Caprivi Region

Caprivi is one of the 13 regions of Namibia. It takes its name from the Caprivi Strip which in turn was named after Leo von Caprivi.

Geography

The Caprivi is a tropical area, with high temperatures and much rainfall during the December-to-March rainy season, making it the wettest region of Namibia. The terrain is mostly made up of swamps, floodplains, wetlands and woodland.

In addition to the Zambezi River, the strip also holds the Cuando and Kwando River, which marks the border with Botswana. Tributaries of the river here go by different names, including the Linyata and the Chobe. The province's far eastern is where the Cuando meets the Zambezi.

The region comprises six constituencies: Kongola, Linyanti, Sibinda, Katima Mulilo Urban, Katima Mulilo Rural, and Kabbe.

Borders

Caprivi is almost entirely surrounded by foreign countries. Its only domestic border is a short connection in the west with Okavango.

In the northwest, it borders the Cuando Cubango Province of Angola.
In the north, it borders the Western Province of Zambia.
In the south, it borders the North-West District of Botswana.

The Namibia-Zambia-Botswana tripoint lies less than 100 meters from the Zimbabwe border and as such Namibia is sometimes erroneously thought to border Zimbabwe.

Flora and fauna

The region is home to 450 animal species, including elephants, making Caprivi a popular game-watching spot. The wildlife is protected by several nature reserves, such as Bwabwata, Mudumu, Lizauli, West Caprivi Game Park, Mahango Game Reserve, and Mamili National Park; animals travel freely across the unmarked border with Botswana, where the Chobe National Park lies. The strip is also a prime bird-watching area, with almost 70 percent of bird species found in Namibia being recorded here. Katima Mulilo is the largest city, with other notable towns including Kongola, Chinchimane, Bukalo, Sibinda, and Impalila.

There are three game parks in the Caprivi region. The Caprivi Game Park is 5,715 square kilometers and extends for about 180 km from the Kavango River in the west to the Kwando River in the east. Deciduous woodlands are dominated by trees such as wild seringa, copalwood and Zambezi teak. While the park is sanctuary to 35 large and numerous small game species, visitors are not likely to see many of these animals as vehicles are restricted to the road between Kavango and Eastern Caprivi. Animals likely to be seen are elephant, roan and kudu, buffalo occur towards the west. As many as 339 bird species have been recorded in west Caprivi. The wild and little visited Mamili National Park is Namibia's equivalent of the Okavango Delta, a watery wonderland of wildlife rich islands, river channels and wetlands. The focal points of the 320km2 national park are Nkasa and Lupala, two large islands in the Kwando/Linyati river. During the dry season the islands can be reached by road but after the rains 80% of the area becomes flooded, cutting them off from the mainland. Mudumu National Park is a vast 100,959 hectare expanse of dense savannah and mopane woodland with the Kwando River at its western border. The park is home to small populations of sitatunga and red lechwe while spotted neck otter, hippo and crocodile inhabit the waterways. Animals to be encountered are elephant, buffalo, roan, sable, kudu, impala, oribi, zebra, wild dog as well as some 430 species of birds.

History

Until the end of the 19th century, it was known as Itenge and it was under the rule of the Lozi kings. In the late 19th century the strip of land was administered as part of the British protectorate of Bechuanaland (Botswana). The German Empire in 1890 laid claim to the British-administered island of Zanzibar; Britain objected and the dispute was settled at the Berlin Conference later that year. On July 1, 1890, the British acquired Zanzibar and Germany acquired the territory which became known as the Caprivi Strip. Caprivi was named after German Chancellor Leo von Caprivi, who negotiated the land in an 1890 exchange with the United Kingdom. Leo von Caprivi arranged for Caprivi to be annexed to German South-West Africa in order to give Germany access to the Zambezi River as part of the Heligoland-Zanzibar Treaty. The German motivation behind the swap was to acquire a strip of land linking German South-West Africa with the Zambezi River, providing easy access to Tanganyika (Tanzania) and an outlet to the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately for the Germans, the British colonisation of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe and Zambia) stopped them well upstream of Victoria Falls, which proved a considerable barrier to navigation on the Zambezi.

During World War I, the Caprivi Strip again came under British rule and was governed as part of Bechuanaland but it received little attention and became known as a lawless frontier. Today approximately 66,000 people live in the Caprivi, mostly as subsistence farmers who make their living on the banks of the Zambezi, Kwando, Linyati and Chobe Rivers.

The strip became of geopolitical importance during the 1980s when it was used as a jumping off point and re-supply route for South African support for the UNITA movement in Angola.

Ethnography

About 80,000 people live in Caprivi, about four percent of Namibia's population. About 17,000 are part of the Lozi ethnic group of 556,000 people, who also live in western Zambia, northwest Zimbabwe (70,000), and northern Botswana (14,000). According to the Ethnologue, the Lozi language is "spoken as lingua franca by all East Caprivians."

There has been ethnic tension between the Lozis and the Ovambos, the majority ethnic group of northern Namibia. This has led to past conflict, including the 1994 formation of the Caprivi Liberation Front, which pushes for Caprivi-Lozi self-rule.

Capital: Katima Mulilo
Largest city: Katima Mulilo
Politics
Governor: Leornard Mwilima (SWAPO)
Ruling party: SWAPO
Representaion in regional government
(6 seats): SWAPO
Last elections: 2008
Next elections: 2012
Population: 90 422
Population density: 4.62 persons/km²
Languages: Silozi, Oshiwambo, English, Afrikaans
Geography
Area: 19,532 km²
of it forested: approx 15,000 km² (70 %)
Rank: 10th of 13 regions
Administrative divisions
Constituencies: 6
Cities: 1
Coordinates: 1730'S 2416'E

Related Maps Accommodation in the area Activities in the area
Hotels Pensions B&Bs Lodges Camping & others
Katima Mulilo General map Lianshulu Lodge - Fish Eagles Nest B&B Mazambala Island Lodge Camp Kwando Boat cruises
Mamili Park Caprivi Protea Hotel Zambezi River Lodge - - Lianshulu Lodge Mazambala Island Lodge Game drives
Kongola Regions Ntwala Island Lodge - - Namushasha Lodge Caprivi Backpackers Fishing trips
Accommodation in Zambia Map Mamili - - - Susuwe Island Lodge Namwi Island camp site Mokoro trails
Rundu - - - - Rainbow River Lodge Protea Hotel Zambezi River Lodge Safari River Boats
Caprivi Game Reserve - - - - Nkasa Lupala Lodge Mukusi Cabins Game drives Mamili
Accommodation in Botswana - - - - Caprivi River Lodge Island View Lodge Game drives Mudumu
History of Caprivi - - - - Ichingo Chobe River Lodge Caprivi Houseboat Safari Lodge -

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