Bwabwata National Park

The park  was first proclaimed as the Caprivi Game Reserve in 1966 and  upgraded to the Caprivi Game Park in 1968. It was  gazetted as the Bwabwata National Park  in 2007 and incorporated the former Mahango Game Reserve. The park has had a chequered history as it was declared a military area by the South African Defence Force during Namibia’s war of liberation. It was not until after  Independence in 1990 that the park could be properly run as a conservation area.

A survey  was  conducted in  the  park  at  Independence to investigate the status of the fauna and flora after the military occupation and   to assess the circumstances of the 5 000 people living in it. This survey laid the foundation for  the  current management approach in the park, which incorporates the needs of the people living there. The survey also laid the foundation for the zoning of the park, which has a  core  conservation area in the  west  along  the  Okavango River, a multiple use area in the central part  of the park and a core conservation area in the east along the Kwando River.

Development of infrastructure, provision  of equipment and park planning are being supported by the German Government  through KFW and implemented by Namibia Parks Programme (NAMPARKS).

Park  size: 6 100 km²

Proclamation: Bwabwata National Park  in 2007

Natural features: Low vegetated sand  dunes with old drainage lines (omurambas) in between. The Okavango River in the west and the Kwando River in the east.

Vegetation:  Broad-Leafed Kalahari Woodland  with trees such as Zambezi Teak and false Mopane on the sandy areas, and Camel-Thorn And Leadwood in the Omurambas. Reeds  and papyrus occur on the Floodplains, which are lined with trees such as Jackal-Berry, Mangosteen, Knob Thorn  and Makalani Palm.
 
Wildlife: Large concentrations of Elephant and Buffalo, also Sable and Roan Antelope occur in the park. Main predators include Lion, Leopard, Cheetah and Hyaena. Bwabwata is one of the last  refuges of the wild dogs in Namibia. Common  Reedbuck, Red lechwe, Sitatunga and Hippo occur along the rivers.  Birds include  Wattled Crane,  African Skimmer, Western- banded Snake  Eagle, Wood Owl, Pel’s Fishing Owl, Narina Trogon, Cape Parrot, and both Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers.
 
Tourism:  Most tourism facilities are outside the park, run by private operators who offer day trips  into the park. Two conservancy-operated tourism facilities are located on the Kwando River inside the park and they are Nambwa (Mayuni Conservancy) and Susuwe (Kwando Conservancy). The Kyaramacan Association runs N//goabaca Campsite at Popa Falls on the east bank of the Okavango River. Namibia Wildlife Resorts operates the Popa Falls Rest Camp on the west bank of the river. Most tourists are self-drive campers from overseas, Southern Africa region or local.