Katima Mulilo is the administrative centre of the Caprivi region of Namibia as well as the areas main settlement and a fast developing centre. The Lozi name means to quench the fire and is probably a reference to burning embers carried by travellers, which were often extinguished by the river crossing at Mbova Rapids. The town lies on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, which forms the boundary with Zambia. The town was established in 1935 by the British Colonial force to replace the previous German colonial regional capital at Schuckmannsburg.
The wide, slow-flowing Zambezi River is edged with tall, lush trees, tropical birds and monkeys, with lolling hippo and crocs reminding everyone who is in charge of the waters. Elephants are frequent visitors of the river banks for a drink and a bath, and ornithologists of all levels only have to take a short walk along the rivers banks to tick off a wide variety of species.
As you can imagine, being near the point where 5 countries meet, Katima Mulilo has a large variety of cultures and language. Seven languages and a myriad of dialects are spoken in the town. Visitors to the area can be excused for feeling that this town feels more like Zambia than Namibia, as it is the countries most remote outpost. It is 1200km from Windhoek, but only half a kilometer from Zambia! Saying that, there are a number of decent restaurants and bars, (including the ones in the nearby lodges) a post office, bank, petrol station, daily open-air market, supermarkets, and if you or your car are in need of a bit of tender loving care, there is also a hospital and garage. The Caprivi Cultural Festival is held in late September and the Caprivi Arts Centre is the place to head for your curios.
The Caprivi Art Centre is a community-based marketing outlet for artists and craftsmen in the Caprivi Region. The centre encourages local artist to explore their creativity and participate in exhibitions and workshops. Of particular interest are the beautiful clay urns these often have often made using interesting firing techniques resulting in original and intricate patterns. Also popular are the Mahangu baskets which local weavers make from the leaves of Makalani Palms. Traditionally the baskets are used for gathering and storing mahangu (maize millet), but they are beautifully made baskets which are not out of place in the most stylish of western homes.