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Mudumu National Park

Mudumu National Park, one of Namibia’s least-known parks, is richly rewarding for adventurous visitors. The main attraction is the riverine habitat of the Kwando River, while inland the Mudumu Mulapo fossilised river course and the dense mopane woodland shelter woodland species. There is no formal entrance gate or park fence – the park is separated from neighbouring communal farmland by a graded cutline.

Mudumu is home to a large elephant population. The park acts as a corridor for these pachyderms as they migrate between Botswana, Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe.

In recent years, Mudumu has become the model for co- operation between parks and neighbours. The parks, conservancies, community forests and traditional leaders work together on law enforcement, fire management (early burning), game monitoring and translocations. This evolved from the need to manage common resources across unfenced park and conservancy boundaries.

Proclamation: Mudumu National Park in 1990

Park size 1 010 km2 (737 on cutline)

Natural features: Kwando River floodplain and associated grasslands, and riparian woodlands. The area is completely flat.

Vegetation: Tree and Shrub Savannah Biome.

Vegetation types: North-eastern Kalahari Woodlands, Riverine Woodlands and Islands, Caprivi Mopane Woodland and Caprivi Floodplains. Mopane (Colophospermum mopane), leadwood (Combretum imberbe) and mangosteen (Garcinia livingstonii) trees.

Wildlife: Elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, spotted hyaena, cheetah, African wild dog, hippo, crocodile, spotted-necked otter, sitatunga, red lechwe, common impala, Burchell’s zebra, sable antelope, eland, wildebeest and giraffe. Tigerfish and tilapia are common fish species. The 430 bird species recorded in Mudumu include African Fish-Eagle, African Skimmer and Western-banded Snake-Eagle.

Tourism: Walking, bird-watching, game viewing. Camping at Nakatwa Camp. Visitors must provide their own water, food and fuel. Two privately managed lodges within the park with luxurious accommodation. Located within a high-risk malaria area. Precautions necessary. Note signs indicating 4×4 vehicles. Two vehicles are recommended during the rainy season. Permits are obtainable at the MET offices in Windhoek, Katima Mulilo, Susuwe in Bwabwata National Park and Nakatwa in Mudumu National Park.

Key management issues: Poaching remains a threat due to poverty of surrounding neighbours. Staff conduct monthly anti-poaching patrols within the park, assisted by game guards from neighbouring conservancies.

Fire is a management tool but can be a destructive force. Much of the Caprivi burns each year. An early burning programme (May–July), creates firebreaks for fires in the hot season and provides a ‘green bite’ for important wildlife species. Increasing numbers of elephants and predators result in human-wildlife conflict, particularly as the park is unfenced.

Future Plans: The Ngenda Ranger Station will be developed into park headquarters with a gate entrance and a visitor centre. The existing Nakatwa Ranger Station will be closed and staff relocated to Ngenda. Nakatwa will be developed as an upper/ mid-market tourism concession.

Further campsites are to be developed at Mvubu, Balyerwa, Hippo Pool and Maziba.

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