Lodges, Accommodation & Information
The Epupa Falls sit on the Kunene River on the border of Angola and Namibia in an area commonly known as Kaokoland. They are created by a series of cascades that drop a total of 60m over a distance of about 1.5km. At one point it reaches a total width of about 500m. This feature is also known as Monte Negro Falls in Angola. The name Epupa is a Herero word for the plumes of spray created by falling water.
Epupa Falls are not to difficult to reach from Opuwo, and unless you are travelling in the height of the wet season a 4x4 is not necessary - although a vehicle with higher clearance is recommended. The major attraction for visitors is to travel through a mainly largely unspoiled environment (after Opuwo) with baobabs, wild fig trees, and waving makalani palms enhancing the route. The area surrounding Epupa Falls has richly coloured rock walls and the best time to visit would be just after the rains when the spray is most evident. There are 4 lodges in the immediate vicinity of Epupa Falls:
- Epupa Camp - immediately on the banks of the Kunene with a pleasant bar & restaurant area both overlooking the river and a small island. Of the tree options on the banks of the Kunene River this is the furthers from the falls (and is also separated from the other two properties which are next door to each other). Rustic en-suite tents.
- Epupa Falls Lodge - The first development built in the Epupa area - this started as a campsite, but now offers rooms with river views and riverside campsites. The closest lodge to the waterfalls. Fall asleep and wake up to the sound of running water!
- Kapika Waterfalls Lodge - The only property not on the banks of the river, this lodge is set on the hill above Epupa offering great views of the river and mountains. Accommodation is in pretty basic rooms, while the open communal areas are pleasant and are often cooled by the breeze (Epupa is a hot place!)
- Omarunga Lodge - A good all round lodge, offering both campsites and reasonable rooms - right on the banks of the river (and next door ro Epupa Falls lodge), close enough to hear the roar of the falls, but not to be completely overwhelmed by them.
Further from the falls (about 3 hours drive) but still on the Kunene River, Kunene River Lodge, offers excellent river views and both camping & a choice of accommodation. The lodge arranges white river rafting & canoe trips on the river, as well as Himba village visits and sunset cruises.
Other accommodation / lodge options which can be used to visit the falls can be found in the town Opuwo, but the drive from here to Epupa takes around 3 hours (due to numerous river dips and a winding road). So if you intend to stay at Epupa and visit the falls expect a good 6 hours worth of driving.
The perennially flowing waters of the Kunene River offer much to see and do. There are a number of activities to keep you occupied here. Some can be done under your own steam, others will have to be booked by various lodges and campsites.
Bird watching: Some 240 Namibian bird species have been recorded in the Kunene Region and birding can be done on foot or on an organized boating trip. Watch out for rare rufus-tailed palm thrush, bee-eaters, the African fish eagle, Cinderella waxbill, Monteiro’s hornbill, African paradise-flycatcher, rosy-faced lovebird, malachite kingfisher, weavers and goliath heron.
Hiking: A walk to Epupa Falls, guided or unguided, offers superb photographic and birdwatching opportunities. Members of the Himba tribe wash their clothes and bathe here daily. En-route there are Euphorbia bushes, a plant with poisonous milky-white latex that has is used by the Himba tribe for hunting, mopane scrub, umbrella thorn and rose quartz crystals. There are a number of great lookout points downstream.
Swimming: It is a possibility to swim in some of the pools but be wary of crocodiles.
Cultural visit: A visit to a Himba settlement allows you not only to take photographs of these nomadic people, but to learn of their fascinating lifestyle.
Sundowner trip: Spectacular sunsets every evening can be admired from a nearby sundowner lookout point.
A luxury camp on the banks of the Kunene River close to Epupa Falls and Himba settlements
Set high on the hill above the settlement of Epupam offers good views of the Kunene River and surrounding area.
A comfortable tented camp close to the Epupa falls, the big swimming pool is a welcome relief from this area's usual heat.