodland. There were lovely views of the reeds and papyrus along the Kwando River, where water lilies find a roothold in the floodplains. Because of the thickness of the bush, it was difficult to see for any distance, but we did see elephant pushing through the trees to get to the river and fleeting glimpses of roan antelope, kudu, impala and Burchell's zebra. But most visitors have their sights firmly fixed on the trees or swamps, and Mudumu is home to an extraordinary variety of birds. The well-heeled can stay at the up-market Lianshulu Lodge, though there are other lodges and simple bush camps in the area which can arrange four-wheel-drive safaris into the park.