by Christine Hugo
Word about excessive amounts of rain in the area around the Epupa Falls had us all excited, and we were expecting a spectacular display of the falls. Armed with a large supply of mosquito repellent and sunscreen lotion, we headed off to the Kunene for a long weekend.
Having left from Otjiwarongo early that morning, the last 200 km from Opuwu to Epupa Falls seemed endless. Tired and hot we crossed the last hill, but then, with the first glimpse of the falls, immediately forgot all the agony. The river’s watery tentacles reached out far and wide, looking more like a large delta than a single stream and waterfall. It was a display that surpassed all our expectations and even those who’d been to Epupa before were completely stunned by the transformation.
That an oasis like this exists in the middle of such barren, rocky surroundings was unbelievable. Located right next to the river, all the campsites at Epupa have a spectacular view of the waterway, with clusters of makalani palms and dense greenery creating a tropical ambience.
The campsite is clean and a pleasure to “come home” to. Ablution facilities consist of flush toilets and cool showers in neat reed quarters with water taps conveniently situated at strategic places around the camp. After settling in, we went for a swim in the smaller pools surrounding the main waterfall, where we marvelled at the sight of gigantic boabab trees anchored in the walls of the river canyon, bathed in a cloud of golden spray as the sun set over the falls.
The following morning we set out on one of the many walking trails in the area. It took us through the veld to a small beach further down the river, where we could relax and cool down before hiking back to the campsite. The birdwatchers amongst us were especially thrilled about spotting the Palm thrush, found nowhere else but at Epupa. The local Ovahimba people were also fascinating with their glowing red mud-covered skin, interesting hairstyles and unique culture. Another highlight of the weekend was a rafting excursion on the river, professionally organised and facilitated by Epupa Lodge.
Although this particular rafting jaunt might not have been wild enough for hard-core adrenalin junkies, we enjoyed a lovely trip down the river and stepped out onto one of the islands to enjoy a drink, but only after we had carefully scanned the water for crocodiles. On our last evening, we drove up to the top of a nearby hill from where we had a bird’s-eye view over the river and the waterfalls. Here we celebrated a wonderful weekend with a glass of wine and watched the sun set. The road back to Windhoek was long, but the weekend had felt like an extensive, exotic vacation and we came back home with light hearts and happy thoughts.
This article was made possible by Cymot Namibia
This article appeared in the April ‘04 edition of Travel News Namibia.