The Four Rivers Route

F our Rivers refers to the four river systems that flow through the Kavango and Zambezi (formerly Caprivi) regions, encompassing the Okavango, Kwando, Zambezi and Chobe rivers. The journey into the rich river worlds will allow visitors to experience wildlife, birds and the strong rhythm of Africa’s people. There are over 430 species of birds in the area, making it one of the most popular spots for avid birders in Africa. The Kavango Open Africa Route runs along the northern edge of the country and is a unique experience for travellers in search of an abundance of nature and culture. Visitors can look forward to meeting interesting local communities, finding authentic hand-made crafts and exploring the rivers through activities such as fishing, hiking and canoeing.


Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

Day 1:

Start your route at Nkurenkuru along the banks of the Okavango River, where there is a service station for refuelling. Journey eastwards along the C45. Learn more about local culture at the Mbunza Living Museum near Rundu. The museum is aimed at preserving local traditions and customs. It is situated on the banks of the Samsitu Lake and is a traditional village of the Kavango people, who have lived in the area for centuries. Lodges around Rundu provide rest and comfort, and opportunities to experience the peaceful river life.


Malachite Kingfisher. Photo ©Annabelle Venter

Day 2:

Further east along the banks is the Shambyu Catholic Mission. This self-sufficient centre, located 30 km east of Rundu, includes a school, hostel, workshops, hospital, vegetable gardens, stables and a church. The church is also home to one of the few museums in the north.


Migrating elephants. Photo courtesy Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge

Day 3:

If you’re an adventurous spirit and travelling in a group of at least two 4×4 vehicles, you could attempt a trip south from the river to the Khaudum National Park. The park is a channel for wildlife migrating between Botswana and Namibia and is unfenced, providing for a terrific game-viewing experience. There are two basic campsites, but the park is extremely remote and 4×4 adventurers need to be completely self-sufficient. It is advisable to take a guide along if you are not an experienced off-road driver.


Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

Day 4:

Back north, where the Okavango River cuts through Namibia’s arm leading to its most north-eastern point, is the Andara Mission Station, home to the Andara Catholic Hospital, and the Nyanga Mission, where visitors can learn more about the Hambukushu people.


Popa Falls. Photo ©Paul van Schalkwyk

Day 5:

End your trip at Popa Falls, a series of rapids in the Okavango River, which is one of the last near-pristine ecosystems in Africa. The falls are created by a short drop of four metres and are visible during the dry season when the river is low. NWR recently opened a new camp at Popa Falls. Two rare species of fish are found here: the broadhead catfish and the ocellated spinyeel. It is also a great spot for avid birders and anglers.

For further details or alternative route information, go to

Download the detailed route map

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