Shaped like an outstretched index finger, Namibia’s Zambezi Region is a geographical and historical oddity.
Formerly known as the Caprivi Strip, this narrow ribbon of land, which measures a scant 32 km across its breadth, appears almost tacked onto the northeastern corner of Namibia where it billows out towards the centre of Southern Africa. For most travellers, the Zambezi serves as the easiest access route connecting Namibia with Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
In a land of contrasts, the Zambezi Region adds an equatorial swelter to Namibia’s already packed buffet of climates. The Zambezi is truly tropical, typified by swollen rivers, muggy swamps and mopane woodlands. It’s Namibia’s wettest region and is home to 430 species of bird and 35 showstopping large mammal species including buffalo, big cats and elephant. Wildlife is protected by several national parks and animals travel freely across the unmarked border with Chobe.
Verdant and green, the Zambezi Region feels like Namibia’s very own Garden of Eden. It is remote and largely untouched and offers adventurous travellers an authentic Out-of-Africa experience.
Best time to visit
Wildlife viewing is best during the dry season between May and October. While birding is considered to be most rewarding between December and March, the vast majority of the Zambezi Region is inaccessible during the rainy season.
Combine the Zambezi Region with:
- Etosha National Park: famous for the enormous salt pan at its heart, Etosha is one of Africa’s largest and most spectacular game parks.
- Damaraland: discover ancient San rock paintings in the rugged and remote Damaraland.
- Okavango Delta: extend your tropical adventure into neighbouring Botswana and experience the enduring mystery of the delta.
The Zambezi Region is a legacy of the colonial Scramble for Africa when Britain swapped a piece of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) for Zanzibar during the Berlin Conference of 1890.
Named after General Count George von Caprivi, a German Chancellor who never set foot in Namibia, it was renamed the Zambezi in 2013, reaffirming its African identity.
The Zambezi is Namibia’s wettest region with an average rainfall of 625 mm per year with regular floods experienced in the Zambezi floodplains.
Local Caprivians speak several African languages, but many speak some English.
Nkasa Rupara National Park: in rain-heavy years, this wild and seldom-visited national park becomes Namibia’s equivalent of Botswana’s Okavango Delta and offers some of the country’s richest birdwatching.
Bwabwata National Park: only recently recognised as a national park, Bwabwata was established to rehabilitate local wildlife populations.
Lizauli Traditional Village: set up to educate visitors about traditional Caprivian lifestyles, guests here can enjoy guided tours and shop local crafts.
Popa Falls: a series of rapids that swirl around some Okavango River islands; this birder’s paradise is also home to a wide variety of wildlife.
Zambezi Region on the Map
TOP TRAVEL TIP: Explore the four rivers of this region by enjoying a sundowner cruise on the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi.