Bwabwata National Park – Namibia - Atlas Obscura
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Namibia

Bwabwata National Park

Known as "The People's Park," this verdant oasis is home to elephants and villagers alike.  

Unlike the desert lands of the rest of Namibia, the Bwabwata National Park is fertile and green thanks to the rainfall and the nearby Cunbango River. Located in the Caprivi Strip, Bwabwata is home to both people and wildlife alike, earning it the nickname, The People’s Park. 

Established back in 2007, the Bwabwata National Park is roughly 6,274 square kilometers and known as a key migration route for African elephants traveling from Southern Angola to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Known collectively as the KAZA region, five countries collaborate to protect the majestic pachyderms’ seasonal path: Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

A survey was conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia to and it was found that, in addition to the elephants that pass through Bwabwata, the park is home to an estimated 5,500 people. According to the ministry, “the 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.”

The co-existence of man and animal in the Bwabwata National Park has led to united conservation efforts to both protect the park’s wildlife and improve the lives of the local Caprivian people.

Know Before You Go

Local, private tour operators offer day-trips into the park, while tourism facilities can be found outside the park perimeters, including lodges such as Ngepi Camp, Ndhovu Lodge, and Nunda Safari Lodge.

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