Caprivi Strip

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Namibia's Caprivi Strip is a long narrow extension of land, running about 450 km from the north-east corner of the main body of the country to the flood-plains and islands of the Zambezi River. Named after Chancellor Bismark's successor, Leo Graf von Caprivi, the strip was ceded to colonial Germany by the British. At the time Germany and Portugal wanted both to stop the northward advance of British colonialism and then join their own East African colonies (Tanzania and Mozambique) to their western colonies (now Namibia and Angola).

Cecil Rhodes was quicker off the mark and was able to bamboozle tribal leaders in what is now Botswana, Zambia and Malawi into agreements with his British South Africa Company, thereby halting the German and Portuguese plan. The Germans, however, came to an understanding with the British government and were ceded the Caprivi Strip in order to give them riparian access to the Zambezi. Why the British did this is anyone's guess, but the oddities of a colonial past have certainly opened opportunities for birders.

With more than 450 species recorded in this small area and a reasonably good infrastructure, the Caprivi Strip is one of southern Africa's top birding spots. For birders in pursuit of Okavango specials, such as Slaty Egret and Coppery-tailed Coucal it has the distinct advantage of costing a fraction of the amount one would spend on a journey in neighbouring Botswana.