Expert Reviews – Zambezi Region (Caprivi Strip)

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Expert
Mike Unwin   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: October

Mike is an award winning wildlife writer, editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

4 people found this review helpful.

A watery exception
Overall rating
3/5

The Zambezi Region is like nowhere else in Namibia, with its well-watered mosaic of wetland and woodland habitats being more like an extension of northern Botswana than part of the arid country to the west. My visit was confined to Mahangu Game Reserve, which is the westernmost of several protected areas, and easily accessible by two-wheel drive vehicle on the main road from Maun to Caprivi. There are no overnight facilities here, but our short day visit and picnic beside the river produced several elephant herds, one of which had us scampering for the car as the beasts ambled through out picnic site, plus hippos, crocs, large herd of lechwe and excellent sightings of both roan and sable.

The area is famed for its birds: I saw such Caprivi specials as Dickinson’s kestrel, western banded snake eagle and coppery-tailed coucal, among a host of others. Other large game, including buffalo, lion and wild dog, is more easily seen in the larger, wilder, reserves further east, including Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara – the last of these being flooded for much of the year. Lodges and houseboat safaris are available in these reserves, though a 4WD is required in most areas. Poppa Falls, a short drive from Mahango, protects an attractive, fast-flowing stretch of the Okavango River, where the elusive spotted-necked otter is often seen.

Expert
Lizzie Williams   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

4 people found this review helpful.

The fertile waterways of the pan-handle shaped Zambezi Region
Overall rating
3/5

The Caprivi is a land of fertile, flat floodplains surrounded by perennial rivers. For me, the drive along the Caprivi Highway (B8) is a far cry from the arid lands of the Kalahari or the Namib-Naukluft and it always comes as an unexpected surprise to most visitors to Namibia. Birders get the greatest surprise; the region is home to some 430 species – that’s 70% of Namibia’s total bird count. The game parks – Mahango, Mudumu, Nkasa Rupara and Bwabwata – are known for their watery environments, riverine flora and range (if not profusion) of game. You only have to compare the appearance of the land on either side of the boundary lines (basic homesteads along the roadside and woodland cut down for fuel) to appreciate the importance and value of these parks. For me nothing beats a sunset river cruise in this region and the lodges make the most of their riverside settings.

Expert
Stephen Cunliffe   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Multiple times

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

2 people found this review helpful.

Namibia’s Lush Green Heartland
Overall rating
3/5

Namibia is famous for many things; however, lush green wilderness and abundant water are not usually amongst them. The lush watery environments and riverine habitat of the Caprivi are the very antithesis of the stereotypical Namibian desert safari. Rich in rivers, the Zambezi Region is Namibia’s tiny slither of delta-like wetlands. Superb lodges, unspoilt wilderness and rapidly rebounding wildlife mean that the Zambezi Region is deservedly clawing its way back onto the safari map. The place is well-worth exploring and I personally like to visit between September and November when wildlife-viewing is at its best and to be there when the first huge thunderstorms impressively unleash a deluge upon a grateful landscape.

Average Expert Rating

  • 3.6/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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