Mamili National Park was officially proclaimed along with the nearby Mudumu National Park on 1 March 1990. In 2012, the Namibian Government renamed the area as Nkasa Rupara National Park.
The former name, Mamili, referred to a family of traditional leaders of the Mafwe tribe with that surname. The new name, Nkasa Rupara, is a reference to two Kwando River islands within the park’s territory.
Namibia’s largest wet wonderland
In a vast arid country, Nkasa Rupara National Park holds the distinction of being the largest wetland area with conservation status in Namibia. Nkasa Rupara NP was proclaimed in 1990, shortly before Namibia’s Independence. And there is much to celebrate about this wet wonderland. The 318-km2 Nkasa Rupara NP protects the flora and fauna living within a complex channel of reed beds, lakes and islands that make up the Linyanti swamps. Spectacular herds of elephant, buffalo, red lechwe and reedbuck are among the highlights of any game-viewing experience. But be careful, the waters are also home to five-metre-long crocodiles and families of hippopotamus, which venture onto the floodplains at night to feed. During the rainy season, areas of the park can become flooded and inaccessible, yet it remains a sanctuary for birds. With more species of birds recorded here than anywhere else in Namibia, the Park is a birdwatcher's paradise.
A uniquely Namibian edge
The Kwando River cuts a wide, wild path through Southern Africa. From its source in the Angolan highlands, the Kwando flows for 1 000 km before it changes direction sharply, turning southwest at the border between Namibia and Botswana, to become the Linyanti River. At the southern edge of Nkasa Rupara National Park, it is possible to straddle the banks of the Kwando and Linyanti rivers. Sound odd? That’s just the beginning. The change in the river’s course heralds many other surprises in this dynamic environmental system. The park is dominated by wetlands, with shifting channels and floodplains. Several ‘islands,’ including Nkasa and Lupala, rise gently above the wetlands. The combination of water, reeds, trees and dense grass attracts wildlife in abundance. Lightning from thunderstorms literally ignites the ground, sparking fires that temporarily burn above and below the earth. Nkasa Rupara NP beautifully mirrors Botswana’s Okavango-style wetland wilderness with an edge that is uniquely Namibian.