The 320 km² Nkasa Rupara National Park (previously known as Mamili NP) is one of Namibia’s best kept secrets. This remote and seldom visited park is a veritable haven that is reminiscent of Botswana’s Okavango Delta – with no luxury camps and a whole lot less visitors.
Found in East Caprivi, this remote park is made up of river channels, bird laden wetlands and islands boasting large numbers of wildlife. It is the biggest wetland conservation area in Namibia, and its relative inaccessibility makes it a truly wild African frontier.
There are no luxury lodges in the park, and it is mostly navigated on self-drive safaris. 4 x 4 tracks make their way through Nkasa Rupara and intrepid travellers can take on the park with no guide, at their own risk of course.
There is an annual flood risk in the rainy season, and therefore camping is not advised, and visitors should handle the roads, rivers and other obstacles with caution. As there are hippo families and huge Nile crocodiles that lay await in the most of the park’s waterways.
The main islands of Nkasa and Lupala are found in the Kwando/Linyati River and during the dry months are accessible over land, however, the rainy season floods almost 80% of them making them largely inaccessible. This also provides a sanctuary for huge number of birds and other animals. This is the area which has the largest numbers of recorded bird species in the entire country, and during the dry season massive herds of elephant populate the islands.
The flora in the park is exquisite with vast floodplains, tall reeds, woodlands, marshes and savannah all found within the park. This variety of vegetation offers a home to many different species of wildlife including lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, spotted hyena, giraffe and the rare sitatunga (among many others).
Visitors are unlikely to see any other tourists in the park, with only thunderstorms as their ever-present companions. Fuel, water and food all need to be taken along and entry permits need to be obtained.
The Nkasa Rupara is certainly one of the wildest parks in the country and makes one of the most exciting self-drive destinations in Southern Africa.