Kavango Region


Kavango Region
Former Region
Location of the Kavango Region in Namibia
Location of the Kavango Region in Namibia
Coordinates: 17°55′S 19°45′E / 17.917°S 19.750°E / -17.917; 19.750Coordinates: 17°55′S 19°45′E / 17.917°S 19.750°E / -17.917; 19.750
 • Total48,742 km2 (18,819 sq mi)
 • Total223,352
 • Density4.6/km2 (12/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+2 (CAT)

Kavango (before 1998: Okavango)[3] was one of the thirteen regions of Namibia until it was split into the Kavango East and Kavango West Regions in 2013. Its capital was Rundu.

In the north, Kavango bordered the Cuando Cubango Province of Angola, and in the southeast the North-West District of Botswana. Domestically, it bordered the following regions:

Because of its rather higher rainfall than most other parts of Namibia, this region had agricultural potential for the cultivation of a variety of crops, as well as for organised forestry and agro-forestry, which stimulated furniture making and related industries.

Khaudum National Park and Mahango Game Park are located in the region.


The region was subdivided into nine electoral constituencies: Mpungu, Kahenge, Kapako, Rundu Rural West, Rundu Urban, Rundu Rural East, Mashare, Ndiyona, and Mukwe.

Ambrosius Haingura, a prominent SWAPO organizer during the Namibian War of Independence, served as the region's first Regional Governor from 1993 to 1995.[4] Maurus Nekaro, the Governor of Kavango Region from December 2010, died in office on March 4, 2013.[5] Samuel Mbambo was appointed as Kavango's last Governor in April 2013.[6]

The Fourth Delimitation Commission of Namibia, responsible for recommending on the country's administrative divisions suggested in August 2013 to split the Kavango Region into two. The president Hifikepunye Pohamba enacted the recommendations. As a result, the new Regions of Kavango East and Kavango West have been created.[7]


The region was characterised by an extremely uneven population distribution. The interior is very sparsely inhabited, while the northernmost strip, especially along the Kavango River, has a high population concentration. Largest urban settlements were the capital Rundu and the towns of Nkurenkuru and Divundu.

Economy and infrastructure

Kavango was the region with the highest poverty level in Namibia, more than 50% of the population were classified as poor.[8] According to the 2012 Namibia Labour Force Survey, unemployment in the Kavango Region is 29.8%.[9] Economic activities included farming and tourism. Subsistence fishing also played a role in the nutrition of the people residing near the Kavango River.

Kavango had 323 schools with a total of 77,314 pupils.[10]


There was a particular dearth of north-south roads in the Region, apart from the Rundu-Grootfontein main road. Rundu has a small airstrip to accommodate medium-sized tourist or cargo aircraft in daylight only. The poor condition of the roads and the long distances had a negative effect on tourism; this situation was improved by the completion of the Trans–Caprivi Highway. A major highway connecting Rundu to western Kavango and the Ohangwena Region is under construction.

Oil exploration

ReconAfrica, a petroleum exploration company headquartered in Canada, has obtained exploration licenses for more than 13,600 square miles of land in Kavango Region of Namibia and in Botswana. In January 2021 ReconAfrica announced the start of drilling operations on the first exploration well. Environmental activists have expressed concern that ReconAfrica’s plans for its test wells have not been properly vetted through Namibia’s environmental review process, however ReconAfrica and both the governments of Namibia and Botswana have stated that the company's activities have followed due process and that no fracking will occur.[11][12] [13] ReconAfrica’s drilling area is in the Kavango West region which contains a multicountry conservation park, six locally managed wildlife reserves, and one UNESCO World Heritage site, however the drilling license does not include any of these protected areas.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Namibia's Population by Region". Election Watch. Institute for Public Policy Research (1): 3. 2013.
  2. ^ "Kavango 2011 Census Regional Profile" (PDF). Statistics Namibia. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Composition of the Delimitation Commissions and the major decisions made from 1990 to present". Election Watch. Institute for Public Policy Research (1): 2. 2013.
  4. ^ Shiremo, Shampapi (19 November 2010). "Cde Ambrosius Haingura: A great campaigner for equality and freedom". New Era. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Former dissident, post-1989 politician Battěk dies". Namibian Sun. 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  6. ^ Immanuel, Shinovene (22 April 2013). "Pohamba continues to pave way for Geingob". The Namibian.
  7. ^ Nakale, Albertina (9 August 2013). "President divides Kavango into two". New Era. allafrica.com. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  8. ^ Heita, Desie (29 November 2012). "Namibian women, poorest of the poor". New Era.
  9. ^ Duddy, Jo Maré (11 April 2013). "Unemployment rate still alarmingly high". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013.
  10. ^ Miyanicwe, Clemans; Kahiurika, Ndanki (27 November 2013). "School counsellors overstretched". The Namibian. p. 1.
  11. ^ "ReconAfrica Environmental, Social, and Governance". Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  12. ^ "Press release - Clarity on explorative activities by Reconnaissance Energy Botswana". twitter.com (Press release). Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  13. ^ "Factual Response to article titled: "Oil Drillers Threaten Okavango Ecosystem"". mme.gov.na. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  14. ^ ReconAfrica starts drilling on first well in Kavango Basin, Namibia
  15. ^ Oil drilling, possible fracking planned for Okavango region—elephants’ last stronghold

External links

  • Kavango Regional Council