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The Caprivi Strip is a narrow ‘finger’ of land. An area is much more like the stereotypical ‘Westerners’ view of Africa, with circular huts on the sides of the roads, people carrying water on their heads, and animals kept in rough wooden enclosures. This is also similar to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, and is much more like these countries than Namibia.
The centre of the Caprivi Region is Katima Mulilo, which is actually closer to Lusaka and Harare than it is to Windhoek. The town is located on the banks of the Zambezi River and is a lively town with a busy market.
The area has two established national parks: Mamili and Mudumu. These are lush reserves on the side of the river with ever increasing numbers of animals.
The ecosystems here are similar to those in the Okavango Delta: there are deep-water channels, which are lined by wide reedbeds and rafts of papyrus. Larger islands in the river have baobab, water fig, umbrella thorn, knobthorn, mopane, pod mahogany, star chestnut and sickle-leafed albizia trees on them. Large mammals are scarce, but elephant and buffalo are known to swim across from Botswana.
The birdlife here is incredible. White-faced ducks congregate on the islands, African skimmers nest on the sandbanks, reed cormorants and darters fish in and perch near the river. There are numerous kingfishers, herons and egrets in the area, but the most unusual bird is the rock pratincole which has a black, white and grey body and sits in rapids eating insects in the spray.
Our favoured spots here are Impalila Island, Ntwala Island and Susuwe Island.
Impalila Island is the largest island of the Caprivi. It was originally a military base, but is now a customs and immigration post with a runway and a secondary school. Situated at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, the surrounding waterways, floodplains and bushveld have large number of birds and game living in the vegetation. It is also an excellent area for fishing.
Susuwe is wild and untouched, and lies in the Kwando River. The private setting gives a touch of luxury with some unrivalled game-viewing and birding.
Ntwala Island is again in the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers, and is only 80 km upstream of Victoria Falls. The same beauty and wildlife is around here, with the difference being that this island is smaller and more private.