Khaudum Game Reserve

Khaudum National Park                       
Khaudum Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1989. In February 2007, the reserve was given national park status. Size: 3 842 km2. Found in the north east of the country bordering on Botswana. Densely wooded wilderness that harbours several big game species e.g. elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena, jackal and African wild dogs and about 320 bird species, 4x4 vehicles are available to visitors but fuel is only available at Bagani, Divundu, Mukwe and Rundu in the Kavango region. 12 waterholes (artificial), two natural fountains. All the watering holes can be reached by vehicle, as two-track roads interlink the park in its entirety. Most of the watering holes have hides from which tourists can safely view wildlife.

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Khaudum National Park                    
Discover the Khaudum National Park
Hidden away in Namibia’s north-eastern Kavango Region, the Khaudum National Park is not to be taken lightly. Rarely visited, very large, extremely wild and with only a rudimentary tourist infrastructure, it could be described as Namibia’s ‘forgotten wilderness’. If you have an adventurous streak, however, forgetting it would be a big mistake! Master the rugged 4x4 trails that weave through plains and thick Kalahari forests. The trails may come as a shock to those used to ‘the path well travelled’ – the park receives fewer visitors than elephants in a year. Relax at one of the stateof-the art hides and enjoy watching the wildlife that congregates around the waterholes. The Khaudum is home to large herds of elephants and the African wild dog (Africa’s most endangered large predator). Listen, not only to the sounds of the wild, but also to the voices of the local people and Ministry of Environment and Tourism personnel. In their stories of demon elephants, spirits, rescues, ordeals, struggle and strange events, the park comes alive.

A borderless park
Only the border with Botswana and a 55-km section of the western border of the park are fenced in the Khaudum National Park. This open-park system ensures that wildlife can pursue hereditary migratory routes to and from the water-rich Kavango River and floodplains, including the Okavango Delta, a mere 150 km from the park boundary. Thus wildlife migratory routes link Namibia, Botswana and Angola under a protective legislative coat. In addition, the Khaudum is the only park in Namibia that protects the
Northern Kalahari Sandveld biome, portrayed as forest savannah and woodland. Interspersed with flat, clay pans and a series of omiramba, a Herero word meaning ‘vague river beds’ that provide water most of the year, the park attracts wildlife and visitors year round. Renown for its leopard population, the Khaudum National 
Park is also one of the few refuges in which rare and endangered species such as roan antelope and African wild dog can roam freely, underlining the important conservation status of the park.

A long, varied history
For millennia, the land in and around where the Khaudum National Park now stands has been home to clans of hunter/gatherers. Yet with the disruption of traditional social systems, these groups inhabit a cultural hinterland in conservancies and villages around the park that blends ancient and modern. Hunting within park boundaries is prohibited but conservation-driven community development is fuelled by the existence of the Khaudum National Park. The absence of fences allows free movement of wildlife into locally owned land, enhancing tourism potential and providing much-needed income to communities. The Gciriku Traditional Authority, Muduva Nyangana and George Mukoya conservancies will soon benefit directly from the two tourist camps within the park, Sikeretti Camp in the south and Khaudum Camp in the north. Entering an age of conservation where the protection of wildlife and the support of rural communities goes hand in hand, these camps will be privately run in conjunction with the local conservancies.

Off the beaten track
The Khaudum National Park is all about adventure, and half of the adventure is simply getting there! The Ministry of Environment and Tourism recommends a minimum of two vehicles per party, provisions for three days and 100 litres of water per vehicle per day. Travel is slow, heavy on fuel, and your 4x4 must be constantly engaged. Within the park, tracks tend to follow omurambas or link several waterholes together. There are two access points to Khaudum National Park. From the south you can enter via the Tsumkwe road. From the north, use the Katere road. All roads, including the access points, require 4x4 vehicles, due to heavy, loose sand. There is no fuel available in the park. The closest fuel stations are Grootfontein (360 km from Sikeretti camp), Tsumkwe (only provides Diesel and Petrol 93 leaded type – 60 km from Sikeretti Camp), Rundu (170 km from Khaudum Camp) and Bagani/Divundu (150 km from Khaudum Camp). There is a state clinic on the Katere-Khaudum camp road that is approximately 37 km from Khaudum Camp.

Basic camping facilities exist at Sikeretti and Khaudum, yet keep in mind that for supplies the nearest places are Grootfontein and Rundu. No fresh produce is available within Khaudum or surrounding villages. The water at both Khaudum and Sikeretti is suitable for drinking. Be sure to drink plenty of water daily, as dehydration is common in these areas. At Tsumkwe (closest village to the Khaudum) the medical infrastructure is limited to a nurse.

Approximately 436 mm of rain annually, starting November and lasting up to April.
Average minimum 7ºC during July (winter) and average maximum 38ºC.
Temperatures can reach 45ºC during summer months.

Large wildlife
Huge numbers of elephants occupy the park during the dry season. Over 3 500 animals have been counted during annual full-moon game counts and aerial surveys. Other species include roan antelope, giraffe, eland, tsessebe, kudu, gemsbok, reedbuck, ostrich, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, warthog, lion, wild dog, leopard, spotted hyaena and side-striped jackal.

Over 320 different bird species make use of the park, including the rare and endangered ground hornbill, African hobby falcon, racket-tailed roller, sharp-tailed starling, bateleur, tawny eagle, white-backed and lappetfaced vulture, Bradfield’s hornbill, coppery-tailed and Senegal coucal, rufous-bellied tit and black-faced babbler.During the rainy season, visitors to the park include Abdim’s storks, yellow-billed kites, steppe and lesser spotted eagles, blue-cheeked and carmine bee-eaters and the African golden orioles.

Landscape and vegetation
The Khaudum National Park is laced with a network of omiramba (plural of omuramba, a Herero word for an ephemeral river). These dry riverbeds act as ideal routes for wildlife through a landscape that is often heavily forested. The Khaudum National Park subdivides into two major vegetation zones. In the northern half, thick sand with tall standing woodland forests reign, while in the southern part of the park, calcrete and clay dictate shorter growths of shrub and bush. In the north, the following species are dominant: false mopane, wild seringa, Zambezi teak, Kalahari apple-leaf, silver cluster-leaf, coffee buhinia, kiaat, manketti, leadwood, African wattle, sickle-bush, sandveld acacia, black-thorn acacia, candlepod thorn, camel-thorn, buffalo thorn and russet combretum. In the south, the following species are dominant: purple-pod cluster leaf, kudu bush, lavender croton, russet bushwillow, blade thorn and a number of the trees as listed under the northern section. There are baobabs in the western section of the park.

The Khaudum National Park consists of an undulating sand plain, the sandveld, in the north. Rare, small, flat ridges of finer-grained red sand, which are interpreted as relic dunes, rest on this plain. The south-eastern part of the park is characterised by large fossil dunes. The southwestern part is known as the hardveld: bedrock areas of quartzite and subordinate phyllite alternate with shallow, sandy to loamy soils. Mostly inconspicuous calcrete terraces occur in the vicinity of dry rivers.