When our little boy was about 11 months old we decided to be brave and take him along on our yearly trip to Epupa. Now first, any parent that travels with children be it babies, toddler or teens… you have my utmost respect. If you have a child that is a born reader – please share your secrets with me!
The road from Otjiwarongo to Epupa is about eight to ten hours – and we drive it in one go with the necessary pit stops in between. To keep a child happy for that amount of time, tied down in a car seat… well, it takes a lot of courage, prayer and conviction that this trip is going to be worth it.
As Epupa lies on the northern boundary of Namibia, it can be incredibly hot. We traveled in September, hoping for cooler weather, but instead we suffered a bit. Our little boy the most as heat is not something an eleven month old boy understands. We would have been better off leaving most of our clothes at home and bring along tons of water toys – as this is where our boy spent most of his time. We filled his bath every morning and he ended up spending most of his day there.
One our first afternoon at Epupa Falls Lodge, we walked to the waterfall view point. We were blessed with a rising river which meant that the water pushed into a small pool where our boy could safely play to his heart’s content. After the long day on the road, this was just what we needed. Perfect. Unfortunately the sluices closed again (The river is controlled by the dam at Ruacana and yet another dam in Angola) and we could not play in the river again. But we improvised and were rewarded for our efforts!
As our boy was still too small to hike with us, we had to split up and make turns to enjoy the scenery around the lodge. This mostly worked very well and when we felt like some family time, we drove the short distance up to the sundown hill overlooking Epupa where our little boy could safely play on the rocks while mom and dad enjoyed a much-needed cold beer.
The restaurant area is on stilts, and though there is a barrier surrounding the deck, a toddler can easily fall through. Children need to be kept under close supervision at all times. But the area between the chalets is perfectly save for children to play. In fact, there are few areas as save as just here. With most of the area covered in the shade of palm trees, the sun isn’t as fell here. The ground is also covered in sand from the river that allows for toddlers to play safely (and softly) and the area allows for ball games under supervision of an adult.
Would I go up to Epupa with our toddler again? Yes and yes. In fact, we are going up in July again, this time during the Namibian winter, hoping for cooler weather. This time around he can walk and run and we’ll probably face a whole different set of challenges but more on that after the trip. Would I recommend Epupa to other parents with children? Yes. Epupa Falls Lodge offers a great opportunity for kids to run around and play freely.