postheadericon Caprivi Strip History

The name of the Caprivi Strip comes from that of Leo von Caprivi, a German politician that negotiated with the British government the acquisition of the area, in 1890. The German colonies present in South West Africa annexed the Caprivi Strip, giving them in theory access to a trading route, via the Zambezi River. The hope would be that the eastern coast of Africa would be reached this way, since Germany had a colony there called Tanganyika. The acquisition proved to be a mistake from that point of view though, since the Zambezi River couldn’t be navigated. Zanzibar was given up by the Germans in order for them to obtain the Heligoland island from the North Sea and the Caprivi Strip.

One reasons why Caprivi Strip gets attention from the world is because both Namibia and Botswana have claims over it. The problem is figuring out which of the Chobe River channels should be the one that is the international boundary between the two countries. The decision would give either one country or the other a big island called Seddudu/Kasikili in the two countries. The ruling of the ICS was that Botswana had the right claim to the island.

There was a conflict as well in the Caprivi Strip, between the CLA (Caprivi Liberation Army) and the government of Namibia. The CLA tried to obtain secession for the region by attacking the Strip’s largest town and taking over the radio station. They also attacked an army based, a border post and a police station. They were defeated by the government within a couple of days. This conflict started in 1999, on August 2nd.

While the recent history of the region might not make it sound like a great place to be if you’re a tourist, the natural beauty and the rich game reserves available here might just make the difference in the future.