Along the Kowango River

We were still in the very north of Namibia, driving the B10 along the border to Angola until we reached the Kovango, coming from Angola, crossing Namibia and disappearing into the Okovango Delta in Botswana. We were curious, what we would be able to see along the river, and it was a lot.

Walking home from school

Our first stop was at Taranga Lodge, where we could watch the locals fishing from their mokoros. The lodge had a floating bar on the river, the perfect spot for a sundowner.

Our next lodge after passing Rundu was Okacuito River Camp. This was our favourite place along the Kovango River, as it turned out. All the campsites are directly at the river, with your private deck with roof, kitchen, braai and the nicest bathroom we had in all of Namibia! And the view over the river, with a big group of hippos in front of our deck was just perfect. We did 2 boat trips on the river with our host Deon, who showed us many hippos, crocs, but also many birds. If you are into fishing, that would also be the place to go, as Deon is a keen fisherman.

Deon, taking us along the river
All the hippos watching us

We landed exactly where the big croc was just a minute ago. We were told it is safe, so we jumped on the beach and enjoyed the sunset.

Pink gin tonic for sundowner

Besides the hippos and crocs, we were fascinated by the Southern Carmine Bee-eater, a bird nesting in the river bank at this time of the year. We went up the river a second time to get a good view in the morning light.

Southern Carmine Bee-eater

The bee-eater is a migratory species, spending the breeding season, between August and November, in Zimbabwe, Zambia and here in Namibia, before moving as south as South Africa for the summer months, and then migrating to Equatorial Africa from March to August. So maybe we will encounter them again on our journey.

Purple heron
Little bee-eater
Okacuito River Camp
Our private terrace
Okacuito River Camp – highly recommended

Our next stop was the RiverDance Lodge, before Divundu. They only have 4 campsites, but all overlooking the river. We had a nice dinner at their restaurant and went on a sunrise cruise – starting at 6am! The landscape on the river was beautiful, with many rocks, which our captain had to navigate around.

Sunrise at the Kovango
Yellow-billed stork
Marabou stork

Our last stop at the Kavango was south of Divundu at the Ndhovu Safari Lodge, which not only overlooks the river but has the Buffalo National Park on the other side, with many animals coming to the shore to graze and drink. We saw hippos in the water, and water bocks, sable antelopes, warthogs, impalas and elephants on the other shore.

For the game drive to the Buffalo Core Area, we went by boat to the other shore, where a car was waiting for us. We drove trough forest and to flooding plains, where we saw a lot of animals. The highlight of this drive were the lions our guide had spotted for us.

African buffalo – one of the big 5
Sable antelope
3 cubs hiding in the grass

The next day, we went to explore the Mahango Core Area, a national park on our side of the river, where we could drive easily ourselves.

Monkeys feasting on some fruits
Popa Falls

To see the Popa Falls, more rapids than a waterfall, we went to the left shore at White Sands, a lodge still in construction, where a guide showed us to all the lookout points and also explained about the hunting of the bushmen.

African life, roadside butchery

The Kovango is now going to Botswana, where it will disappear in an inland delta, but we will continue east in direction of the Zambesi. More on our next post!

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