Kavango & Caprivi Strip
The north of Namibia is generally very lush, watered by a generous annual rainfall. East of Owamboland – which means northeast of Grootfontein – lie the regions of Kavango and Caprivi.
These support a large population, and a surprising amount of wildlife. The wildlife has visibly increased in the national parks here in the last few years, helped enormously by various successful community-based game-guard and conservation/development programmes.
The main B8 road across the strip, or Golden Highway as it is sometimes called, is now completely tarred. It is destined to become an increasingly important artery for trade with Zimbabwe and Zambia, and hence a busier road. It has come a long way since the dusty gravel road that I first crossed in 1989, when many viewed it as terra incognita
Unlike much of the rest of Namibia, the Kavango and Caprivi regions feel like most Westerners' image of Africa. You'll see lots of circular huts, small kraals, animals and people carrying water on their heads. These areas are probably what you imagined Africa to be like before you first arrived. By the roadside you'll find stalls selling vegetables, fruit, or woodcarvings, and in the parks you'll find buffalo hiding in the thick vegetation. This area is much more like Botswana, Zimbabwe, or Zambia than it is like the rest of Namibia. This is only what you'd expect if you look at a map of the subcontinent, or read the history of the area: it really is very different from the rest of Namibia.Note
Unrest in the last few years has meant that, at times, vehicles travelling across the Caprivi strip have been proceeding in convoy. Since the situation tends to change, check the Foreign Office website, www.fco.gov.uk/travel/namibia, for up-to-date advice. Note that it is the area to the north of the Golden Highway where disturbances tend to occur.