Kunene river lodge

Kunene River Lodge is situated on the northern border of Namibia on the banks of the River Kunene, which forms the boundary with Angola. It is 50kms west of the Ruacana Falls and 100km east of the Epupa Falls in the region known as Kaokoland. The terrain is rugged, but there are tarred roads as far as Ruacana. Local roads are generally good, gravel surfaces, although the riverside road is subject to occasional flooding during the wet season.

Kunene River Lodge nestles beneath a beautiful canopy of indigenous trees stretching down to the river. In addition to its idyllic setting, facilities and in-house activities, the lodge also serves as an ideal gateway for those setting out to explore the rugged and beautiful Kaokoland region of north-west Namibia. It has a restaurant, bar, pool and a shop and a laundry service. A popular gathering point, and focal point of the lodge is the large wooden deck built over the river which serves as the main seating area for the restaurant and bar.

Deluxe Rooms: The 7 spacious, slightly old-fashioned Deluxe Rooms are fully equipped with en-suite shower, WC and washbasin, remote controlled air-conditioning, fitted wardrobes and storage space. Some of the bungalows have double beds, others single beds. Overnight here in the summer, the air-conditioning more than pays for itself on those hot Namibian nights

A-Frame Bungalows: 4 rustic A-frame rooms are set in their own beautiful plot and you can expect a hint of the pioneering style of life. Some of chalets have double beds, others single beds. Every bungalow is equipped with an en-suite shower room, a WC washbasin, overhead cooling fan, wardrobe and storage area. Chill and relax and enjoy the view in the outside seating area.

Campsites: All the campsites are located next to the river and are equipped with an electric socket and a light, as well as the obligatory braai area. Most have a grassed area on which to pitch your tent (a luxury in Namibia).

Kunene River Lodge has offered white water rafting since the beginning of 1996 and has a large in-house rafting operation, equipped exclusively with top quality rafting equipment made by ARK. Large 6-man as well as small 2-man rafts are available. Kunene River Lodge employs SARA trained guides on a permanent basis and can handle large groups with the necessary care and expertise.

The level of the river permitting, river boarding can be done along with rafting. Although rafting operations are concentrated on the Ondoruzu Gorge, Kunene River Lodge can also offer tailor-made rafting trips of up to 5 days. The scenery along the river is stunning, consisting mainly of red boulders and hills which are interspersed with a variety of trees. Unfortunately wildlife in the area is not abundant, mainly due to serious poaching and hunting during the Namibian war of Independence - but much of the area around the lodge is now a conservancy and game is slowly being re-introduced. The fortunate guest may see a crocodile or hippo on the river, but the most common animals here are Nguni cows.

You can enjoy your sundowner overlooking the Kunene Valley with the sun setting over the Zebra Mountains, or you can take part in a sundowner cruise with a difference, quietly floating down the Kunene River, sipping your favourite drink.

Activities include white water rafting, river boarding, bird watching (this is one of the prime places to view the Cindarella Waxbill), sundowner cruises, canoeing, hiking, fishing and mountain biking.

Kunene River Lodge has become our favourite destinations in this part of Namibia and offers the perfect balance of tranquil surroundings (we could easily spend a week just chilling at the lodge - watching the river flow by), excellent service & management and fun activities (the rafting trips are a highlight - and although they are not 'hardcore' offer a perfect balance of time to enjoy the amazing scenery and the occasional adrenaline rush).

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White-Water Expedition Centre: The Ondorusu Gorge is the base for the majority of the rafting operations, but Kunene River Lodge also offers tailor-made rafting adventures of up to six days travelling, for example, to Epupa and its spectacular falls.

Sundowner Cruise: drift lazily down the river with your favourite tipple on one of our Sundowner Cruises. Watch the ever changing forest and mountain scenery magically change colour, as the sun dips slowly beneath the horizon.

Cultural Visit to a Local Himba Village: The Himba people are proud yet friendly. With their permission we are allowed to visit a local village (kraal) to gain a unique insight into their history, culture, traditions and way of life which, unlike so many others elsewhere, survives virtually unchanged into the 21st century.

Bird Watching: The region hosts some endemic species, and several near-endemics, making it a very exciting area for bird enthusiasts to visit and explore. Of considerable interest, and principal among the endemics, are the Cinderella Waxbill and Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush.The Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush breeds well in the grounds of Kunene River Lodge, whilst the first Cinderella nest to be found in the wild was discovered close to the lodge in June 2008.

Canoeing: Enjoy a day paddling around on the Kunene River.

River fishing: Angle from the lodge grounds or from the riverbanks further afield.

Hiking: There are a number of trails along the river and in the nearby hills of the lodge.

Epupa Camp

Epupa Camp

A tented camp on the banks of the Kunene River close to Epupa Falls and Himba settlements.

Epupa Falls Lodge

Epupa Falls Lodge

A rustic option but closest situated to Epupa Falls, this site previously only provided campsites, but recently added rooms on stilts overlooking the river and falls.

Hoanib Valley Camp - Natural Selection

Hoanib Valley Camp - Natural Selection


Khowarib Lodge

Khowarib Lodge

An excellent base from which to explore the Kaokoland area.

Okahirongo Elephant Lodge

Okahirongo Elephant Lodge

Near the tiny settlement of Puros, this luxury lodge offers you the ability to search for the desert adapted elephants.

Okahirongo River Camp

Okahirongo River Camp

On a hillside overlooking the Kunene River this small intimate camp offers accommodation for a maximum of 14 people.

Omarunga Epupa-Falls Camp

Omarunga Epupa-Falls Camp

Welcome to Kaokoland, a true wilderness that is home to the Himba, one of the world’s last semi-nomadic cultures. Despite the harshness of the arid surrounds and the isolation of the area, this truly is the land of milk and honey. An off-the-beaten track experience! Beyond a gorgeous campsite overlooking the Kunene River, this camp offers guests comfortable tented chalets, all en suite. Each chalet is equipped with a watercooler to keep the heat at bay, as well as a terrace for relaxing while the river waters meander past. Omarunga offers a sunset excursion to a lovely look out point, where the Epupa-Falls can be appreciated in their full majesty. As well as visits of local Himba villages, and for he more adventurous, a river rafting trip.

Traveller Reviews

These are honest reviews, both good and bad, from our travellers who visited this property.

Pasquin, Pamela

27 Aug 2011

Superbly located by the river, the best restaurant(very good dinner)in the whole trip encounter with the real Himba

Sogne, Mauro

21 Nov 2016

Nice place, location very beautiful. The river cruise nice but not very interesting, probably because the river was low.

Bottigelli, Marco

29 Aug 2014

One of the most stunning accomodation in the whole Namibia. In the middle of nothing, in the middle of Nature. Absolutely amazing.

Hopkinson, Gary

23 Oct 2013

This was a small piece of heaven. A beautiful place, good food and staff, and a very different environment than the dry southern areas of Namibia

Mondot, Jm

17 Oct 2015

Friendly staff, rooms comfortable. Nice place with green lawns and flowers. It is a pleasure to have meals on the wooden terrace on the river bank.

Maio, Federico

4 Oct 2011

Fantastic location, you can do any activities on the river. The restaurant is perfect and the staff is very helpful. I suggest the rafting experience!


7 Nov 2016

Very enjoyable 3 night stay. Hillary and Pat very helpful. Would not recommend inexperienced Europeans driving anything less than a 4x4 from Ruacana to Kunene.

Kaszo, Attila

2 Jul 2011

Great people, great location, good accommodation, good food, had a great time, enjoyed the time on the river and the very special trip with the manager to the Himba kraal.

Wood, Graeme

26 Nov 2015

Wonderful site and staff. Well organised. Gave excellent travel advice in terms of road closures. Only downside of this camp were the noisy camping neighbours carousing until 2 am.

Hacker Rochat Sylvie

10 Aug 2013

The staff was exceptional - very friendly and well-informed. The sundowner boat trip on the Kunene River should not be missed. The camping sites are clean and the location is wonderful with camping right on the river.

Woodgate, Evan

25 Jul 2015

Nicest place we stayed. We'll go back. I think owner run lodges are always the best, and this was no exception. Brilliant sun downer cruise and lovely canoe trip. Enjoyed the location, activities and owner interaction.

Pycroft, Liz

27 Aug 2015

This is a beautiful campsite, the pitches are large and shaded and private. The location is superb, the owners are very welcoming, the site is clean and well maintained. It was a wonderful experience to camp here. (There are a LOT of monkeys). 9/10


21 Aug 2014

Really pleased we stayed here. Journey up, while long, was interesting in itself. Their white water rafting trip is good (virtually all Grade 3s, only one grade Iv which is optional). Breakfast on their deck overlooking the river is a really nice experience.

Van Dyk,annalien

28 Oct 2013

Die lodge is `n verassing as jy daar kom dis boomryk en groen. Verblyf was baie neetjies en die yskas in die wooneenheid was baie welkom. Asgevolg van lae water vlak in die rivier kon ons ongelukkig nie op die rivier vaar nie en Ruacana valle het ook nie geloop nie.


To reach Kunene River Lodge by car you can drive via Ruacana towards Swartbooisdrift or via Opuwa-Otjiveze (RD3700 and RD3701). Please take note however, that the road between Ruacana and Epupa is particularly bad and only suitable for vehicles with a fairly high ground clearance.

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