Bwabwata is a Namibia national park located in north east Namibia. Bwabwata National Park was established in 2007 and has a size of 6,274 square kilometers (2,422 sq mi). It was created from Caprivi Game Park and Mahango Game Reserve.
This Namibian park extends for about 180km from the Kavango River in the west to the Kwando River in the east. Access is easy as the park is located 200km east of Rundu or approximately 100km west of Katima Mulilo.
Bwabwata is situated in the Zambezi and Kavango East regions, extending along the Caprivi Strip. It is bounded by the Okavango River to the west and the Kwando River to the east. Angola lies to the north and Botswana to the south.
The area is an important migration route from Botswana to Angola for African elephant and some other game species. It is an unusual Protected Area as about 5,500 people live in the park. The Namibian government involves park residents and neighbors in planning and managing the park.
History of Babwata National Park
The area was first proclaimed as Caprivi Nature Park in 1963. It became the Caprivi Game Reserve in 1966 and upgraded to the Caprivi Game Park in 1968. The South African Defence Force occupied it during Namibia’s war of liberation. Conservation officials were not permitted to enter or manage the park due to military operations.
The Defence Force left the area shortly before Namibia obtained Independence from South Africa in 1990. The Namibian Government commissioned a study to assess the fauna and flora and developed plans to accommodate both biodiversity protection and the 5,500 park residents.
Mahango Game Reserve, to the west of the Park, was proclaimed in 1989. The Caprivi Game Park, Mahango Game Reserve and an unproclaimed area along the Kwando River were united to become Bwabwata National Park in 2007.
A wreckage of LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470 was found in the park in November 2013.
The People’s Park
The Bwabwata National Park was formerly the Caprivi Game Park. It is also known as 'a people's park' as it supports both large wildlife and human populations. This special arrangement benefits mankind and the animal kingdom equally.
Conservation and rural community development both coming out as as winners from sharing this spectacular area. Community game guards and resource monitors have been put in place, not only as a long-term conservation initiative, but to improve the quality of life for local Caprivian people, who now have new opportunities in ecotourism.
Namibian wildlife also benefits from this protection with a steady increase in numbers, and this is highlighted by the relocating and restocking of rare species, such as sitatunga and red lechwe. This forward thinking should be applauded and Bwabwaa National Park now enjoys a stability not dreamed of only a few years ago.
What to see in Bwabwata National Park?
The abundance of water in the region supports huge herds of game and bird species. Animals that you will likely come across are elephant, blue wildebeest, zebra and buffalo. There are a variety of large and small antelope, crocodile and hippopotamus.
Predators like lion, cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena and crocodile can also be found but the dense bush and abundant water make this more of a challenge - more like a genuine safari of old where no wildlife sightings are guaranteed and you see and experience nature the way it is meant to be.
Bwabwata national park is very serious about nature conservation and committed to programmes that support it. Bwabwata therefore takes part in a very exciting project that lets them work with neighbouring countries to achieve maximum success.
The Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KaZa TFCA) is a work agreement between Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to manage trans-boundary conservation. Bwabwata is situated in the centre of the KaZa TFCA and forms a free roaming passage for elephant movement from Botswana into Angola and Zambia.
Bird watchers will have the most success in spotting endangered species in the west of Bwabwata. The Mahango area and the Kavango River are home to threatened species like the black-winged Pratincole, slaty egret and wattled crane.
Other species include various warblers and cisticolas, African skimmer, African pygmy-goose and wood owl to name just a few. Serious birders should contact us for a full list of all species in Namibia and where to find them.
Bwabwata National Park Vegetation
The deciduous woodlands are dominated by trees such as wild seringa, copalwood and Zambezi teak. While the park is sanctuary to 35 large and numerous small game species, visitors are not likely to see many of these animals, as unfortunately vehicles are restricted to the road between Kavango and Eastern Caprivi.
Animals likely to be seen though are elephant, roan and kudu; buffalo occur towards the west and as many as 339 bird species have been recorded in West Caprivi.
One of the best times in the year for excellent and reliable game watching is in October. It can be incredibly hot, but as it's been months since any rainfall, game concentrates on the last remaining waterholes along the Kwando River.
A favourite is Horseshoe, as the name suggests, a large perennial oxbow lake with picturesque white-sand beaches, surrounded by Zambezi teak woodlands. Bwabwata is named after a village in the reserve and means 'the sound of bubbling water.'
Most of the tourist infrastructure are on the periphery of the park including recommended lodges such as Ngepi Camp, 14kms from Divundu, and Ndhovu Lodge near Bagani. Nunda Safari Lodge is also a favorite base for travelers.
|Currency used||Namibian Dollar (NAD)|
|Area (km2)||6,274 SQ KM|