A Guide to Southern Africa's Four Corners Region

A Guide to Southern Africa's Four Corners Region
Aerial View of Victoria Falls.  John Warburton-Lee/ Getty Images

At the heart of Southern Africa, four of the region's most popular safari destinations converge at the confluence of the mighty Zambezi and Chobe rivers. Located approximately 75 kilometers west of Victoria Falls, the point at which Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Botswana meet is known as the Four Corners, and is the only international quadripoint on Earth. It's an area of great natural beauty, with easy access to some of the most important tourist attractions in Southern Africa.

With relatively straightforward border crossings between the neighboring countries, visiting the Four Corners area gives you the unique opportunity to tick multiple countries off your African bucket list in just a few days. For one of the most rewarding African safari itineraries imaginable, plan to spend a little longer exploring the nearby wonders that each country has to offer. 

The Quadripoint

The term "Four Corners" is commonly used to refer to the wider area surrounding the convergence of the Zimbabwean, Zambian, Namibian and Botswanan borders, but if you want to visit the exact place at which all four meet, you'll need to make your way to the Botswana-Zambia border crossing at Kazungula. The only way to make the crossing is by ferry, and at some point on your journey across the river, you will pass over four international borders simultaneously. The process is both lengthy (there is usually a queue to board the ferry) and expensive (thanks to the complicated and costly immigration paperwork), but for many visitors, the novelty is well worth the effort.

 

Nearby Attractions

Whether you decide to make the crossing at Kazungula or not, the wealth of nearby attractions offered by each of the neighboring countries is astounding. The confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers is a point of interest in its own right, while Impalila Island is another popular stop. Perched at the easternmost tip of Namibia's Caprivi Strip, the island is bordered by the Zambezi River and Zambia to the north, and by the Chobe River and Botswana to the south. It's a rewarding destination for birders, with over 450 species including several regional specials.

The adventurous can also climb the island's Four Corners Baobab for a bird's-eye view of the nearby quadripoint.

For animal lovers, the region's obvious highlight is Chobe National Park, situated to the southwest of the quadripoint in Botswana. It is Botswana's oldest and third largest national park, and has earned a global reputation for its incredible density of wildlife. In particular, Chobe is famous for its vast elephant herds, which can be seen from a game vehicle or from a river safari on the Chobe River. The river attracts an incredible variety of other animal species (including the Big Five), and is yet another hotspot for bird sightings - from the near-threatened African skimmer to great colonies of southern carmine bee-eaters.

 

Perhaps the most famous attraction within easy reach of the Four Corners, however, is Victoria Falls. Also known as The Smoke That Thunders, it is the world's largest waterfall in terms of volume and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Visitors can admire the plunging sheets of water from viewpoints on either the Zimbabwean or the Zambian side of the river, or from the magnificent Victoria Falls Bridge. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can even sign up for a bungee jump from the bridge, or plan a visit to Devil's Pool, a natural swimming hole perched on the very edge of the falls.

 

Exploring Further Afield

If you have time, there are plenty of other incredible places to explore within a few hours' drive of the Four Corners. To the east lies Lake Kariba, the largest man-made lake in the world and a prime location for houseboat safaris. To the southeast you'll find Hwange National Park, the most famous game-viewing destination in Zimbabwe; while Botswana's legendary Okavango Delta is a short connecting flight from any of the Four Corners' domestic airports. If you're planning a self-drive adventure through Namibia, consider starting at Impalila Island and making your way west along the length of the Caprivi panhandle to northern highlights like Etosha National Park and Damaraland.

 

Getting There

Visitors to the Four Corners are spoiled for choice with three domestic airports in the local area: Kasane International Airport in Botswana, Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport in Zambia and Victoria Falls International Airport in Zimbabwe.