Nkasa Lupala, formally Mamili National Park was officially proclaimed along with the nearby Mudumu National Park on 1 March 1990. In 2012, the Namibian Government renamed the area as Nkasa Rupara National Park.
The former name, Mamili, referred to a family of traditional leaders of the Mafwe tribe with that surname. The new name, Nkasa Lupala, is a reference to two Kwando River islands within the park's territory.
The Kwando River runs along Nkasa Rupara’s western border and then changes course to become the Linyanti River, forming the park’s south-eastern boundary. Most of the park consists of channels of reed beds, lagoons and islands. Nkasa Rupara has relatively narrow, permanently filled main channels of the Kwando/Linyanti River and several periodically flooded channels.
Namibia's wild and seldom visited Nkasa Rupara National Park is a watery wonderland of wildlife rich islands, river channels and wetlands. In many ways the park mirrors Botswana's Okavango Delta - but is even more remote and less visited. Wild is the best word to describe this park. Nkasa Rupara holds the distinction of being the largest wetland area with conservation status in Namibia. This protects flora and fauna living within its complex channel of reed beds, lakes and islands, that form the Linyanti swamps.
The focal points of the 320km² national park are Nkasa and Lupala, two large islands in the Kwando / Linyati river. During the dry season the islands can be reached by road but after the rains 80% of the area becomes flooded, cutting them off from the mainland. This is a sanctuary for birds, with more species of birds recorded here than anywhere else in Namibia. In those dry winter months, huge herds of elephant congregate on these islands.
Because the park is subject to frequent flooding in the rainy season, camping is inadvisable. Families of hippopotamus also venture onto the floodplains at night to feed. The lush marshes, dense savannah and high river reeds as well as large herds of elephants and buffalo, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, giraffe, impala, red lechwe, reedbuck and the elusive sitatunga can be seen. Noteworthy species of bird include wattled crane, rosy-throated longclaw, slaty egret, Meves' starling and the greater swamp warbler birding at its best!
The Park can be visited throughout the year