Namibia’s Caprivi Strip: Africa forbidden zone now a wildlife wonderland

Story highlights

Caprivi Strip is a narrow panhandle that separates Botswana and Angola west to east

War pushed away much of its wildlife in the 1970s, but animals have returned since 1990

Less known than other safari areas, Caprivi Strip is growing in popularity for travelers

CNN  — 

If there was ever a candidate for an obscure question on a television quiz show, it’s the Caprivi Strip in northern Namibia.

A classic panhandle, the ultra-narrow strip separates Botswana and Angola as it runs 280 miles (450 km) west to east from the main part of Namibia to the Zambezi River on the eastern border.

For much of its length, the Caprivi is only 20 miles (32 kilometers) wide – a narrow extenuation of national sovereignty matched only by the equally obscure Wakhan Corridor in northern Afghanistan.

There’s a good argument to be made that the Caprivi has played a key role in modern pop history: Both Freddie Mercury and a band called Queen may never have existed without the strip’s creation. More on that later.

As a tourist destination, the Caprivi has only recently come into its own. It was off limits to safari seekers and other outsiders during the long border war that once raged in this region,

Its attractions are manifold: copious wildlife, a warren of navigable waterways, several large national parks and very few human residents.

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