The National Parks of Namibia- /Ai /Ais and Bwabwata


A few months ago we had a look at two national parks in Namibia that you may not have been familiar with (you can find that post here). Today we will once more be looking at two less well-known parks that you can visit in Namibia: The /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and Bwabwata National Park.

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The /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park at sunset.
(Image via Safari Bookings)

 

/Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

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A lone quiver tree in the transfrontier park.
(Image via Peace Parks)

 

This park can be found at the southern most tip of Namibia and is jointly managed by Namibia and South Africa. This peace park straddles the border of the two countries and was formed when the /Ai /Ais Hot Springs Game Park was merged with South Africa’s Richtersveld National Park in 2003.

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A map of the peace park.
(Image via Peace Parks)

 

The reserve is part of the Succulent Karoo biome and is famed for its variety of strange and wonderful flora with the biome being home to almost a third of the world’s succulent species. The bizarre looking “halfmens” (Afrikaans for “semi-human”) can only be found in this part of southern Africa.

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Seen from a distance these rare plants appear human-like.
(Image via Ask Nature)

 

Further from the border, on the Namibian side of the park, is where you will find Africa’s largest (and the world’s second largest) canyon: The Fish River Canyon. This mighty and ancient formation is a well-known attraction to many in Namibia and the world over and is always worth visiting if you find yourself in the south of the country.

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The mighty Fish River Canyon.
(Image via Freedom Territory)

 

It’s not just the flora and the scenery that draw visitors to this park. There is an abundance of birdlife at the Orange River mouth which has led this area to be designated as an official Ramsar site. This wetland area is home to the Cape cormorant, Damara tern, Ludwig's Bustard, the Lesser Flamingo and Hartlaub's gull. The site is of particular ecological value as it is a wetland in a largely arid region.

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The mouth of the Orange River seen from the air.
(Image via Dlist)

 

While this park is one of the most biodiverse and plant rich arid biomes in the world it is unique for another, and very human, reason. It is one of the few places that the nomadic Nama people of southern Africa still live out there traditional lives.

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A group of Nama people in front of a hut in 1906.
(Image via Wikimedia)

 

Click here Namibia Wildlife Resort’s hot-spring spa that you can stay at while exploring this transfrontier park. 

AI AI

The resort is located on the Namibian side of the Orange River.
(Image via NWR)

 

Bwabwata National Park

BWAINTRO

A view of the lush naitonal park.
(Image via Foto Community)

 

This national park was officially opened in 2007 when the Mahango Game Reserve and the Caprivi Game Park where merged to form one park that is located in the riverine and lush Zambezi and the Kavango regions of north east Namibia.

MAPBWAThe location of Bwabwata.
(Image via MET)

 

As we have mentioned a few times before, the north east of Namibia is ecologically very distinct from the rest of the country. It is criss-crossed with perennial rivers and is teeming with loads of flora and fauna. In Bwabwata one of the main attractions are the migratory elephants that journey through the park.

ELLIE

A small herd of migratory elephants.
(Image via Wikimedia)

 

The park is also home to lions, cheetahs, leopards and several other large mammals including (but not limited to) African buffalo and sable antelope. As with much of Namibia’s north-east there is also an abundance of birdlife within Bwabwata’s borders. The western part of the park has been declared an Important Bird Area and is home to hundreds of species of bird.

WATTLE

Two Wattled Cranes flying into the sunset.
(Image via Travel News Namibia)

 

The park is also unique in that it is home to over 5000 people who live within the park. The permanent residents of the park have always lived in this region of Namibia and are mostly from the Khwe San Bushmen minority group. The Namibian government co-manages the park with these people and there are several community-based tourism co-ventures within the park. This ensures that people who have always lived on this land enjoy the benefits and profits of having a fully functioning national park. 

Life in the park.

 

If you want to stay a few nights within in the park then you should check out Namibia Wildlife Resort’s Popa Falls Resort.

POPA

The Popa Falls Resort seen from across the Kavango River.
(Image via NWR)

 

While exploring Namibia it can be very rewarding to veer a little bit off the traditional tourist routes, and to augment your travel itinerary with visits slightly less well-known locations like these two national parks. 

Happy planning! 

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