Often described as Namibia's answer to Botswana's Okavango Delta, the rivers, wetlands and forests of the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed as the Zambezi Region) support a diverse range of animals that include several species such as hippo and buffalo that are absent from the country's more famous but far drier Etosha National Park.
The Caprivi Strip's arresting shape - protruding like an accusatory finger between Botswana and Angola - is a legacy of late 19th century colonial days and the machinations of the German and British Empires as they carved up Africa between themselves. Now however, the Caprivi provides an easy road connection between northern Namibia and the Chobe National Park/Victoria Falls region which makes for a great multi-country safari itinerary.
The Caprivi Strip is home to several small but teeming game reserves as well as a handful of excellent lodges, mostly based around waterways to maximise game viewing. Being close to water means the lodges offer not only game drives but boat safaris and sunset cruises too.
Note that some Caprivi safari accommodation is set along the Namibian banks of the Chobe River. Usually accessible via Botswana, these riverfront lodges offer a similar experience to their Botswana counterparts but are often more water activity focussed - expect game viewing by boat, fishing trips and birding expeditions. Go at the end of the dry season - August to October - for amazing concentrations of wildlife along Botswana's Chobe River banks.
In fact, there's plenty of game viewing in store wherever you go on your Caprivi safari: elephants are often seen, along with buffalo and crocodile. There are many antelope species, all the major predators are present, and there's all the smaller mammals such as monkeys, baboons and warthogs. Note however that much of the wildlife in the Caprivi Strip is transient and moves between Botswana, Namibia and Angola depending on seasonal rains.
The birdlife is fantastic: around 340 species have been spotted in the Caprivi Game Park alone, and the Caprivi Strip as a whole has recorded a staggering 500 plus species with many regional rarities and raptors in abundance.
Choose your timing carefully: the Caprivi Strip receives heavy rains from December to March, and it's a region that best visited in the dry winter months between May and October when the risk of malaria is at its lowest. Bird watching is best in the November to April summer months while game viewing is best in the dry May to October winter season. Note that the late winter season - September and October - sees very high temperatures in Caprivi while mid-summer (January to February) often experiences torrential rain that may render much of the region inaccessible.
At a Glance
Namibia's affordable answer to the Okavango Delta, Caprivi's wetlands and woodlands are full of wildlife and deliver some of the region's best bird watching.