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MAHANGO GAME RESERVE & POPA FALLS

NAMIBIA
LOCALE

Area (SqKm):280
# Species*:286
# Excl Vagrants*:286
# Endemics*:0
# Near Endemics*:1
Species/100 SqKm*:102.1
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Swamps, floodplain, woodland

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Mahango Game reserve is a small reserve that was incorporated into Bwabwata National Park in 1999 along with the Caprivi Game Reserve. The reserve offers perhaps the best birding in Namibia. It is largely undeveloped and is most accessible via a rutted gravel road, which is also the main highway through the Caprivi Strip. There are two side tracks in addition to the main road, one for ordinary cars and one for 4-wheel-drive only. The former leads 15 km east to the river and can be impassable during rainy season. The other leads 31 km to the west and offers the best game viewing and birding in the reserve.

There are 3 distinct habitats within the reserve. Habitat along the river is a mix of trees, reedbeds, and grassland. Away from the river the habitat is mainly open woodland with a couple fossil rivers ("omurambas"), the latter covered with open grassland with tall Acacia and bush willow trees along the margins. In the south the habitat is dry woodland with some dense patches of Zambezi teak, seringa, and wild teak.

The park is the best place to see the rare Roan and Sable Antelopes. There are also Reedbuck, Tsessebe, Sitatunga, Red Lechwe, Kudu, Chobe Bushbuck, and Steenbok. There are also Elephant, Hippopotamus, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, and other animals. The birding is splendid, with threatened species such as Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane, and Black-winged Pratincole possible. Other birds of interest include African Openbill, Long-toed Lapwing, Coppery-tailed Coucal, White-browed Coucal, Burchell's Coucal, and a variety of raptors.

LOCATION OF SITE

Mahango Game Reserve is on the western side of Caprivi Strip in northeast Namibia. It's 12 km from Popa Falls and about 232 km from Rundu on the Angola border and is easily reached go good road.