by Andreas Vogt
Nowadays lovers of the outdoors can treat themselves to the unforgettable experience of camping directly on the banks of the Kunene River at the Otjipahuriro Community campsite some 37 km west of Ruacana.
The campsite, shaded by huge, magnificent mopane and acacia trees, lies directly on the banks of the Kunene River below the hydroelectric power station in an area frequented by hippos.
Bird lovers will find a high diversity of rare species here, while campers might even enjoy a visit to the mighty Ruacana Falls close by. Here one can wake in the morning at a leisurely pace to the sound of hippos and birds, with the thundering murmur of the Ruacana Falls in the distance.
The campsite is surrounded by Himba and Zemba communities and is the perfect gateway to Kaokoland and the Epupa Falls. Activities to undertake from the Otjipahuriro Community campsite include guided walks to the Ruacana Falls and along the banks of Kunene River to observe wildlife, a visit to a permanent Himba settlement or cattle post, or an excursion to the Ruacana Falls and the NamPower hydroelectric power station. During the rainy season when the Kunene River is in full flood, the Ruacana Falls present an awe-inspiring display of the powers of nature, whereas in the dry season the falls slow down to a mere trickle, with only the barren rocks over which they cascade presenting themselves to spectators.
Facilities at the Otjipahuriro Community campsite include ten individual campsites, fireplaces and braai facilities, an ablution block with hot showers and environmentally friendly toilets. Firewood and paraffin lamps are available for hire, as well as the services of local guides to take visitors on guided walks.
Attractions close to the campsite include walks or drives to the Ruacana Falls (10 minutes’ drive, approximately one hour’s walk). The closest large town is Opuwo (four hours’ drive away), while other attractions a bit further afield are the Epupa Falls (five hours’ drive), the Tsandi Traditional Homestead and Kingdom (two hours’ drive) and the regional capital of Oshakati (one and a half hours’ drive).
The Otjipahuriro Community campsite is situated 37 km west of Ruacana on the road from Etosha National Park to Epupa Falls and Opuwo. To get there from the south (either from Oshakati or Namutoni), take the C46 road to Ruacana Falls (don’t turn left to Ruacana). At the junction between the C46 road and the road to the right leading to the Ruacana border post, continue straight for 4 km. The campsite is on the right-hand side, 200 metres after the NamPower hydropower station, at the junction between the C46 tarred road and the DR 3700 gravel road.
From the west (Epupa), take the DR 3700 to Ruacana Falls. The campsite is located at the junction between the DR 3700 gravel road and the C 46 tarred road.
This article was made possible by Cymot Namibia
This article appeared in the Oct/Nov ‘04 edition of Travel News Namibia.