Open Africa
Open Africa

Kavango Open Africa Route


Mbunza Living Museum
Mbunza Living Museum is a community project to preserve local traditions and customs for generations to come. Supported...

Shamatapa Cultural Village
Shamatapa Cultural Village is the first of its kind in Kavango region and Mukwe Constituency in particular. The village...



Below is a list of accommodation establishments along this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Camp Hogo
Facilities: Camping, tenting and self-catering accommodation available; Bar on the premises; Open-air ablution bloc...

Mahangu Safari Lodge
Mahangu Safari Lodge offers accommodation in 10 double bed bungalows with air-conditioning, six air-conditioned safari t...

Divava Okavango Lodge & Spa
True to our motto “African Charm, Wildlife, Wellness & Nature”, Divava Okavango Lodge & Spa welcomes...

Kaisosi River Lodge
The Kaisosi River Lodge is situated 7km East of Rundu, in the North East of Namibia on the banks of the perennial Okavan...

Kavango River Lodge
The Okavango River forms part of the Okavango Delta, the world's largest inland delta system which flows freely through...

Kayova River Lodge
Kayova River Lodge offers the following: Conference facilities for 20 people (maximum); A restaurant; Bar; Eight d...

N//Gaobaca Community Campsite
N//Gaobaca meaning ‘boiling water’ is the Kxoe name for Popa Falls. Situated on the eastern bank of the Okav...

Ndhovu Safari Lodge
Approximately 20km southeast of the Divundu Bridge along road D3403 (C48), just behind the Popa Falls, is the turn-off t...

Ngandu Safari Lodge
Ngandu Safari Lodge is situated in Rundu town and offers visitors a pristine view over the Kavango River, the Southern W...

Ngepi Camp
Ngepi Camp is situated in the unspoiled upper reaches of the Okavango delta panhandle in the western Caprivi strip,...

Nunda Safaris & Lodge
Nunda Safari Lodge, situated in the Caprivi strip of Namibia, is an experience you will seldom encounter on the African...

Omashare Hotel
Omashare Hotel is situated in the heart of Rundu and very easily accessible. With efficient and friendly staff providing...

Rainbow River Lodge
Facilities and activities available include: 20 Semi luxury chalets with an en-suite bathroom, roof fans, two ¾...

RiverDance Lodge
Your hosts Valentino and Karin, owner managed look forward in welcoming you at RiverDance. Our Lodge comprises of stunni...

Samsitu Riverside Camp
Samsitu Riverside Camp is an ideal destination for camping groups of 10-30 people.  Activities are focused on the...

Shamvura Camp
Shamvura Camp is the only tourism accommodation facility within a 50km radius, providing access to visitors to more than...

Tambuti Lodge
Tambuti Lodge is situated 50m from the river floodplain and 250m from the Rundu town center. Tambuti Lodge is easily acc...

Taranga Safari Lodge
Taranga Safari Lodge offers a few intimate open-fronted luxury riverbank cottages situated amongst tall riverine trees o...

Shametu River Lodge Camping
Shametu River Lodge Camping offers excellent views of the Popa Falls and is located within easy driving distance of Bwab...

N'kwazi Lodge and Campsite
N’Kwazi Lodge offers accommodation in 18 en-suite chalets. There is also a massive campsite under shaded trees wit...

Sarasungu River Lodge
Sarusungu River Lodge offers lovely thatched roof accommodation, thriving birdlife, lush green lawns and a variety of in...

Mobola Lodge
Accommodation: Mobola Lodge offers accommodation in three bungalows (one family bungalow for 4-6 persons and two double...


Below is a list of arts and crafts outlets and projects on this route. Booking and enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Crockango Angling Club
Crockango Angling Club aims to provide the best facilities and information to its members, as well as to promote the int...

   Food & Drink

Below is a list of restaurants and other food and beverage outlets on this route. Bookings and enquiries can be made directly with the establishment.

Forget-Me-Not Coffee Shop
Forget-Me-Not Coffee Shop is a quaint coffee shop located in the main street of Rundu. They offer a variety of freshly b...


Below is a list of services on this route. Enquiries can be made directly with the business.

Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute (KIFI)
Kamutjonga Inland Fisheries Institute (KIFI) provides various services to the local farmers and fishermen within the Kav...

CYMOT is a privately owned Namibian company which was founded in 1948. Since then it has grown to become a leader in sup...

Tyre Rack
Tyre Rack offers the following services: Wheel and tyre fitment; Wheel balancing; Wheel alignment; Puncture repair...

Oceano Atlantica Supermarket (W&B)
Oceano Atlantica Supermarket is a general dealer that sells groceries, they have a bakery and butchery and offer take-aw...

Stephens Photolab
Stephens Photolab offers the following services and products for sale: Photocopying; Copies; Memory sticks; Memory...

Pupkewitz Megabuild
Pupkewitz Megabuild is a supplier of general hardware, tools and equipment in Rundu.


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The Kavango Open Africa Route is based on the riverine landscapes of the Kavango, its people, birds and wildlife. This unique travel route is situated in north-eastern Namibia and roughly stretches from Mpungu in the west to Divundu in the east, incorporating Mahango and the Khaudum Game Park in the south. The extensive waterless areas that isolates this route from the rest of Namibia is possibly the major reason why this area was only discovered by early explorers very late during the nineteenth century, and remains undiscovered by tourists in many ways today. The Kavango River offers numerous activities such as sunset cruises, fishing and game viewing. Apart from being a wildlife habitat, a source of livelihood for the Kavango people and a tourist attraction; the Kavango River is a natural boundary between Namibia and Angola for more than 400 kilometres.

The southern winter (May-September) in Namibia is characterised by pleasant daytime temperatures (about 25°C), while the nights are very cold; often below zero. During the summer months, daytime temperatures can soar to well over 30°C while nights bring little relief. This is a malaria risk area and it is important to consult your doctor and take suitable precautions. 

Reasons to visit

Visitors to the area can experience attractions such as Khaudum Game Park, the small, but well stocked Mahango Game Reserve and the Popa Falls.  The area needs more than a day or two to truly explore as the wealth of cultural and natural attractions will easily keep you occupied. 

Hotspots for wildlife and birding include the Khaudum National Park, Mahango and Bwabwata National Parks and the Kavango River. The Kavango River and Mahango Game Park are also listed as important bird areas. The route has high numbers of game including large herds of elephants, giraffe, wildebeest, sable and roan, lion, impala, tsessebe, zebra, buffalo, leopard and hyena. Some bird specials include grey-headed parrot, sharp-tailed starling, black coucal, ground hornbill and western red-footed kestrel (seasonal). The Kavango River also boasts an active population of hippopotamus and crocodiles. 

Rundu is situated on the banks of the Kavango River and offers scenic river views. This rapidly growing town is the administrative centre and main economic hub of the Kavango region. The area produces mahangu (millet), cattle, goats and wood carvings. Due to its close proximity to Angola, Rundu has a slight Portuguese influence. The closest large towns are Katima Mulilo, around 500 kilometres to the east, and Grootfontein, 250 kilometres to the south west. Many tourists use Rundu as a stopover when heading to, or from Etosha National Park and on to the Caprivi Strip, Bwabwata National Park, Mudumu National Park, the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. 

With the expansion of tourism into the area one of the most important local industries has become wood carving. Useful items such as wooden spoons and bowls as well as masks and ornaments are carved at a variety of locations in and around Rundu. Some of the skills used in the carving have been handed down through the generations.

The earliest Namibians were San people, a nomadic tribe with a survival-oriented culture based on hunting and gathering. Their clans were small and rarely united, and their military technology was so weak that, even before the arrival of the Europeans, they had been pushed back to the desert margins. Rock paintings and engravings at Twvfelfontein, in northwest Namibia have shed light on the early San hunter-gatherers who once inhabited the area. Stone artefacts, human figures, and animals such as giraffes, rhinoceroses, and zebras are depicted on rock walls.

Available sources reveal that, the present day Kavango tribe migrated from East Africa and belongs to the Bantu speaking people consisting of five ethnic groups which include the Kwangali, Hambukushu, Mbunza, Shambyu and Gciriku.

Colonial period

The first European to set foot on Namibian soil was the Portuguese Diogo Cão in 1485, followed by another Portuguese, Bartholomeu Dias, who stopped at what today is Walvis Bay and Lüderitz (which he named Angra Pequena) on his way to round the Cape of Good Hope. 

The actual colonisation of the present day Namibia by the Europeans can be traced back to the activities of a German trader Adolf Lüderitz in 1883 at Angra Peguena who turned it into a trading station, renamed it Lüderitz and concluded treaties with the neighbouring chiefs.

Over a period of hundred years the tribes living inland from the arid coastal strip of the Namib desert, suffered some of the harshest experiences of modern colonial history - at the hands first of the Germans and subsequently of South Africa. German direct rule never extended to the north.

Early Missionaries

One of the first European groups to show interest in Namibia was the missionaries. In 1805 the London Missionary Society began working in Namibia, moving north from the Cape Colony.  In the 1840's the German Rhenish Mission Society started working in Namibia and co-operated with the London Missionary Society. During 1903 the first expedition by Catholic missionaries reached the Kavango at Nkurenkuru, in the north eastern corner of the Kavango. 

The first missionaries founded the mission station in Nyangana around 1910. More followed soon and in 1914 Andara, 1927 Tondoro and 1929, the Bunya mission stations were established. In 1930 the Catholic Shambyu Mission was founded 30km east of Rundu at the Okavango River. This mission is completely self-sufficient. Besides the dwellings, it has a school, numerous workshops, a hospital, extended vegetable gardens, stables for the cattle and a church at its centre. The missions were enclaves of prosperity that offered work, education and medical care and attracted many Kavango people from Angola. For a long time they were the only development aid organisations in the region.


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Open Africa Routes

A route is a cluster of travel attractions, accommodation, tour operators, local artisans, guides and restaurants. It brings people together from all levels of community to promote travel to their area. You select what interests you on a route and create your own itinerary.

Part of Four Rivers Route.



The Kavango Open Africa Route is based on the riverine landscapes of the Kavango, its people, birds and wildlife. This unique travel route is situated in north-eastern Namibia.

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Key Contacts

Mark Paxton

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