Set aside the Okavango River in the Kavango Region you will find the regions main town, Rundu. The town falls on the Namibian border with Angola and is growing rapidly. In 2001 the population figure sat at almost 37 000 and in 2010 the figure is estimated to have grown to over 80,000. Once an area which relied on fishing and farming for its existence, the town's residents have started moving towards trade and tourism. The town is a popular stop over for travellers on the main B8 road and the Trans-Carprivi Highway which leads into the Caprivi Strip and eventually into Zambia.
On the B8 road from Grootfontein visitors will notice that the scenery starts to change. Small settlements of thatched rondavels spring up close to the road and the bushveld becomes denser and greener. The areas between these settlements are often scattered with vegetable patches and maize and millet fields. Traveling on this road, visitors should also take into consideration that there are often no fences up around properties and goats, sheep or cattle cross the road without warning.
The closer you get to Rundu the more woodcarvers you will find displaying their crafts alongside the road. The wood carvers are one of the town's highlights, and it is a craft has been handed down in families through the generations. The sales of these carvings is an important source of income for many families in the region, and visitors can watch the skilled craftsmen perform their art at the Mbungura Woodcarvers Co-operative. The Co-op is also another place where visitors can buy these hand crafted products.
Rundu is one of the gateways to the Caprivi and it is also the place to fill up the fuel tank and stock up on groceries as there are few if any places to stop and buy later on the 500 kilometer stretch of the Trans-Caprivi-Highway to Katima Mulilo.
One of the attracions in Rundu is the Shambyu Catholic Mission. The Mission was founded 30 km east of Rundu at the Okavango River in 1930 and is completely self-sufficient. Besides the living areas the mission has a school, numerous workshops, a hospital, vegetable gardens, stables for the cattle and a church at its centre. The missions often offered work, education and medical care and attracted many Kavango people from Angola. Shambyu has a museum on the history of the mission and of the Kavango people and displays a lovely collection of woodcarvings.