Bwabwata National Park

Bwabwata National Park

Namibia, a land of awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse wildlife, is home to one of its hidden gems – Bwabwata National Park. Nestled in the heart of the Zambezi Region, formerly known as the Caprivi Strip, this park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Spanning approximately 6,274 square kilometres, Bwabwata National Park offers a vast expanse of wilderness waiting to be explored.

During Namibia’s liberation war the park was declared a military zone by the South African Defence Force. It was only after Independence in 1990 that this park was properly run as a conservation area. Bwabwata was gazetted by the Namibian government in 2007 and included the former Mahango Game Reserve and Caprivi Game Park. An interesting fact about Bwabwata is that it is one of the few parks in Southern Africa that has a permanent community living inside the park. It is estimated that there are currently 5500 people living there made up mainly of the Khwe (San) people.

Whether you are travelling on a self-drive tour or a guided safari tour a visit to Bwabwata National Park should be included in your travel itinerary.

Location and Size

Bwabwata National Park is strategically located in northeastern Namibia, bordering Angola, Zambia, and Botswana. Its unique geographical position makes it a crucial wildlife corridor, allowing animals to roam freely between different countries. The park’s size is comparable to the state of Delaware in the United States, making it one of the largest protected areas in Namibia.

Biodiversity and Wildlife

One of the main draws of Bwabwata National Park is its rich biodiversity. The park is home to a wide array of flora and fauna, including several species that are endemic to the region. Visitors can expect to encounter iconic African wildlife such as elephants, buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, and various antelope species. There are also healthy populations of Roan and Sable to be found. Predators that can be found in the park include hyena, leopard, lion and cheetahs. One of the last few remaining populations of Wild Dog can be found in the Park.

One of the park’s highlights is its thriving birdlife, with over 450 species recorded within its boundaries. Birdwatchers will delight in spotting colourful birds like the African fish eagle, kingfishers, herons, and the elusive Pel’s fishing owl. Other bird species include the Narina Trogon, Wattled Crane, Cape Parrot and both Yellow-billed and Red-billed Oxpeckers. The park’s wetlands and riverine forests provide a perfect habitat for these avian wonders, making it a paradise for bird enthusiasts.

Attractions and Activities

Bwabwata National Park offers a range of activities that cater to different interests and preferences. Game drives are a popular way to explore the park and witness its diverse wildlife up close. Experienced guides lead these excursions, providing valuable insights into the animals’ behaviour and the park’s ecosystem.

For those looking for a more immersive experience, boat safaris along the Kwando River offer a unique perspective of the park’s landscapes and wildlife. Cruising through the waterways, visitors can spot hippos lazing in the sun, crocodiles lurking along the banks, and a variety of bird species going about their daily routines.

Nature walks and guided bush walks are also available for those who want to delve deeper into the park’s natural wonders. Led by knowledgeable guides, these walks offer a chance to learn about the flora, fauna, and traditional uses of plants in the area. It’s an excellent opportunity to connect with nature on a more intimate level and gain a deeper appreciation for the environment.

Conservation Efforts

Bwabwata National Park plays a vital role in conservation efforts in Namibia. As part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), the park collaborates with neighbouring countries to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable tourism. Through initiatives such as anti-poaching patrols, community engagement, and habitat restoration projects, Bwabwata National Park is committed to preserving its natural heritage for future generations.

Tourist Appeal

What makes Bwabwata National Park a must-visit destination for tourists? Apart from its breathtaking scenery and abundant wildlife, the park offers a chance to experience Africa’s untamed beauty in a remote and pristine setting. Unlike more crowded safari destinations, Bwabwata provides a sense of exclusivity and tranquillity, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in nature without distractions.

Bwabwata is easily accessible however a permit is required for entering the park. Visitors can drive themselves but it is suggested that one make use of a 4×4 vehicle rental as the roads can become wet and muddy at times.

The park’s remote location also means fewer tourists, giving wildlife enthusiasts a better chance of spotting elusive species in their natural habitat. Whether it’s seeing a herd of elephants crossing the river or marvelling at the colourful plumage of exotic birds, every moment in Bwabwata National Park is a testament to the wonders of the natural world.

Where to Stay

Most tourist facilities are based outside of the park and offer guided day trips into Bwabwata. There is a good selection of lodges and camp sites to choose from. If you are travelling in peak season then it is recommended to book your accommodation in advance.


In conclusion, Bwabwata National Park in Namibia offers a unique and unforgettable safari experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. With its vast wilderness, diverse wildlife, and range of activities, the park promises an immersive journey into Africa’s untamed beauty. Whether you’re exploring by land or water, Bwabata National Park never fails to captivate with its natural wonders and conservation efforts. Plan your visit today and discover the magic of this hidden gem in Namibia’s wilderness.

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