Mudumu National Park is one of five in north-eastern Namibia that work together to ensure both community and wildlife can co-exist. The fantastic initiative is managed as a unit with Bwabwata, Khaudom, Mangetti and Nkasa Rupara National Parks.
In the grander scheme of things, these incredibly remote parks also fall within the Kavango–Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area or KaZa TFCA. A crucial trans-boundary corridor for unimpeded wildlife migration between Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
Like much of this area, the park has suffered from heavy poaching but is slowly recovering with the help of all these initiatives. Indeed Mudumu has become the model for co- operation between parks and its neighbours. The parks, conservancies, community forests and traditional leaders now work together on game monitoring and translocations.
It is one of Namibia’s least-known parks, but with the wildlife recovering, it is richly rewarding for adventurous visitors. The main attraction is the riverine habitat of the Kwando River, while inland is the Mudumu Mulapo fossilised river course and the dense mopane woodland shelter woodland species.
As with the other parks in the area, it is an incredibly remote part of Namibia so getting there definitely requires careful planning. The nearest international airport in Namibia is in Windhoek. A good 1200kms away.
Self-drivers are warned to travel in convoy and with little if any amenities along the way or in the area, will need to be completely prepared. There is no formal entrance gate or park fence – the park is separated from neighbouring communal farmland by a graded cutline.
By car, Mudumu is approximately 1,150km/715mi from the town of Windhoek. Found within the Zambezi Region, it is mostly visited on a self-drive safari. The road conditions are often poor and sometimes unnavigable.
Most visitors enter Namibia via Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) located 40km/25mi east of Windhoek. This is where you should rent your 4x4 if driving yourself. You may decide to forgo driving altogether and choose a fly-in trip comprised of charters between various parks and lodges. Lianshulu Lodge, located inside the park, has a private airstrip.
It best geographical feature, the Kwando River, is also what makes it a fantastic spot for wildlife and birding. The river runs along the bottom of Mudumu National Park creating glossy waterways in contrast to its woodland interior. The lush riverbanks are home to lechwe, rare sitatungas and hippos and is an obvious draw card for all animals.
Because of its history of poaching, wildlife is particularly shy in the park but that is slowly improving.
Expect to see good herds of elephant and buffalo as well as a variety of water-loving antelope. Of the big cats, lion is most often encountered, but still rare. Several species have been re-introduced, including giraffe, eland and the majestic sable antelope.
The tranquil river and woodland habitats harbour a tremendous variety of species of birds too. Well over 400, including cranes, coucals and gorgeously colourful carmine bee-eaters.
Summer in Mudumu National Park runs from November to April, while winter extends from May through October. The wet Summer weather rarely restricts activities here, although the heat of September and October can have an impact.
The drier months of winter see animals congregate at permanent waterholes, making the most of the reliable water supply. In the wetter months, the remaining animals tend to disappear into the thick vegetation.
Anti-malarials are recommended when visiting Mudumu NP. Additional precautions are necessary as well, such as keeping your skin covered in the evening, and applying mosquito repellent.
As this park is still relatively unknown and unexplored, self-driving into the area would be the best bet.
Travellers embarking on this, need to be completely prepared. All food and water must be planned with a strong advisal to be in convoy. The area is incredibly remote and with no warden in the park, a good wildlife knowledge is essential!
Mudumi National Park is still growing in interest and tourism. The result of which is so for the time being, there is little to no infrastructure. There’s just one very basic campsite in the park, plus one well-established lodge, with a couple more nearby.